10 Moms Reveal What Postpartum Depression Really Feels Like

Wendy Robinson | Mar 23, 2017 Baby

postpartum depression
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When my first child was born, I was euphoric. After nine long months, he was finally here and I was over the moon -- at first. But then the high of birth wore off and I found myself sore, exhausted, overwhelmed, and riding a hormone roller coaster. It was really hard, and I was lucky enough that I wasn't among the one in seven women suffering from postpartum depression.

The American Psychological Association describes postpartum depression (PPD) as a "serious mood disorder" that "can make it hard for you to get through the day, and it can affect your ability to take care of your baby, or yourself." They also note that PPD can happen to any women, regardless of how easy their pregnancy was, their age, their ethnicity, or their income. 

The symptoms and severity of PPD can vary from woman to woman, so we asked some brave moms to share their stories of what PPD really feels like. Read on for their raw and honest accounts -- and please contact your doctor if you think you might be suffering from PPD. 

 

If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal thoughts, please let them know they are not alone. Text START to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or visit the Suicide Prevention Resource Center at www.sprc.org 

  • Crippling Anxiety

    1

    "I didn't think I had PPD because I didn't feel overwhelmingly sad. Instead, I was crazy anxious. I wouldn't let anyone come over and see the baby, because I worried about them taking her. I had all of these intrusive thoughts. Like, I would stand at the top of the stairs and worry that I was going to throw the baby down. 

    "The final straw was when I had a panic attack when my husband and I were on a short road trip. It was a two-hour drive and I couldn't stop freaking out about the other cars being too close to us. I was yelling at my husband for tailgating and for being reckless, which he wasn't. He made me go to the doctor the next day. I got put on a low dose of an antianxiety med and it helped a lot." -- R.E. 

  • So Alone

    2

    "I never really liked my baby. That might be the first sign. Also I felt like I was alone. There was no one for me, not even God. The emotion was hard, but realizing that God wasn't there has shaken me to this day. Now I think that there's probably a God, but he doesn't break through depression for people and that sucks." -- B.W.

  • Deep Dread

    3

    "I had PPD three times and it manifested slightly differently each time, but the main signs were anger and deep dread. Each time it came on around two or three months after the birth. Knowing it was probably coming didn't make it any easier." -- G.K. 

    More from CafeMom: 5 Warning Signs You Could Have Postpartum Depression

  • Traumatic Birth Trigger

    4

    "I felt completely unlike myself, and was convinced that I would never feel normal again. 

    "I remain convinced that my baby's traumatic birth was a huge trigger of a lot of stuff for both of us. Then he was fussy/clingy, which was stressful for me, but also it just took a long time for me to get over him being in mortal peril at birth and being taken away from me right when he was born." -- M.R. 

  • Uninterested

    5

    "PPD for me was this long and low-key lack of interest. I wasn't interested in the baby; I wasn't interested in sex; I wasn't eager to see friends. I felt like I was just sleepwalking through life. I thought it was just being tired and that maybe I just wasn't that maternal because I was more interested in playing games online than I was at interacting with my son. 

    "What was weird for me is that I started to notice that my blah feelings seemed to spike when I nursed the baby. I mentioned that to my doctor when she asked how feeding was going and that prompted the conversation that helped me figure out that I was suffering from PPD. I'm really glad she brought it up because once I started dealing with the PPD, the experience of being a mom totally changed." -- Anonymous

  • SAD ... Times Ten

    6

    "I've struggled with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) for as long as I've lived in Michigan. I didn't think about [how] having a winter baby would impact that. My daughter was born in late October, and by November I was really, really struggling. I was so isolated because it was a bad winter and I hardly ever left the house. It was like having SAD but times 10. I felt like I would never be happy again. I also felt really, really guilty because I didn't think I loved my baby enough. It's still painful to think about that time." -- F.S. 

  • Obsession

    7

    "After my second child was born, I got kind of weirdly obsessed with Harry Potter books. It was the only thing I really found pleasure in and I looked more forward to finishing the next chapter than I did in snuggling with my baby or dealing with my toddler. 

    "When I read the third book, I read the part about the dementors, who are these ghosts that suck the hope and joy out of people, and I felt such recognition. Like I had been attacked by a dementor. Like I was never going to feel happy again. I talked about it on a Harry Potter fan site and a bunch of women reached out and said 'Um, yeah, you have postpartum depression' and they were right. 

    "Thankfully my doctor took me seriously and we made a plan to deal with it (meds!). I still like Harry Potter, but I love my regular life more now." -- E.B. 

  • Profound Regret

    8

    "I still feel terrible for admitting this, but for me it was profound regret. That feeling lasted probably three months or so but I struggled with the depression for years. I wasn't right for -- well, I'm still not, I suppose." -- P.J. 

    More from CafeMom: Postpartum Depression Myths Debunked

  • Bad Mom

    9

    "I'm still kind of gutted about my experience with PPD, honestly. I turned into a version of myself as a mother that I never want to be again. I was just so angry, all the time. I had no patience for my toddler and my patience was nonexistent. I turned into a yeller, and at a low moment I told my 2-year-old that she was an ungrateful brat because she wouldn't finish her lunch. She burst into tears and I felt like a monster." -- R.W. 

  • Guilty

    10

    "For me, PPD was such a guilt-inducing experience. I'm a lesbian and so obviously my pregnancy was totally planned and not the easiest thing to accomplish. I had a great pregnancy, my wife was amazing during the whole thing, and our baby was healthy and beautiful.

    "But I didn't feel happy. I didn't feel -- anything, really. And that made me feel SO GUILTY. There was no reason to be sad. No reason not to be happy. And I just couldn't shake it. A few weeks of this and I finally broke down and told my wife that I was broken. She helped me see that it was probably PPD." -- K.N. 

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