I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
April 19, 2009
When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I read every online birth story I could find. I giggled about women who’d rushed to the hospital thinking their water had broken, only to find they’d actually just peed in their pants. I was mesmerized by the tales of emergency c-sections and water births and epidurals that didn’t work and three-day long labors. And I loved the moment at the end of it all, when the baby was placed in the mother’s arms for the first time and she looked down at her child and experienced an overwhelming, unconditional love. I couldn’t wait to experience that moment for myself.
Except that I didn’t.
My daughter was born without incident, cleaned off, swaddled, and placed on my chest. I gazed down at her and felt… well, relief that she was healthy and that labor had been relatively easy. Love. Definitely love. And eagerness to begin caring for her.
But I didn’t have that Moment I had read about and seen in TV commercials, in which time stopped and the light softened to a heavenly glow and my baby and I looked into each others’ eyes and felt It. The instant connection? The eternal bond? It just wasn’t there.
And I have to admit, I was disappointed. Secretly, in my heart of hearts, I suspected something was wrong with me. But I sure didn’t tell anyone. After all, this was the moment I had been waiting for my whole life.
I took my daughter home and began caring for her. On the outside, I was relatively calm but secretly, I was terrified. The tiny creature I held in my arms was my responsibility and the pressure I felt was enormous.
And it was all so different from how I thought it would be. Even though my daughter was latching on correctly, breastfeeding was excruciating for the first couple of weeks. Also, I still wasn’t connecting with my daughter the way I thought I would- Caring for her was, well, boring. All diapers and nursing and rocking to sleep… No magic.
Worst of all, strange and terrible thoughts were invading my mind, usually late at night. I’d wake at two a-m to change my tiny daughter’s diaper in our bathroom and as I held her, I’d imagine dropping her, hard, on the cold tile floor. Gory images of the results would run through my head on repeat play, torturing me.
While I knew deep in my heart that I would never do anything to hurt her, the fact that those thoughts of “what if I did?” were running completely unbidden through my mind really, really bothered me.
Today, I still have a clear memory from that time, of some logical part of my brain standing back from the scene, assessing all that was going on during those late-night diaper changes and thinking, “You’d better not tell anyone about this, because they will totally take your daughter away from you.”
And so I kept it to myself. I faked the bond with my daughter that I didn’t feel. I faked being the perfect new mother. I faked and faked and faked and over time, as my daughter began responding to me and smiling and cooing and as my post partum hormones began to ebb and fade away, I finally found that connection I was looking for. Eventually, the gruesome images that had haunted me when she was a newborn faded into the distance, becoming a secret I resolved never to share with anyone.
A full two years after my daughter was born, when my strange emotions were a distant memory, I read this post. And I realized that what I had experienced wasn’t at all unique or crazy. It was documented. It was widespread. It was a symptom of post partum depression. Here are excerpts from both the post and some of the comments that followed…
When my daughter was tiny and helpless and newborn, I was afraid to walk by the butcher block on the kitchen counter while I was holding her. I was afraid that my body would involuntarily pull a knife from the butcher block and use it to hurt her. And I was terrified. I didn’t know at the time where these wild thoughts came from, but I know now. I was suffering from postpartum depression.
For me, it was the balcony. I was scared shitless of our balcony.
For me, it was the stroller near traffic. What if I just. let. go?
…for me it was the landing on the top of the stairs. I was terrified that I would toss him over, or that I would trip and fall and he would fly out of my arms over the railing.
For me, it was the car. What if I swerved into oncoming traffic? What if that other car jumped the light and smashed into our car? What if Kaitlyn were killed? I dreamed up scenarios where I had a nervous breakdown and had to go to a special hospital where I wouldn’t speak to anyone for months.
I can’t tell you what a relief it was to find out, even two years later, that I hadn’t been alone. In fact, I was far from alone.
Afterward, I wrote about my post partum experience, but I did so on another website. I was pregnant again, and afraid of the judgment I’d face if I wrote about it on this blog. A few weeks ago, I came across that post. It was vague and apologetic. As I prepared to have another child and possibly face the same emotions I had after my first, I was obviously afraid to visit the subject with too much intensity.
I realized as I re-read that post that it was time to write about what I went through again, honestly and in a place where everyone can read it.
Because if there’s one mother or mother-to-be out there who reads this post and as a result, realizes she isn’t alone in her feelings, and that her doctor has certainly heard what she’s experiencing before and won’t think she’s a monster if she seeks help, then it’s worthwhile for me to share what has always been my deepest, darkest secret.
