I suffered from postpartum depression after the births of both my children. The first time I wasn’t sure if I was depressed or just not cut out for the job. Lily was a hard baby, and I did not have a support system. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I would call my husband at work, sobbing and telling him that I couldn't take it anymore. I had daydreams of killing myself. I honestly felt like the only way I would ever get a break was if I killed myself. I asked myself, “What is wrong with me??? Billions of women have been moms! Why can’t I handle this???”
So, one day I called my OB/GYN's office and told them I thought I might have postpartum depression, (I even told them I had suicidal thoughts). And they told me "you just need a break." Can you believe that???? They told me to take Lily to the gym and drop her off in gym daycare. But I knew that dropping her off at gym daycare would not work because she would cry uncontrollably and they would call me to come get her after 15 minutes (no joke – it got to the point that I would twitch every time I heard the loud “BEEEEP!” over the loudspeaker). I hung up phone with the OB’s office and sobbed, feeling helpless and alone. I felt like I was dragging myself through life, forcing myself to go on.
It got better as Lily got older, and, when she was two years old, we decided to try for another child. I was terrified. My mom didn’t think I could handle another. But I had always wanted two kids, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t try to have another one.
The second time around, we got pregnant after our first IUI. And I found a new OB. I told him about my previous postpartum experience, and he agreed that I should immediately start Zoloft after giving birth.
After I had Grace, I started the Zoloft and I felt AMAZING. I wanted to scream from the rooftops: “If you ever think you need an antidepressant, take one!!!” And I did tell people, because I knew there is a stigma with antidepressants, and I didn’t want other people to have to go through what I went through.
I still feel that way today. Depression is a disease. The brain isn’t making enough serotonin. People take medicine when other organs aren’t performing correctly, it should be considered the same with the brain.
I now believe that, if a person is wondering if they need an antidepressant, they probably do. And it doesn’t hurt to try one. It could change their life.
Unfortunately, I experienced excessive bruising with the Zoloft. It was so bad that Greg was worried I might have cancer. So I was switched to Lexapro.
And that didn’t work. I slid downhill again - more crying, and more suicidal thoughts. And I got blown off again. I called my OB’s office and they told me I had to stop breastfeeding if I wanted to change medications. (And that wasn’t an option for me at that time.) I tried to see a psychiatrist, but I couldn’t find one who was taking new patients. So I stayed on Lexapro, even though the side effects killed my sex drive and it didn’t seem to work.
At one point I went into my OB’s office, complaining of feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and the nurse practitioner told me, “You are in the season of your life.” I looked at her and said, “What does that even mean?” And she replied, “It means, you will feel like yourself again someday.” Thanks for nothing :/
When Grace was about two and half, I saw a counselor, hoping she could help me get into a psychiatrist. I loved talking to her, and she referred me to a psychiatric nurse practioner. The nurse practioner switched me to Brintellix, and that did help, although it wasn’t as dramatic as my initial experience with Zoloft.
Around the same time I started the Brintellix, life also got easier. Lily started full time Kindergarten, and Grace went to preschool part-time. I was no longer depressed and felt much better.
I also started to learn more about my genetics, and how they were influencing the way I felt….And that will be the next part of my story!