I had this creepy thought that my baby would die in the middle of the night, so I would literally watch her sleep
The day I gave birth to my daughter, Emery, I immediately fell in love with her. But only three days later, I noticed that my postpartum depression (PPD) started to seep in. I knew exactly what it was and didn’t try to prevent it. I thought it was like getting sick like a cold or the flu thinking it would be over quick. I was wrong.
I began to notice that I’d beat myself up and over the dumbest things. I didn’t accept that I just had a baby, I was ashamed that I wasn’t this perfect brand new mother with her hot body back right after giving birth. Instead, I was 60 pounds overweight, so exhausted that I never did my hair, makeup, or even take a shower, and I probably wore the same t-shirt for about 2 weeks straight!
The second thing I noticed was that I was never able to sleep. I mean I could have, but I didn’t. I had this creepy thought that my baby would die in the middle of the night, so I would literally watch her sleep and make sure that she was breathing. Fear and anxiety play a big role in this illness; it can make you think of everything, or make you incredibly numb.
The other reason I didn’t sleep was because I had the most terrifying dream that would reoccur every time I went to sleep. In my nightmare, I would fall asleep into a different reality then in that dream same thing would happen again, it kept going like layers of the cake. It’s felt like my dreams were getting deeper and further away from my reality. And here’s the scary part: to get out of each one of my dreams I had to kill myself! This was so unnatural for me to be having those type of dreams, because naturally I’m a happy person.
When I was awake, I thought I was still in a dream. I would pinch my arms just to make sure. I never wanted to do anything to hurt me or anyone else. You can imagine how bruised my arms were! At this point, I really thought I had postpartum psychosis which is when a woman becomes irritable, has extreme mood swings and has bad hallucinations. So I made an appointment with my doctor and told him my situation.
Surprisingly enough he said I wasn’t even close to have that type of illness. I thought, “Really?! How close do I have to get to be considered as crazy? This is too far for me!” So he prescribed me sleeping pills that would help with my dreams and my PPD. Days later, they still weren’t helping. I would sleep but couldn’t wake up until the drug wore off which meant I went deeper into my dreams and hurt myself over and over again. I was still exhausted, still couldn’t put my life in order. I continued to put high expectations on myself, which seemed heavier and heavier and I couldn’t let them go.
Through it all, I kept it a secret from everyone; my husband, my best friend, everybody! I remember lying to their faces when they would ask how I was doing. All I could say was the simplest small talk phrases “Fine,” “Good,” “Loving life,” when in reality, I was screaming inside. I just didn’t want people to know, and I didn’t understand why I was still feeling this way after giving birth 4 months ago. I kept asking myself how long this was going to last.
One day I got the courage to talk to my husband and tell him everything, even about my dreams. That day we decided to throw away the sleeping pills and tossed them down the toilet. Things were still hard but now I had someone who understood that could help me, and he did. Two months later (a total of 6 months altogether of PPD) I finally was feeling better. The dreams were gone! Fear and anxiety were still lingering but I had them under control.
There is a really cute quote from a movie called Dan in Real Life– “Love isn’t a feeling, it’s an ability.” I thought if I have the ability and the power to control my emotions then I choose to be happy and that is my superpower, my ability. So I did the things that made me happy, like going on a walk, hanging out with friends–the simple things. Even going outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air made me feel better. But the best remedy was holding my baby girl while she slept and I would pray. What a perfect moment it was to pray– while holding Heavenly father’s angel in my arms!
I think that’s why we go through postpartum depression, to realize how strong we are and how much strength we have to protect these gorgeous perfect angels from heaven!
And after it’s all said and done I am truly amazed with myself and how far I’ve come with my physical strength and my emotional strength and understanding that they are two different mountains of challenges and to look back and realize how much I’ve travelled, climbed, bled, cried– I mean, what a journey!
I am no one incredible and far from being an accomplished successful person. But this obstacle I faced for myself and my daughter, I’m proud of it! My baby is my trophy and my little love. Now my daughter Emery is almost 3 and (surprise, surprise) I’m 18 weeks pregnant with my second baby and so excited! Am I scared of having postpartum depression again? Yes, but I know what to do now. First is being honest with myself and not being afraid to ask for help. It will be great! Never be afraid to tell your story and how you feel. You’ll be surprised how many people can relate.