5.29.2013

A Glimpse of Real

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I've been pregnant twice. Had two very different pregnancies & complications with both.
I have two amazing boys to show for those pregnancies!
I also suffered from postpartum depression after each birth.

Postpartum Depression is something that a lot of people keep private or don't talk about. I'm not sure if it is the world we live in and wanting to appear like everything is perfect. Or maybe some are embarrassed or ashamed. After both of my experiences I decided I didn't want to do any of those things. I talk very openly about it. I'm not embarrassed or ashamed because I know it is not my fault. Since both of my boys I've written about it several times and have actually had a few of my articles published. One of my articles can be a found in a wonderful book called, The Gift of Giving Life.

Here is a small account after I had my second child:

Two weeks ago I lay in bed wide-awake. It was quiet and the whole house was sleeping, except me. I quietly slipped out of bed and tip toed into baby W’s room. There he lay, peacefully asleep wrapped up like a little burrito. I touched his cheek and patted his tummy softly. My eyes welled up with big alligator tears and for the first time, I felt love for him. Actually felt it. Didn’t force it. Didn’t pretend. I actually felt love.

I wasn’t going to write about this. But I find great strength in writing, putting my thoughts on paper and getting it out of my system. I also like when people are real. This is me being real. Very real. Life isn’t perfect and sometimes I think we view people from the outside and think they “have it all.” But I’ve realized that everyone has his or her “things.” Everyone. I also know this is a subject that isn’t talked about much. But I want to talk. Because maybe you've felt some of this or maybe you have sister, friend or neighbor that has experienced this.

After all of W's scares while I was pregnant, his birth went wonderfully. We spent a few days in the hospital, all of which I felt great. But just like with my first pregnancy all of my hormones and emotions hit – all at once. Only this time around it was much worse. We had taken every precaution we thought to prevent the postpartum depression from being so bad this time. We were blindsided when it hit. Well, I was at least. I was totally unprepared and when those feelings started to creep in I knew I was in trouble. The first night at home was terrible. Both my husband and I were up every hour with the baby. Honestly, I forgot what it was like to have a newborn baby. I felt overwhelmed. I felt like I was in a dark hole. It is the very worst feeling in the whole entire world when you don’t want to hold your baby. When you don’t want to be in the same room as him. My heart was broken & all I could do was cry. And that is really all I did. Anxiety and panic is what set in first. The rest of the details are really quite blurry. Lots of tears. Concern from so many family members and great friends.

My mother-in-law ended up taking my oldest boy for a full week. We tried not having the stress of him around to see if it would help. It didn’t and only made me feel worse that I couldn’t be with him. More panic & more anxiety. It felt like I was choking and like it would never end. Mother’s day was probably the worst. I felt so guilty that I didn’t want to be with my own kids on Mother’s day. I wanted everything to go back to the way it was.  Obviously, change isn’t my strong point. On Mother’s day morning, after a few phone calls, my parents were in my kitchen along with my brother-in-law. I needed more medical help than I was aware of. My husband took me to the hospital and we thought we were on a good road. The next day I was worse. At this point I hadn't seen my kids in about a week. Not even my sweet new baby. I was pale as a ghost with big black circles under my eyes. I was loaded back into the car and we were at the hospital again. It honestly is all a blur. I remember the rain hitting the car windows as we drove and feeling like I wanted to be washed away with the rain. The medicine I was pumped full of made me feel numb. At that point they admitted me and I stayed the night. I honestly have never felt more alone & scared. I was alone. They wouldn’t let my husband stay with me. I learned a lot that night, in my hospital gown alone in my room.

I’d be lying if I said I’ve been fine since. This postpartum depression thing is hard and so very, very real. I’m not ashamed about it because I know it is my hormones and how my body reacts after having a baby. I know it is real and I know that it isn’t my fault. I have good days and I have bad days. Luckily with lots of help from many people we have survived and weathered this whole postpartum depression thing again. I’m luckily feeling much, much better. We are a little over six weeks out and the skies are looking sunny again.

I have learned so much through this experience & I know I go through all of this for a reason. If anything I have learned that asking for help is okay. It doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you just need a little help right then.  I have learned that my Heavenly Father loves me. He wouldn’t put me through things I couldn’t overcome and without reason. I’m stronger because of this. And maybe one day I will see clearly why I go through all of this.

