09 Jan The Baby Blues – Postpartum Depression is Real and it Sucks.
My baby boy, Ashton, will be turning 1-year-old in two weeks! Looking back on being pregnant with Ashton and the first six months postpartum, one word comes to mind…ROUGH! The funny thing about having a baby is that everyone has tips on keeping the baby safe while you’re pregnant and raising the child properly, but no one ever mentions the all crazy shit that happens to the actual mom! When I had CJ (my oldest) 11 years ago, it was an easy experience…well other than the fact that I was in labor for over 48 hours. I had no complications, didn’t require any stitches, delivered him naturally and pretty much bounced back in a couple days (thank you 19 year-old body). However, my experience being pregnant with Ashton was everything but easy.
Remember my story about my experience with fibroids (if not, click here to read). Well those pesky little mother fuckers caused me to have surgery and as a result I am no longer able to ever deliver a baby naturally again. Ain’t that a bitch? I also had to plan my pregnancy with my doctor to make sure that before I got pregnant, my uterus had its shit together and was capable of making a baby. With all of these limitations and restrictions, Dayo and I ventured into the baby making process keeping in mind that when I actually got pregnant, I would be considered high risk. Due to my previous surgery and the scaring it left behind, my doctor warned us that it was very likely that we wouldn’t get pregnant for months or maybe even a year – needless to say, we thought we had time. So you can only imagine how shocked we were when we saw those two little blue lines on the preggo pee stick, two weeks after we started trying. Mexicans and Nigerians sure do know how to make a baby!
My pregnancy was very difficult this time around. I had terrible back pain as the most inconsiderate baby in the world decided the best place for him to rest was on my sciatic nerve. This caused me to get little to NO sleep and extreme Charlie horses in the middle of the night. I also had two other kids this time around who had school, sports practices, band rehearsals, boy scouts, birthday parties and other shit that required me to waddle my ass around. I was beyond exhausted and the symptoms just got worse by the day.
My scheduled C-section date had arrived and we were excited and terrified at the same time. So many thoughts were racing through my mind.
Are we really doing this?! We were just 8 years from our older kids graduating from high school and now were starting all over from scratch?! Fuuuuucccck?! What in the hell were we thinking?! These mother fuckers are really about to saw me in half! This is bullshit!
It was too late for second thoughts. I was on the operating table and this little bugaboo was on his way out. Even though I was scared AF, the moment the doctor put my little guy in my arms, I knew I had to put my big girl panties on and boss up. Besides, I had already done this before. It couldn’t be that hard right? Boy, was I wrong. So so wrong.
The first night we got home, my husband had to go to handle some work stuff and the moment he closed the door behind him, I burst in to tears. I was just sitting on the couch, in pain, holding my baby , feeling exceptionally powerless and crying. My husband got back maybe 45 minutes later and I was still, in a very dramatic fashion, boo-hooing. An hour passed and I finally gathered myself together. Although I had no idea what caused me to cry for an hour straight, I blamed it on my hormones trying to piece themselves back together. The next couple of days were just as, if not more, odd than the first. Not only was I crying all the time, but I felt extremely empty inside.
Two weeks after the baby was born, we decided to leave our townhouse and move in with my in-laws to save money for a bigger home for our now bigger family. At the time, this seemed like an amazing idea! Not only because we could save for a new home, but because we needed more help with the older boys since Dayo’s business hit an all-time high and I was pretty much out of commission.
The moving process was brutal. I had just been sliced open 14 days prior and I was still an emotional wreck. At the time, I was still blaming the mood swings on my adjusting hormones. One day, a couple weeks after we settled into my in-laws’ home, I was trying to move Ashton’s swing from one room to the other and I couldn’t fit it through the door. No matter what angle I turned this son of a bitch contraption, it just would not fit through the door. I got so frustrated that I just threw the entire swing across the room. Then, I dropped to my knees and cried uncontrollably. I literally could not move. I just wanted to run away from everything. Dayo walked in to find me on the floor and when he asked me what was wrong. I had no answer because I didn’t even know myself.
I cried every single day for the first four months my son was born. And not a respectable, one lone tear type of cry. I’m talking a sit-in-the-corner-of-the-room-in-a-puddle-of-my-own-tears type of cry. Aside from thinking my hormones were causing me to be a completely psychotic crybaby, I started to think about other reasons that I may have felt so completely overwhelmed. Perhaps it was the fact that we got pregnant much sooner than expected, so we were not as prepared as we had hoped to be. Or perhaps it was the fact that I was 10 years older than the last time I had a baby and this pregnancy was taking a much bigger toll on my body. Or maybe it was that my uterus had been sliced and diced multiple times and I was still feeling the side effects of my C-section. Oh and it didn’t help that my baby was a demon child who screamed every five seconds.