Today, I look at my children and I don’t think anyone will ever love them more than I do. Because I had spoken out to my husband about my post partum emotions (thanks to the blog post I had read), when they hit with my son, I took them in stride. I knew they would pass. And when I didn’t feel an instant connection with him at the moment of his birth (in fact, he cried and screamed so much when they brought him to my room that I remember wondering how soon I could send him back to the nursery without the nurses thinking I was a bad mother!) , I knew to give it time. Infancy simply isn’t my thing. I’ve enjoyed both my children more and more with each passing year, and I suspect it will remain that way until… puberty. Ahem.
With that said, if you have a story you’d like to share about post partum depression in the comments, I hope you will. I notice that posts like this one (and this one and this one) are read over and over again through the years, as women Google the subject and end up here.
I don’t want a single one of you to go through what I did, to feel so terribly reprehensible and alone.
Not when, as it turns out, our numbers are legion.
Not when there is help to be had.
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>Right on, sister.I, too, had these scary feelings and thoughts.They were more intense with the second child, for me. I finally scraped up my courage and mentioned feeling these horrible things to another new mom. We marveled that NO ONE had mentioned to us “oh, yeah…you might feel so overwhelmed that you’ll have these really disturbing thoughts and feelings”. Now that blogging has become such a phenomenon, I wonder how many Andrea Yates-type scenarios have been prevented by women simply being able to reach out to each other.I’d have given almost anything to have had the contact and outlet of blogging or the internet with my first two babies.
>Great post. I think one important thing is to teach husbands about it. I think they assume the roller coaster of emotional turmoil is over when the pregnancy ends. ha! In some cases it’s just the beginning.
>Me too. The connection with my son didn’t happen for weeks. As long as I had wanted a baby….after he arrived I thought that I had ruined my life. It was NOTHING like I had imagined. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, I just didn’t expect the floodgate of emotions and hormones to overpower me.I actually never had thoughts of hurting the baby or myself. I just wanted to climb a clock tower and take out everyone else that I knew. I hated my husband and every word that he said. I hated family. I hated friends. I just wanted everyone to leave us alone….go away.I let every new mommy know that I had PPD and that I love my medication. Meds make me a better mommy.
>If I’d only known then what I know now. . . After I had Rockboy, I was hit with a wicked case of PPD that LASTED FOR ABOUT TWO YEARS.(Ladies, that, if nothing else, should get you moving to your doctor NOW!)I had no idea what was wrong with me. I had no idea exactly how bad it was until it started to get better. And I hid it extremely well and punished myself mentally and emotionally for being a “bad” mother.Please. Get help if you need it. They will NOT take your baby away. I wish I had known that then. . .
>Great post.And, FYI for ANYONE out there, PPD can even come to ADOPTIVE mothers.Which shocked me so very much, too.
>I have recently been thinking about my own ppd post on my blog. Maybe one day I’ll be brave and post it, for the reasons you mentioned. It is so interesting to me how much more the rule some form of ppd seems to be, rather than the exception. Mine was more severe anxiety concerning my baby’s safety, forcing myself to monitor her breathing by waking every hour to check on her while she slept 10 hours straight, panic over leaving her, etc… irrational thinking all the way around. Over a few months, my hormones seemed to settle on their own with both babies. My biggest help was meditating on the verses from Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word. Nothing brought my heart rate back down and my panic under control faster. Doctors are very quick to prescribe anti-depressants these days too which is a good thing!
>I’m glad you wrote about this Lindsay. This entry is 4 years old, but it still makes me cringe when I remember how down I was, how angry. No one ever talks about the anger.http://www.karensugarpants.com/2005/11/12/green-means-go-go-go/
>This is a great post. I remember feeling so much the same. I actually recall comparing my love for my firstborn with that for my beloved dog — even a month or two after her birth! It seems ludicrous now – I can hardly remember to feed the poor dog, and my kids are my life.Thanks for lifting the burden for so many other new moms that might feel conflicted about this!
>Ha I just noticed YOU commented on that post, as Lucinda. OMG that feels like a million years ago!
>Mine is, what if she dies in the middle of the night. I’ll wake up and she’ll be dead. I think this most nights, right before bed time when I’m just exhausted.I think stuff like this all. the. time.Harper is almost seven months old now. When does it go away?
