The Wrong Pill Gave Me Baby Blues

mother with postpartum depressionI'm not a pessimist, but I was pretty sure I'd have postpartum depression. I've dealt with some dips in the past and was preparing myself for the worst. Prepare for the worst, pray for the best. Isn't that what you're supposed to do?


But, thankfully, save for my nursing struggles and that very dark 72-hour period, I was as mentally well-adjusted any new mother can be (read: horribly hormonal). But I loved my child, could connect with her, was excited that she was finally here, wanted to kiss, snuggle, and hug her, and felt like I was in the exact right place for the first time in my life. I'd read about all the signs and wasn't experiencing any of them. I thought I was in the clear.

Then, my OB put me back on the pill.

Why I didn't go with what I knew, my instincts, gut, another doctor, I'll never know. Hindsight. One day I'll learn.

That whole week, I felt off, angrier, more irritable than usual, short with my husband, unforgiving of myself. I blamed it on the hormones, the exhaustion. I went from snotty to scary in seconds. Things looked bleak.

I suddenly wasn't sure this motherhood thing was for me after all. I resented my husband for the position I was in, was angry at myself for feeling this way and not able to just snap out of it. Rationally, I could tell myself all the things a friend or trusted advisor would. I knew things weren't nearly as bad as they seemed, that I was fortunate, strong, would get through it but I felt worthless, helpless, hopeless. It was the most frightening feeling I've ever had -- complete lack of control over my situation and sadness.

I called my doctor and left a message saying something wasn't right. I needed help. A day passed, no return call. I phoned again. Someone, anyone, I'm floundering, flailing. No word. By Friday morning, I was despondent.

I called my husband at the office in hysterics, hyperventilating. I finally confessed how much I was hurting. I couldn't fathom how I was going to get through the next eight minutes let alone eight hours. I never remember feeling that hopeless in my life. The despair I felt, I wouldn't wish on anyone. 

I looked at Lilly, my newborn baby girl who I loved more than life, and wanted to wander off. What kind of mother was I? Who feels that way?

Thankfully, I never had thoughts of hurting her or myself. I just wanted to go away, escape it all, check myself into some facility, and stare at walls.

There I was, in love. With my husband, my daughter and our vibrantly-colored life, and I wanted to feel nothing, seep in the gray.

It scared me straight. Since my doctor was of no help, I took matters into my own hands and went off the pill immediately. My husband came home and held me as I dissolved in his arms. I wept for a while. And then, when there weren't any tears left, I cleaned myself up and took a walk with my baby for some fresh air and perspective. I assured my husband it was okay to go back to work.

We walked for a long time. I sobbed, smiled, sobbed some more. Once we tired, I pulled out the park blanket and soaked up the sunshine. Something about home didn't seem safe at that moment so I listened to myself, finally relying on my instincts and stayed out much later than I normally would have. I made a promise to myself and my child in that moment that it would get better from there. I'd hit bottom and there was was only up. If we made it through that day, the rest of ours would be brighter.

We stayed until the sun dipped down to the Hudson. I met my husband outside our building, handed off our everything and went to the nail salon for a pedicure and massage, because I needed to take care of me. I woke the next morning feeling depleted from all the emotion but with more resolve than ever. I was going to beat whatever this was.

Each day got significantly easier. And by several, I was back to beaming at my baby. Clearly, for me, it had been the wrong pill, wrong dosage. And once it was out of my system, I was okay. For others it's not that simple.

If you are struggling, speak up, seek help and, above all, listen to and be kind to yourself.

Have you ever experienced anything like this while taking birth control after baby?


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