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How I Knew I Had Postpartum Depression

Mar 15, 2012 at 9:58 AM Chime in now

MASTERFILE

By LISA VAN DE GEYN

The thought of being saddled with postpartum depression (PPD) never actually crossed my mind when I was expecting my first child. I did, however, wonder whether or not I’d know if I did wind up with it. In my humble mama experience, after birthing two kids, nothing has ever been more obvious to me than the fact that I most certainly had PPD. Twice.
 
While I was in the hospital after Addyson was born via Caesarian, I was completely euphoric – for a whole day. In those first 24 hours I was enamoured with my baby, excited to receive visitors and I drank gallons of non-decaf coffee. We rested well that first night, but when I got up in the morning it was like the happiness inside me had switched off and those hideous post-baby hormones took over. Suddenly I was miserable – I cried constantly, I wanted to be alone (save for my husband who wasn’t allowed to leave my side), I felt angry and annoyed with nurses who kept bugging me about breastfeeding and when I looked at my little pink bundle, I felt a whole lot of nothing.
 
Here’s my point: The biggest mistake I’ve made (so far) as a parent was not telling my doctor that something was wrong before I left the hospital. I’d love to tell you about those first two weeks at home but I’ve literally blocked out most of it from my memory. All I can say was that every time Addyson made a peep I got upset. I went from someone who wanted nothing more in life than to get married and have a little girl to thinking that I’d made a huge mistake by having a baby and thinking it might not be so terrible if something awful happened to me, or to her.
 
I decided to stop nursing after 13 days of breastfeeding hell and tricked my family into believing I was miraculously “cured,” but I wasn’t. I became good at hiding my misery, which eventually subsided but never really disappeared.
 
Nineteen months later I was pregnant again and, at four months along, I started feeling the same sadness I had experienced after Addy’s birth – I was irritable, upset, couldn’t concentrate or focus and I wasn’t excited about or looking forward to anything. (I knew something was wrong when I was indifferent about getting Bon Jovi tickets. I’m NEVER indifferent about getting Bon Jovi tickets.)
 
But this time I was proactive – and smart; I told my obstetrician and he referred me to a prenatal and postpartum psychiatrist in the hospital. I suffered from PPD following our daughter Peyton’s birth but I got help (and continue to) – which was the most important thing for my girls and me.
 
Sadly, there’s still a stigma attached to admitting you have a few screws loose in the old noggin when you’re pregnant and/or a new mom. The thing is, there’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. It happens to the best of us.
 
Did you suffer from PPD? How and when did you know? Share your story and chime in now!

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