>I didn’t have so much scary thoughts after my daughter’s birth, but I did while I was pregnant with her. Here I was, 20years old, single (Daddy dearest tucked tail and ran when the pregnancy test turned out positive), still at home with mom and dad, no job, no nothing. And I didn’t want to heap a burden onto my parents; they’d already raised their kids. I surely didn’t want to bring a child into a world where she wouldn’t be raised by both of her parents, and would never even know one of them (she’s 10 and has yet to meet her real dad). I remember going to the top of my parents’ stairs thinking, “What if I just jumped?” And then I’d wonder how hard I’d have to jump to cause a miscarriage. Or sometimes I wondered how many Tylenols or any other sort of drug it would take in order to be done with the pregnancy. It’s painful for me to relive that now knowing that I have one of the most caring, beautiful, intelligent children on this Earth. But it was something I went through. I’m just glad I didn’t follow through with my thoughts. I couldn’t imagine life without her. And by the way, I think it’s great that you and other women share stories like these. It makes those who have these types of thoughts not feel like such monsters and could quite possibly lead them to get the proper help that they need.
>Hey, I was around for those Lucinda years as well!I think it was incredibly brave of you to post this and think it will really help someone out there. Thanks for your honesty!
>For me it was the microwave. I told my mom, “she just won’t be safe until she’s too big to fit into the microwave.”I had an overwhelming urge, too, to run far, far away from home. I thought that if I really loved my husband and daughter, I would leave them alone so I wouldn’t screw them up.Because I was going to screw them up. It was inevitable.Also, my first words to my second child were, “She’s purple and covered with mayonnaise!” Zoloft. It’s a Godsend. We’re awesome now. The kids are 3.5 and 2. It will get better if you’re brave enough to ask for help.
>My post-partum experiences were extreme opposites, though I never thought of PPD for either one until after I was feeling ‘normal’ again.I didn’t feel attached to my son at first… and then he was colicky and I had the scary, sleepy, hormonal thoughts of hurting him or myself or doing ANYTHING just to make the crying stop… I was thrilled to go back to work so I didn’t have to deal with him.. thrilled to get away from that house and those horrible feelings.With my daughter? My whole maternity leave was fantastic. But at 8 weeks, the second I had to go back to work, I started having thoughts of hurting myself, of sabotaging my job, of doing all kinds of crazy things because I just wasn’t ready to be a part of the world again. I was completely attached to her, I didn’t want anything else. It took some counseling to determine that this, too, was a form of PPD in that it was hormonal, that in trying to begin regulating my hormones, my body had actually thrown me more out of wack. It took a month or two after coming back to work for me to feel like I was normal again.So, even though I’m told I had PPD symptoms after both of my kids, the reactions were completely and totally different and it was difficult for me to recognize.
>Like you, I didn’t recognize the symptoms until much later. Luckily mine was mild as PPD goes, but that doesn’t help when you’re going through it.I never wanted to get out of bed. Thank goodness my mother told me, before I had babies, that I may not like my children all the time, but as long as I loved them I’d do ok. That helped a lot in the early days.
>I’m expecting my first child (a boy!) in August and I will be forever grateful to all the brave women who talk about the truth of motherhood. Your honesty helps me prepare for the future and to have the courage to seek help if I should need it.Now I just pray that my nipples can hold out for 10 days!
>Great, honest post. I didn’t have that instant connection with my son, but I did with my daughter, and I felt guilty about that for quite a while. With him, my love wasn’t instant, but it grew a little more every day. And now, five years later, I love both of my kids with equal intensity.
>It feels so great to know that you're (and I myself) was not alone. With my 1st pregnancy I read every book, watched every baby/birth show, and had this picture in my mind how it all would unfold, it would be magical, beautiful and perfect. Except it wasn't. I ended up having a emergency c section bc my son was "sunny side up" and didn't want to come out. I felt like a failure as a woman because I couldn't "do it right". After my c section I wasn't allowed to see or hold my son for 5 hours bc they stuck me, alone, in recovery to "wake up", I had a spinal, so I dunno wtf that was all about. I attempted to breastfeed, but I just wasn't producing the milk. Another "fail" in my book. I couldn't even move, never mind care for a newborn without pain meds bc of my c section, so as I was in bed most of the 1st 2 weeks of his life, I would hear him cry for something, and I would just lay there. Crying. I had no interest in my newborn, I just went through the motions bc I had to. It got better once I started healing from the c section, but I think from the get go I set these high expectations on myself, and was setting myself up to fail. Now my son is a happy healthy 3 year old, and I don't think I could be anymore in love with that little monster <3 I think its really hard on us even when you talk to your signifcant others, bc everyone is different, and men just don't get that emotional about a whole, lot . They try, but it's just not the same as tlaking to other women who've been through it.