My family is supportive beyond words. Some would say we are too supportive because we don’t seem to have any personal boundaries with each other. However, I am forever grateful for our family dynamic and wouldn’t have it any other way. My mom, sisters, cousins and best friends came over multiple times and helped me with the baby, so I could get some sleep and relax a bit. Although I never really lost my cool when anyone was over, I couldn’t help but notice that everyone was constantly asking me if I was ok. The weirdest part of all was that I really didn’t want to be around anyone. My family members are my best friends and I thoroughly enjoy being around them, but for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I didn’t want to be around anyone at all.
Everyone who knows me, knows that I’m an immature, potty mouth who never shuts the fuck up. I’m also known to be a very dramatic and sensitive person. So when my family would normally see me cry, they would roll their eyes and assume I was just being “sensitive-ass Katryce.” However, this time was different. Maybe it was because I wasn’t really accepting phone calls. Or maybe because I didn’t want to leave the house. Or maybe because in those four months I barely cracked one joke. I’m not quite sure what set these tears apart from the pre-Ashton tears, but my family knew something wasn’t right.
My husband had no clue what to do. I was no longer the goofy, wise cracking woman he had married and there was pretty much nothing he could do to fix it. All of my family was checking on me constantly and were generally concerned about my well-being. I pretty much brushed everyone off until my older sister called me one day and said I should seriously consider going to the doctor because I may be dealing with a bit of Postpartum Depression.
Excuse me, what? Me? Postpartum Depression? I’m the silliest person this side of the Mississippi, so how in the world would I have PPD? But, as I’ve said before, I truly look up to my older sister and her advice means everything to me, so I thought maybe there was some truth to what she was saying. I did a bit of research on the symptoms of PPD and I was dealing with quite a few of them. No matter how similar things looked on paper, I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the thought of me dealing with depression.
I had my four-month post baby appointment with my doctor and as we were nearing the end of the appointment she asked me “are you feeling anxious, crying frequently and or depressed?” I so badly wanted to say yes, but for some odd reason I was too embarrassed to confirm. So, in typical Katryce fashion, I said a little joke and laughingly answered “no.” Why did I do that? Why was I so afraid of letting someone know that I needed help? I mean this is my OBGYN after all. She LITERALLY knows me inside and out, so why wouldn’t I just tell her? But I couldn’t bring myself to do it. So I went home and cried some more.
The crying lessened, but didn’t fully stop until August when my family’s annual beach trip came around. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was in a different environment or maybe just that I was around some of the people I love the most in this world that suddenly made my life seem a little brighter. Then something amazing happened. That first night, Ashton woke up to eat in a much calmer fashion than I was used to. I made his bottle and sat him in my lap to feed him. And in that moment he stared at me in a way that, I swear to God, let me know everything was going to be ok and I didn’t have to cry anymore. It was almost as if this was the first time, in the six months that he was born, that I actually saw this beautiful gift God gave me and all was right in the world. I was finally at peace.
Looking back on everything, I truly wished I would’ve asked for help. I spent six months of not only my life, but my son’s life in utter sadness. During that time, I never got to appreciate the blessing I had been given. I just happened to be lucky enough that my symptoms subsided on their own, but a lot of moms who ignore the same symptoms, go on to develop bigger issues that are that much more difficult to handle. Just to be safe, I did go see a therapist for a couple of months after just to make sure I was 100% back to normal.
Honestly, I debated whether or not I wanted to share this story with you all. It was the darkest time in my life and doesn’t represent me as a person at all. However, I felt it was something I was required to share in case there was anyone out there now who is going through what I went through. If there is, and you’re reading this, I’d like you to remember this: You are not crazy. You are not a raging psychopath who can’t keep her cool. You just created life. You are a super human and an incredible being. But even the most incredible people need help sometimes, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for it. It doesn’t make you weak and it doesn’t make you less of a woman or mom. It makes you a human being who recognizes that they want to be the absolute best momma anyone could have. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
PS. I’ve been crying uncontrollably the entire time I’ve been writing this…in typical Katryce fashion.
Have any of the other mommas out there dealt with PPD? What tips do you have for mommas who might be going through the same thing?