When you become pregnant your world changes and so does your body when you're growing a little human being! It's the most amazing thing, and it's amazing to think what a woman's body can do! Even though it is an incredible feat it also takes a toll on our bodies. When I became pregnant I was nauseous for the first four months, but the rest of the pregnancy went pretty smoothly besides having the world's most swollen feet and having Mia arrive almost three weeks early. You can read my birth story here.
What really knocked me off my feet was the aftermath of the pregnancy and all the crazy hormones that come with it!
I had Mia in June of 2012, it was a fairly easy labour and Mia was healthy. What more could I ask for? Well like many moms before me and after me, breastfeeding was a major issue. My little girl was tiny at 5 pounds and her mouth so little, it was beyond difficult to feed her. I was determined to breastfeed because it was something I wanted to experience. By the second day in the hospital Mia still wouldn’t latch and the nurses were not very helpful. Fast forward a month, Mia was still not latching properly and I went to see two different lactation specialists! I was breastfeeding in severe pain and pumping like a crazy lady and topping Mia off with formula. I would cry every day because breastfeeding was not working for us. I kept telling myself, if by next week she doesn’t latch then I will stop trying! Two months after I was still trying! I saw another three lactation specialists…then one day we just got it. I couldn’t believe after three long months we did it! I ended up breastfeeding for a full year!
Trying to heal! My labour although fairly easy, was not easy to get over. I had to have an episiotomy as Mia was in the occipital posterior position (face-up). The doctor, not my own O.B. was an a**, but that is another story! The healing process from the episiotomy was difficult. I had shooting pains and had difficulty walking. I went for multiple tests and exams to see what the problem was. They could not find anything! 6 months after Mia’s birth the pain finally subsided.
Sleep like a Baby? Whoever came up with the phrase “I slept like a baby”, probably never had a baby! Mia did not sleep…at night…or during the day! It was off and on, but nothing like what I heard from my friends who had babies or what I expected. Colic? Who is Colicky? My kid! My husband and I would pace the hallway for hours trying to calm Mia. We tried giving her probiotics and researched every Colicky cure on earth! If your baby is colicky, they will be colicky, until one day they decide to stop!
Wasting Gas! At one point Mia started falling asleep in the car, since she wouldn’t nap at home, everyday, twice a day I drove around for hours! Just so she could nap. This in turn lead to my anxiety, secretly freaking out that I would have to stop the car to feed her or change her. I started to fear that I wouldn’t have enough diapers, enough food, that she would start screaming her head off in the car. I was always on edge and could not be calm!
Everyday the stress of being a new mother increased. I would spend countless hours crying when no one was with me. I barely ate because I was so consumed by whether Mia was eating, whether she was going to nap….would I survive another day?
Seven months into motherhood I went to the doctors for a check-up. She asked how I was and how I was feeling. For the first time I expressed my difficulty and said it's just “stress”! The doctor told me otherwise! She believed I had both post-partum depression and post-partum anxiety.
Hearing the doctor tell me that she thought I had postpartum depression and anxiety made me feel a bit better about myself. I guess I wasn’t crazy?! The doctor recommended different types of treatment, seeing a social worker, going to meetings with others who were in the same position as myself, exercise and medication to help ease all my problems.
I did go see the social worker a couple of times and even he suggested group therapy. Just the idea of group therapy increased my anxiety. I did not want to talk to anyone about my problems, especially a group of strangers. And who would watch Mia when I went to therapy? The cycle of anxiety kept going and only increased with those thoughts! Exercise? When the heck was I suppose to exercise? I don’t have time! Taking care of my daughter, the thought of going back to work, writing my blog, and running my shop was too overwhelming.
My doctor prescribed medication for both anxiety and depression. As I slowly began to take it and increase the dosage I started to feel better. It was hard on my system at first, but I wanted to continue with it. After trail and error, we found the correct dosage for me. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel, my anxiety and depression faded but it was still lurking in the background. I had good days and bad days on the medication. When I would forget to take my medication it was a quick downward spiral. But I got better and felt better.
Here we are a year later. Three weeks ago I started to wean myself from my medication under my doctors supervision. It has been a rough three weeks as I am experiencing some withdrawals and I am noticing just how much I still need my medication. I am still not in a great place emotionally, but the reason for wanting to get off my medication is because I would like to have another child. Not right now, but maybe in the next year. I don’t want the medication in my system even though it is said to be safe. I want to see if I can find other ways to deal with my depression and anxiety.
If you are a mom dealing with postpartum and anxiety, you are not alone! If you want to share your story, feel free to in the comment section or email me directly!