>Me too. Grisly, awful stuff. Still happens sometimes at five months post partum. I never tell anyone.
>Thank you so very much for posting this.
>In answer to the question “When does it end?” I think it’s different for everyone. I didn’t truly feel like myself again until I quit breastfeeding. Breastfeeding kept my hormones all out of whack. I got angry more easily and I would get PROFOUNDLY irritated over little things. The second time around, thank God, I knew what was going on. That didn’t make my symptoms any better, but at least it did make me quick to apologize when I got upset, and recognize when I was reacting irrationally.
>I too had these thoughts. Mine was dropping him over the bridge down the road. I remember crying while feeding. My husband not understanding why I was so upset. How i didnt feel bonded with this baby. The magic came after 2 weeks of taking a blue pill. Zoloft was the answer. She was wonderful with me and gave me all the info that I needed. I didnt even think to search the internet at the time. I just sat and thought and saw these horrid images. It is always nice to know you are not alone.
>With my middle son, I was so lonely, so sleep deprived and so isolated that I often fantasized about killing myself. I’d beg people to help me with him, to take him for awhile (he was a very, very clingy demanding baby) and no one would help me. I felt like suicide was my only way out.I’ve never told anyone this. Or if I have, they didn’t believe me. I’m not someone you’d think of as suicidal.I got help, knowing the signs of PPD myself, and have been better ever since. But I genuinely scared myself.
>Great post. I wonder how many women feel that way but are afraid to say anything because they think they’re supposed to feel a certain way, but they don’t. It’s good to get the word out there and talk about it.
>It happened to me but I’d read enough stories about it that I was ready and waiting for it. I also had distractions that helped take my mind off the baby, like my mom and husbands parents came into town for 1.5 weeks, then I went back to work at 5 weeks. Mid way through my maternity leave my boss left a few messages indicating potential major changes in my position and salary which freaked me the hell out and sent any notion of self pity and freak thoughts towards baby out the window. Survival tends to do that. I guess I should thank him huh? In the end, I went back to work and nothing changed.
>I wrote my PPD post (http://hobobabyblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/lifting-veil.html) a few months ago and I just read it for the first time since then. I think I was way too stingy with how awful I felt. Even when I wrote it I was still trying to make it sound good. Oh the tale I could write today. Thanks for this post.
>Great post! I’ve been thinking a lot about those days. I wanted to throw us both of us (me and the baby) out the window, and I also thought a lot about flying to Paris by myself, because there was a direct flight from Pittsburgh. I think so many of us feel this way, especially during the dark early baby days!
>Great post! With my first I had dreams of natural childbirth that ended with me being put to sleep for an emergency c-section. I had the same thoughts when I woke up. I was looking for the instant bonding. My PPD was awful I can remember my husband coming home from work at lunch to make sure we were not going to end up on the News. With #2 I thought I would be better prepared but the PPD was different because at the same time as having #2 I went from working out of the home to staying at home. Then came #3 I thought it would be better and it started off great and then he turned two weeks old and all hell broke loose. My PPD turned into PPMD I became a horrible person to be around. Thank goodness for zoloft.As I was reading gorillabuns blog today her post today hit home with me. I thought the exact thought (the one that someone attacked her for) about #3 so many times. I can remember holding him crying and begging him to stop screaming.It is so hard and isolating so thank you so much for sharing your honest feelings!
>Add my voice to those saying “me, too!”It was eleven years ago, and it feels like it was yesterday. The fact that I couldn’t will myself to feel the sheer joy that I was supposed to be feeling made me even more depressed. Those horrible images and bizarre thoughts made me think that I was a monster. For me, it ended when I got on the pre-mommyblog internet, and learned that I wasn’t the only person who ever felt anything other that the total joy and elation that we’re told we’re supposed to feel. Even now, it relieves me to read that others have had those terrible thoughts and horrific images float through their brains. Thanks for sharing your experience.
