After I had Miss C in June 2015, I was hit by paralyzing postpartum depression. I was angry all the time, mentally and physically exhausted, and honestly didn’t want to be a mom anymore. I wanted to run away from everything and everyone and not be in charge of a superglue baby who needed me every second and a toddler girl who was feeling a bit displaced by her baby sister.
One night, I had been trying to get Miss C to bed for literally hours. She would not stop screaming and crying. She was about 7 or 8 months old, and I just hit a breaking point.
I walked out of my bedroom and handed the baby to my husband. I was sobbing. I choked out “I don’t want to be a mom anymore.”
I grabbed my keys, purse, and phone, ignored my husband’s bewildered questions, and I got in my car. I turned on some music and put the volume all the way up and hit the freeway headed south. I sobbed as I drove, feeling like a horrible mother, a horrible human being, and an awful wife.
I just drove and cried and sang along incomprehensibly to my music through my sobs.
I pulled off the freeway when I saw signs for the airport. I didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t really “escape my life” by getting on a plane, but the airport is a good hour away from my house and I figured I needed to stop and regroup.
I parked in the cell phone lot and texted my best friend, who lives all the way across the country. I broke down. I confessed I had been super depressed and that I didn’t want to be a mom anymore. I told her that I resented my baby because I couldn’t get any sleep and I couldn’t give my toddler the attention she needed. I told her that if I had money I would be getting on a flight to South Carolina. I told her everything. I told her I didn’t care if I died, and some days, I wanted to.
She didn’t judge me. She listened. She talked about what we would have done if I’d actually gotten on a plane and the Target run we would have had to make to buy me a toothbrush and some clothes.
As we talked, I watched planes take off and land and taxi around and people parking and then leaving as whoever they were there to pick up arrived.
She gently joked with me until she made me smile, and then she made me promise I would make an appointment with my doctor to get some help. She helped me realize that PPD was making me feel that way, and that I needed help and that I really did love my kids and things would get better for me.
She was right. I needed help, and I got it.
I was put on an antidepressant. I met with my doctor every few weeks to make sure I was doing okay. And when I unexpectedly ended up pregnant just a couple weeks after starting my antidepressant, my doctor and midwife both spoke to me about the risk of me going off my medication versus the benefit and let me make a decision and supported my decision.
I truly believe that my friend and my doctor saved my life. I do not believe I would have survived without my friend pushing me to get help, and without the help my doctor gave me. Postpartum depression is very real and can be deadly if it goes untreated.
Over the last few weeks, with help and guidance from the same doctor, I have successfully weaned off of my antidepressant. I may end up needing something for anxiety, I’m not sure. But right now, I’m doing okay.
I asked my doctor if we could try weaning me off the meds because I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight while on them – a side effect of the meds I was on was an increase in appetite, and I literally felt hungry all the time.
Now, I feel hungry until I eat and then I don’t feel hungry anymore! It’s weird after three years of literally feeling hungry all day long.
So far, me being off the meds has been going well, but I’m checking in with my doctor often to make sure all is well. I’ve actually had a bit more energy since I’m off the meds – they made me feel a bit sleepy a lot of the time. I laugh more, too, so I wonder if the antidepressants had made me feel a bit robotic or if that’s just my imagination.
Either way, I’m glad to be feeling more like myself without the assistance of medication. We will see how long this lasts.
Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out for help if you are feeling sad, depressed, or anxious. It could save your life.