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Reading this gives me a huge lump in my throat. It's been two years since that experience and it still makes my heart hurt. But here I am excitedly pregnant for a third time (It's a girl!!) and I won't lie - I am terrified all of this will be a reality again after baby girl is born. Like I am staring at a tornado that is coming straight at me and I am unable to move. But it is okay. I am okay and will be okay. Although it is so very hard to see while I am in it, I know I will come out the other side stronger. Stronger, better and a mama of a sweet baby girl.
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13 comments:

  1. This post shows how brave and strong you are-- for going through this multiple times AND sharing your story publicly. Thank you for helping us realize that we are all normal. Pretty sure almost everyone deals with some form of depression at least once in their life, and pretty sure most of them come out the other side a more seasoned, experienced, better person. The hard times make life beautiful right? Love you!

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    1. thanks, rachel! lots of love right back at you!

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  2. I suffered from PPD too with my first child. And have struggled with anxiety and depression ever since! It's a tough road, and the decision to have a child amidst all of that is a brave one. I just had my third a year and a half ago. He is finally sleeping through the night, and my life seems a little "normal" again. Those first few months after a baby is born is so hard. The lack of sleep, the sacrifice of your body, etc. but to add PPD onto that, it is really a miracle that any of us have more than one! Thanks for sharing your journey! -Meredith

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    1. meredith:
      thank you so much for your comment. i find so much comfort when others share a bit of their story - it makes me feel like i am not alone. so thank you for sharing! it really is SO amazing that we all have more than one baby. AMAZING!! hang in there and know you are not alone in this fight!
      xo

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  3. Great post Erica! I am proud that you share this experience. I have had very difficult pregnancies and it seems that nobody ever shares those experiences. We can all learn a lot from your story and I appreciate it. You are so strong and you will get through this next one. It makes me think that maybe I can be strong enough to try again someday too. :) Good luck with your sweet baby girl! Heavenly Father will be there to help you. He always is!

    Sincerely,
    Laura Muir

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    1. Laura:
      Thanks so much for your comment and kind words.

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  4. Sweet ~ Beautiful Erica....I am so proud of you and admire you for sharing your experience. Like Rachel said, many people suffer from all types of depression, and while I did not experience PPD with Gracie, I am fully aware of how dark, scary and lonely that day to day battle can be. You are taking the negative power away from it, and putting it into the positive strength of knowing you're not alone. The comfort you will have in knowing that Nana and Grandma Beverly are watching over you, your baby girl, and your sweet little family will bring you peace. I love you and cannot wait to meet your sweet little girl. xoxoxo

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  5. Erica, thank you for sharing this. You are a courageous woman and you surely will touch hearts with this. Even though I didn't suffer from post-partum depression I have my own struggles and feel strengthened knowing that I am not alone. Like you said...we all suffer in one way or another and taking the shame out of it creates room for healing.

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    1. LuAnn:
      You are not alone! Everyone is fighting a hard battle in one way or another. Be proud of yourself and know you are for sure not alone!! Thank you for your comment.

      xo

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  6. You are the most amazingest person I know!

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  7. Even though I haven't experienced post partum, and won't due to personal issues.. I have gone through depression. It's a terrible battle, and definitely helps when people are there to talk to about it with you. Even though the world isn't fully ready to come out and speak openly about these issues, they are getting better I think. It does get better and people can beat it together. Stay Strong!

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    1. June! Thank you so much for commenting. Depression is a horrible thing, I am so sorry you have had to experience it. Lets beat it together!! ;) Xo, Erica

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  8. Sometimes I think as moms we are so hard on ourselves and we forget or feel guilty about needing to take time. You did what was best for your and your family. Children are resilient and you have a great support system. Don't ever feel guilty about needing to take time for yourself. I too suffered from post-partum depression but not at the levels that you did. I too did not feel that instant connection with both of my children - sounds crazy to say that but it's all biology I think. But I know it is all very real and very frustrating because that time is so limited when they are young but remember... we all do the best we can and no one is judging! (Or at least the people who are judging don't really matter in my world!) Congrats on baby #3!

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