>Thank you for talking about this!!! My PPD didn’t get diagnosed with the 1st baby for 2 YEARS. I didn’t really feel that ‘deep connection’ with her, just love, until she was 4 months old and hospitalized. Then I realized that I truly loved her and finally has that “AHA” moment. But recognizing that didn’t just make it go away, I had to actually tell someone… i.e. the doctor. Which is why it took so many years. My humiliation that I wasn’t making it as a mom. It is still a work in progress but I am out on the other side! There is help, ladies. You just have to ask.
>Thank you for writing this, Lindsay. I was fortunate and didn’t have a major case of PPD, but it also took me time to feel that bond. My children are absolutely precious to me, beyond description, but becoming a mother is certainly complicated and emotional in unexpected ways.
>i have totally lost 3 years after my second child was born, i can’t tell you anything about my life then, just a few things that boy2 did.
>Thanks to Lindsay for the courage to share her thoughts, as evidenced by all the comments. Husbands need to try to understand this and be empathetic and supportive. (Hide the knives, put the microwave in storage, etc.) Seriously, there are times when we can’t take it, either, as our lives are suddenly turned upside down 24 hours a day/7 days a week. But there is a transition women go through that men will never fully understand. (Perhaps women won’t either, but at least you’re talking about it and getting beyond the guilt.) Men need to admit it’s a hell of a lot easier for us and that moms need support, often in the form of time away from the baby-when needed and without question.
>I think that’s where it gets tricky in trying to explain it to a man, Don. For the vast majority of us, the knives don’t need to be hidden. I never thought that I’d actually hurt my baby. But the fact that the thoughts were even coming to my mind, no matter what I did to stop them, was enough to scare me really badly. I think for most of us, that’s the extent of it. Very few actually progress into psychosis.You’re right on the time off. Once when my son was an infant, I gave the kids to my husband and drove to Target and just walked around for an hour, looking at whatever I wanted to. I wrote about it- It’s somewhere in my archives. I don’t think I spent more than $20 (which lets you know SOMETHING was wrong with me!), but I remember that just the act of shopping alone, for myself, was enough to make me feel soooooo much better.
>Thank you! I have felt guilty for a long time about not bonding with my daughter right away. It took a while. And those crazy thoughts, they got worse after each baby. Its great to see that I am “normal” and not completely the horrible mother that I feel like some days.
>I suspect that most women have some measure of PPD, but it’s a dirty little secret that we keep to ourselves. My experience was much like yours. I was tormented by thoughts that I’d throw my baby out our second-story window.The best way to describe it is that I felt that I had no skin, no buffer against the world. Every tiny little aggravation was blown up huge in my mind. I’d always been a very rational person, so I thought I had lost my mind.I didn’t want to hold my baby right after he was born. He was a stranger to me, although I had carried him for 9 months. I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep. A few hours after he was born, he developed strep and started having trouble breathing. This scared me into wanting to hold him and love him.I was so ashamed about the way I felt, because we had tried for many years to have a child, and when we finally did, I felt so ambivalent about it. But the PPD passed after a few months, and my son and I have a tight bond. I also did not have PPD with my second child, so go figure.
>I had the same types of thoughts, I was afraid I’d somehow get my son’s hand stuck in the blender, or toss him over the balcony gate… Then Andrea Yates killed her 5 children 10 minutes from where I live and I thought for sure that my disturbing thoughts were a sign of impending doom.It is so crazy to think that with as many women who have given birth, there are so many things we still don’t know are gonna happen to us in the process. I love that you and all your readers are sharing their stories. Knowing this can happen and that it is pretty common is half the battle!!!!
>I remember at one of our first play groups when everyone was talking about the bond they felt with their babies. You spoke up and said that you didn’t really feel that bond instantly. The other moms let out a collective gasp and I stifled my own admission, that I didn’t feel the bond either. And that I wondered way too frequently what would happen if I accidentally dropped my baby in the washing machine. Scary times. THanks for writing about it. Hopefully a new mom will read this and realize that she is not alone.
