My Journey Through Postpartum Depression
I found out I had postpartum depression a year after birth. Honestly, that was one of the hardest years I have had.
However, let’s rewind on how it all started. In 2013 I got pregnant with my son. He was my surprise baby boy, I’m not going to lie, and I was a bit resentful at first; I was just not ready at that time to have a baby in my life.
But the more time passed, I started to become excited that I was going to become a mother. I kept thinking, it’s going to be amazing, our little family. I had this fantasy image of how I’m going to create a beautiful nursery for him and how he’ll sleep exactly as he should. Everything is going to be the way you see it on mainstream media. It’s going to be amazing.
I planned his clothes, my labour, everything. What I didn’t plan is what was going to happen after he was born. I didn’t plan how much crying there will be (and I’m not just talking about the baby). I didn’t plan on colic, struggling with breastfeeding, or that I would never sleep again.
I remember being so scared of giving birth towards the end of my pregnancy. I wish I could go back in time and tell my pregnant self that the birth is the easy part of everything to come.
I was in utter shock. I didn’t know what I was doing. I think the worst part is that I didn’t accept any help even when it was given. To me, requiring help meant that I failed, that I couldn’t hack this, and that I was a bad mother.
The first four months of my son’s life I survived on zero sleep. He would not sleep anywhere except on my chest. I am not exaggerating, he would not next to me, but would only sleep on top of me.
I was a nervous wreck that I might suffocate him, so every night I would sit up and let him sleep on my chest. While I lay there awake crying thinking why did I do this? Why did I have a baby? I barely can look after myself let alone another human.
To top this all up we moved A LOT during his first year. I was dealing with so many things in life that there wasn’t even time for me to have a mental breakdown, or even express my true emotions.
Night after night I wanted to end it all. I didn’t want to exist anymore. My husband saw that the light in my eyes shut down, and he constantly tried to help but I wouldn’t let him. If I was to admit that I have mental health issues, they’ll take my baby away from me I thought; they’ll lock me up.
Then finally one day, that horrible day came, when my long due mental breakdown happened. My body finally gave in. I went to the doctor and to my surprise, no one was going to take my baby away from me. Little did I know that what was happening to me was very common.
At that point, the doctor prescribed medication to help me, something that for a long time I was embarrassed to talk about.
It was only up until I had my second child that I felt that I shouldn’t feel embarrassed about taking medication to help myself. At the time, I also went to therapy, and the combination of therapy and medication really made me into a better mother. I became a mother that was present.
It did take a while for me to stop having dark thoughts. I’m still working on myself every day and trying to improve, but it’s still hard. I hold up my hands and say that motherhood is one of the hardest things that I have ever done (and I lived in a war zone once upon a time; but that’s another story for another time).
Postpartum depression is a serious issue, so please don’t underestimate the importance of your mental health. No matter what you endure, it doesn’t affect how much of an amazing mama you are.
Dania created MomThinks, a support platform for mothers struggling with motherhood and the one in seven mothers affected by maternal mental health issues. Dania is trying to destigmatize maternal mental health issues and redefining motherly roles because of her own experiences. You can follow Dania on social media @momthinks or visit her website momthinks.co.uk/