I Suffered From Postpartum Depression & Didn't Even Know It

Heartbreaking 30

post partum depressionIt wasn't until after my fourth child was a toddler that I realized I had experienced Postpartum Depression (PPD) after the birth of each of my children.

I'm a smart person. I read all the books and knew all the signs. Or so I thought.

Looking back now, I wish I had done something more than just assume what I was feeling was "the baby blues." You know, I thought it was normal to cry at the drop of a hat and feel anxious about leaving the house.

So not normal at all.

I'm pretty sure if I had known more, I would have gotten help. And maybe those early months would have been better, for me and my family.

Many new moms (and their partners) are aware of some of the symptoms of PPD. But there are lots of other symptoms that are not as widely known. Add in the talk about the "baby blues" and it can all be misinterpreted by these new moms and their spouses. In other words, there are too many women out there who are not getting the help they need.

I was definitely one of them.

As I've now since learned, a symptom of postpartum depression can be anxiety. In fact, it can even be the strongest and possibly the only symptom.

See, I would cry a bit at night and during the day, when my colicky baby wouldn't sleep, but because I never felt like harming myself or my baby, I figured I was just hormonal.

However, I was extremely anxious and frequently worried about going out in the car with her or leaving her with anyone. I'd have to have things a certain way or I'd freak out.

But because I'm an anxious person anyway, I suppose those feelings didn't really seem that unusual. And since I did a pretty decent job of coping with it on a regular basis, I figured I wasn't experiencing anything out of the ordinary and could just keep going the way I was.

Boy, was I wrong. The anxiety plus the exhaustion, hormones, and desperate attempts to be the best mom I could be, and it was pretty much disastrous.

Thankfully I was able to power through, but not without struggling every single day feeling like I was doing something wrong. That I wasn't a good enough mother to my children.

That I was somehow failing my baby.

Now that I know more about PPD and how it manifests differently for different women, I want to make sure other mothers know. I want them to feel comfortable reaching out to their friends, family, and doctor. And I want them to understand that if they're feeling like this, it's not just part of being a mom. You should get help and not feel bad about needing it. 

You'll be happier. Your partner will be happier. And your kids will be happier too.

Did you have PPD?


Image via kit4na/Flickr

postpartum recovery, baby first year


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katyq katyq

Isn't it crazy ? I had it and also didnt realize it until way after the fact.


Christina Gleason

Your experience sounds so similar to mine. I didn't realize until afterward, and yes, anxiety was one of the primary symptoms I had. So many stories like ours.

Coles... Coles_mom

I had it bad after my second kid, but didn't realize it until I was on the other side. I was practically a walking billboard for ppd and couldn't get help. It was horrible and a lot of very bad, irreparable things happened. When you're in the middle of it, you often can't tell. I didn't plan on any more kids for the depression piece alone, but we had a surprise baby. I was preparing myself and my new doc wanted to be proactive and start me on antidepressant. I decided to hold out as long as possible and haven't had any problems with my third kid. He's a year old now.

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

After the birth of my son (2nd kid), I all but completely broke down and was basically forced back to my doctor for help and support for PPD. I wasnt endangering myself or my kids, but I felt like I had no control over my emotions...the crying just wouldnt stop. I didnt want anyone else handling my son and got jealous when they did. I even did the same with my daughter (who was 6 at the time), not wanting her to even go to school...

Luckily I got everything straightened out in a fairly timely manner and on reflection, realized that I had similar symptoms when my daughter was born as well... I struggled through it alone though...

I'm so glad I got help this last time. Even if you have the slightest notion that what's wrong might be more than :baby blues: talk to your doctor!! 

Stephanie Caldwell

I had the anxiety thing with both my kids but I assumed that it was because they had both been hospitalized in their first weeks. In fact I never left my oldest with anyone (not even my husband) until he was almost 18 months old. It never occured to me that it could be PPD because I never once thought about hurting myself or my children. in fact it the very thought of something hurting them that caused me so much grief. 

sarca... sarcastic.mom

When I went back to my OB after my daughter was born, I was given a PPD screen which is done with all new moms and scored in the moderate category. I knew something was wrong but just thought it was hormones.

sarca... sarcastic.mom

When I went back to my OB after my daughter was born, I was given a PPD screen which is done with all new moms and scored in the moderate category. I knew something was wrong but just thought it was hormones.

Megan Harvey

I had PPD after my first child. I was barely 22, and it somehow never occurred to me that I might have PPD. After my baby was born I would lie in bed all day sobbing into my pillow (she spent her first 3.5 months in the NICU, which turned out to be a good thing because I couldn't have cared for her properly). I could barely summon the energy to get out of bed to use the bathroom. I lost all my pregnancy weight plus 10 lbs - I couldn't muster the energy to go to the kitchen and eat. I would lie there and cry more because I was hungry and couldn't do anything about it. My now-ex worked 2 jobs and was seldom home, so he didn't realize how severe the situation was. I hated myself and my life; I wanted to die, but that wasn't an option because I needed to be there for my baby, and I'd cry more because I felt like I wasn't even allowed to die. It was horrible.

About 2 weeks after my baby finally came home from the hospital, I woke up and realized I felt...okay. Not great, but I didn't have that awful weight in my chest. I was afraid to move because it might come back, so I lay perfectly still for as long as I could. When I finally moved, I still felt okay. Every day after that, I felt a little better. Later I found out I was pregnant. When I did the math I realized that it happened right about the time I started improving. I think my hormones were so screwed up that getting pregnant "flipped" them. Fortunately, they never "flipped" back. I couldn't have lived like that forever.

nonmember avatar amanda

I suffered severe (like suicidal severe) ppd after both my first kids. It took 10 years before I got back to semi-normal. Medication never helped me. After my third baby last year, I was worried, but at least we knew what to watch for. Thankfully I only experienced a few days of baby blues. The baby blues were kind of funny actually, I was crying a lot, but I didn't FEEL sad or angry. It was a relief, for sure.

Erin Janda Rawlings

This was totally me! I didn't know I had it - I was anxious all the time, but I was anxious before I had a baby. I recently told my OB that I think I had PPD twice, but because I wasn't sad and weepy, I missed it. It was such a confusing and high-stress time that I now feel sad that I didn't get help so I could find more joy in those baby years. Thank you so much for sharing your story!!

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