>I’m a little shaky writing this comment..I didn’t get the “I want to/could hurt my child” thoughts during my PPD with my first 2 kids. I just would daydream of running away. Leaving them forever and not caring. Never looking back. (Zoloft helped!) But during my 3rd pregnancy..the ONLY pregnancy that was actually planned..I started getting the PPD symptoms right from the beginning of my pregnancy. I wished that I would miscarry. Up until the end I felt that way. When I was about 8 months I fell down our deck steps, and my first thought was not of the baby’s safety, but “Maybe now I’ll get my wish.”It was terrible. Debilitating. After she was born, healthy, (and I was put on a mild dose of Prozac after admitting to my OB what I had been thinking) I constantly feared that my thoughts would “jinx” her and she would die because of my horrible thoughts while I was pregnant.She didn’t. I love her more every day. What I would do without her, I dont know. But I do feel that it is good to put these things out there for other mother’s to see. It’s normal, there isn’t anything BAD about you if you feel this way.I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to blog about this topic, but I am glad I mustered up enough courage to comment here about it. Hopefully if other new mothers out there read posts and comments like these they will feel free to reach out to any of us if they need to vent their own thoughts or worries. We all have been there and are willing to listen.
>I think every woman, whether she is willing to admit to it or not, goes through some level of postpartum, simply due to the massive amount of hormone changes that are going on in our bodies. For some of us it’s worse than others, sure, but we all go through it. It’s sad that women think it’s not “normal” and that they have to hide it.
>I thought I would have the magic-bonding-at-birth-moment too .. and I didn’t. Twice. I think those first months overwhelm me to the point that I can function, but don’t ask me to do much more than that. I love the buggars ~ but I don’t FEEL the love until about 3 or 4 months old. Then I get that bonding moment & it's peaceful and happy … or I just wake up & realize that "HEY! I didn't want to ship you off to a convent all day today! WOOHOO!" My secret fears were the car & the bathtub … I never bathed my girls in a tub (alone) until they were past 3 months, just in case.
>Oh wow. You just made me remember the bathtub fear.I’m so glad you all are writing about this. I wish I had had this to read when I was pregnant with my first. I thought at the time that I definitely didn’t have PPD, because I wasn’t crying all the time and I wasn’t miserable (except for the painful breastfeeding). I thought PPD involved constant crying or thoughts of suicide and I had neither. I only had the numbness and the strange thoughts that I knew I wouldn’t ordinarily have had. It’s strange that it’s so hard to realize what’s going on until afterward, when you’re back to normal again.
>I’m so glad you posted on this. I’ve always felt there should be more information out there for pregnant women, other then the basic textbook symptoms. After my first daughter was born (7 yrs ago) I suffered from postpartum anxiety, which is slightly different then the depression. I was obsessed with the thought that my daughter would inexplicably die at any moment. Despite the fact that she was born perfectly healthy and did not have any of the risk factors of SIDS, I was overwhelmed with the idea that she would suddenly die. I had constant visions of walking to her bassinet or crib and finding her dead, I slept with the bassinet right next to my bed and would periodically check her breathing throughtout the day and night. I would cry every night because I wanted to stay up and watch her sleep so that she didn’t die while I was sleeping, yet I knew I was too exhausted to do this. When my husband would go check on her in the crib, I would literally hold my breath until I heard him say she was okay; I had constant visions of him screaming to call 911 that she wasn’t breathing. I was also bombarded with thoughts of “what if the hormones make me so crazy that I try to hurt her?”. For the most part this lasted 2 weeks-night and day. Then it tapered off some, but still continued for 3-4 months. Looking back I probably could have benefited from an anti anxiety medication, but I was kind of afraid to really describe my anxiety in full detail to anyone, for fear that they wouldn’t trust me to care for my own child! I think the main thing that got me through was understanding post partum hormones and the effects they can have, I knew this going into it and I recognized them for what they were, however there was still that deep seeded fear of “what if I really am going crazy?”—which I now understand is actually just as normal and common as the rest of it.Anyway, I appreciate you having the “balls” to share it! ;)http://www.randomthoughtsbyjenn.blogspot.com
>I think my depression started during my 6th month of pregnancy. Not wanting to hurt my daughter but the absolute fear of how we would manage. I wanted to have kids so badly and then felt horrible for being depressed. The first month was really tough and only got better after the breastfeeding stopped. I would be so testy and angry (why can’t she just sleep? why can’t she just “insert some stupid expectation here”). It was all made harder by not feeling that gush of love once I saw her after she was born. That “love” that is so publicized on every tv show about babies is a hard thing to live up to and doesn’t appear to happen MOST times, yet we kick ourselves when it doesn’t. I wouldn’t trade in my daughter or my experiences for the world but I really don’t think anything can prepare you for your feelings.
>A light just went on in my head. I’m three weeks away from my due date for #2 and thinking about that first month after #1. I honestly blocked this out, but I remember now just holding her in the middle of the night thinking, “What if I just hugged her tighter and tighter until all the crying stopped?” Then I had another thought in my head to just put her down and walk away. I was so scared as I just put her back down in her crib and walked out of the room and let her cry while I cried in the bathroom. Those feelings didn’t last even until the 6 week post partum checkup for me though so my doctor (and my husband) never even heard about them.
>I bonded with my children right away, but I was also riddled with anxiety. In every situation we were in, I would look for every possible hazard that might befall my baby…that waiter could drop that tray, my mom might spill her coffee, what if that truck crosses the center line? Driving in the car was horrible. I constantly worried we would have an accident. Everytime I put my son down to sleep I was afraid I would find him dead later. It was all I could do to force myself to walk away from that crib. I never imagined myself hurting him, but I saw images of horrible accidents. I imagined finding him dead in his crib. I had dreams where I found him dead in a bathtub where someone else had killed him or let him drown. And I felt anxious and panicky every time I was away from him. I knew the thoughts were irrational. I even recognized it as PPD and I really never said anything to anyone.It returned when I began suffering miscarriages. I suspect the emotional stress of the miscarriages, but also the hormonal roller coaster of three pregnancies in less than a year were both to blame. But, I began to once again have the horrible images and dreams of something happening to my son (who was now 2). Fires, car wrecks, illness, drowning, falling, being run over in our driveway, being run over by the lawnmower, allergic reactions to bees or foods, tornadoes, storms, kidnappers, I even worried a gunman would enter his daycare… it got to the point where I couldn’t sleep for the nightmares. I would lay awake at night thinking of his funeral. I finally decided that I needed to talk to my doctor who was extremely nice and understanding and prescribed me some medication.I actually hated the way the medication made me feel, but I took it for about 3 weeks and when I came off of it, I did feel much better.I had anxiety after my daughter was born as well, but not to a debilitating degree. She is 10 months old now, and I still have some anxiety. If she naps longer than expected, for example, or sometimes I still get pretty panicky that she will die from some illness or accident (kind of the mentality I while pregnant that it was too good to be true and something would happen). It sometimes feels like I’m just waiting for the other shoe to fall. But, as she gets closer to her first birthday and I get closer to quitting breastfeeding, I find it getting better and better.The important thing is that I recognize it and I know my thoughts are irrational. I have to force myself not to act on them. (Like quit my job, never drive my car again, and never sleep because I’m watching her breathe).Great post, maybe I’ll do one on my blog sometime.
>I experienced depression, but during pregnancy, not after. Same wild hormone fluctuations, and dark, frightening scenes playing out in my head. Thoughts about just letting go of the wheel while driving, thoughts about all of my children dying with me in a multitude of ways. I kept it secret from everyone, crying in the shower everyday where no one would know.It doesn’t only happen after pregnancy, and there are ways to get help during too. I finally got some.
>Oh, I want SO BADLY to tell more about my experience with Postpartum Depression, but I am still SO AFRAID!!! THANK YOU for posting this. I, too, have posted vaguely on my blog about my experience. I hope to have the courage some day. For me, it was the microwave, the oven, the disposal, the bathtub, anything. Oh, it was awful. Thanks for your honesty!RachelB.
>thank you for sharing that and all the others who have opened up. women need to know they are not alone and also that its ok to ask for help and tell someone. and this can also happen while pregnant i was very depressed with my second child and i cried all the time and felt horrible and finally i told my doctor through tears how i felt and she put me on medication and it helped so dont be afraid to ask for help or let someone know….
>Thanks for sharing this. One of the reasons I’m hesitant to adopt is b/c I hate the thought of not having that IT moment. But so many mothers have told me they didn’t feel that instant conneciton with kids they birthed. Maybe the bond just takes awhile, with or without PPD, and regardless of whether it’s your kid vs. another’s.
>I just wrote about my PPD experience last weekend, and then my friend Marci interviewed me about it, too.http://heathertyfeatherty.blogspot.com/2009/04/now-that-im-not-post-partum-id-like-to.htmlhttp://marcinfamnfriends.blogspot.com/2009/04/postpartum-depression-interview.htmlI had totally forgotten about the thoughts that I might accidentally purposely hurt my babies. I had that with each birth, honestly. I was scared to walk by the railing at the mall for fear I’d throw the baby over the side, or he’d accidentally fall somehow.Thanks for posting this.
>I just cried a little bit when I read the comment that you quoted about the mother who was terrified of her balcony.I was lucky that I did feel that bond immediately with both my kids, but with my second, I too was absolutely petrified to go out our sliding doors with her in my arms. We live on the fourth floor and my oldest liked to go out and wave goodbye to my husband. I would go out with her, because she was only three, but I would press my back against the brick wall and close my eyes because I kept seeing myself somehow tripping and falling, dropping her over the railing.The amount of detail that I could see was enough to turn my blood to ice with fear.I also had post-partum anxiety. I would start having panic attacks when I knew I would be alone with both of them, crying on Sunday night because I knew my husband would go to work the next morning or crying on Friday afternoons if he had a gig to play (he’s a musician as well) that night because I’d be alone until about 3 am.I told my doctor about the anxiety and he gave me a referral to a clinic that dealt with PPD and a prescription to calm me down when needed but I never told him about the balcony visions. In the end I never went to the clinic or to fill the prescription and you know, I wish I had because even though it eventually went away as my hormones leveled, how much better could it have been if I had taken care of it right away? Maybe my baby and I could have enjoyed the sun out on the balcony without me having a nervous breakdown.Thank you so much for this. I should really blog about what I went through because no one knows how scary it was for me and it could help.
>I blogged openly about my postpartum depression mainly because I didn’t want women to think they were alone in experiencing the situation. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling.
>Hey, that’s me – the balcony comment. I still remember reading Meghan’s post and thinking, oh thank god someone understands.L, thanks for writing this post. These secrets need to be aired to remind us that there’s no shame in our occasionally less-than-maternal feelings.
>It’s a very brave post.Those very early days are dark for many moms.
>I’m due in like 2 weeks, and the thought of post partum is scaring me. I know it’s common, and that I shouldn’t be scared…but I am.
>With my first baby, I was literally in a “dream” world. I had that instant bond, loved her to pieces and NEVER put her down. She was perfect. She never cried, she slept like a dream and I was happily exhausted with that new mother glow.And then along came my second pregnancy where life was good, it was another girl and nothing could stop my perfect world…until the day she was born.Enter…(da da da) the new baby. Who from the second she entered this world has been screaming, crying and creating tantrums wherever she goes. She just literally cried, all the time. The depression hit on the worst day of my life. I didn’t strap her into a bouncy chair, which was on the kitchen table and she somehow fell fell 3 ft to the ground on our hardwood floor. I thought I killed her and as we rushed to the ER I couldn’t stop screaming and crying along with her. The guilt was terrible and crushing (she checked out o.k.) and I could barely function after that. I could hardly wait to get away from her and go back to work, which put some normalcy back in my life. Then came the thoughts of doing bodily harm to her because she started having chronic ear infections at 4 weeks old and this went on until her eardrums burst (again, the crushing guilt). She was 10 months old when it happened and she had to get tubes. During this 10 month fog, I hated my husband, kept thinking of the best way to divorce him (and he was at that point too, not understanding why I gave him the cold shoulder or didn’t want to do anything like watch movies together, have a date night, or even have sex with him).If anyone would have told me this was going to happen I wouldn’t have believed it because I didn’t believe in depression and all that stuff.But daughter #2 is going on 4 yrs old and I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. I couldnt’ EVER imagine divorcing my husband now. After she got tubes in her ears and I was able to sleep for the first time in a year, things slowly got back to normal. Looking back I call those my “dark” days and have no problem sharing my story with girlfriends.
>Thank you for writing this. I remember my husband cooking chicken and thinking how much the baby’s legs were like that and how it would look if she were quartered up and frying in the pan. I would NEVER EVER do that and I kept thinking it was Satan himself whispering those thoughts in my ear. Every time I would have a thought like that I would “pray it away.” Now that I know I’m not insane I think next time I’ll get help. I even passed the OBGYN’s screening questionaire for post partum but I knew that couldn’t be right.
>i have read a lot about postpartum. i even expected to get it because i had had depression troubles before. but i never realized that i was probably experiencing it to some degree. i didn’t feel that much-expected bond with my daughter either. i just went through the motions for so much of our first few months. thanks for sharing.
>Thank you so much for sharing your experience. You are undoubtedly helping so many.
>Fantastic post. This is exactly – exactly – what happened to me after my daughter was born. Thank you for having the courage to blog about it so others will know they’re not alone.Looking forward to meeting you next weekend :)Emily from Mommin It Up
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