Nyssa - posted on 08/24/2009 ( 1 mom has responded )
I was 19 when my son was born 4 and a half years ago. He was unexpected, but not unwanted.
We were living with my son's father's parents, and it was weird for me. I'm a shy person. I mostly stayed in our room. I was lonely. I was feeling down. Breastfeeding wasn't going well, and my son's grandma was sneaking him bottles of formula when I was in the shower. Eventually, I gave up breastfeeding altogether. I was a wreck. I had planned on breastfeeding for at least the first year, and hopefully, for two years. (Turns out, I have tubular breasts and insufficient mammary glandular tissue.)
We got our own place, and I thought I'd feel better. Instead, I felt worse. I just wanted to sleep all the time. I didn't have energy to do housework. I loved my baby. I felt bonded with him. But I was sinking deeper and deeper into a hole. My then-boyfriend didn't seem to have any interest in me or the baby. I couldn't sleep at night. But, I'd sleep all day. No one said anything to me. I had never even considered postpartum depression, and no one around me brought it up.
It got to the point where all I could think about was committing suicide. The only thing that kept me from going through with it was the thought that, if I killed myself and my son woke up, there would be no one to answer his cries. Maybe for hours.
I drank. I went out with my friends to a bar (yes, were were under age, but no one carded us.)
I met a guy. We started chatting online. My then-boyfriend found out, and I left.
I just left. And moved in with this guy I'd met a week before. I left my baby with his dad. His dad handed our son over to his parents, because he had no idea how to take care of a baby.
I lived in a motel for a while. I started drinking the moment I woke up. I missed my baby. I felt like I had screwed everything up forever, so there was no point in trying to go back. My depression was getting worse. My parents didn't want to talk to me. Still no one mentioned postpartum depression.
The guy I lived with was at work, and I drove down to the river. I started writing my suicide note. I was trying to decide whether I should slit my wrists, or overdose on pills. And then, I realized I needed help. I left the guy. I walked to my parents' house. I went to a place called the Family Emergency Treatment Center, and they diagnosed me with postpartum depression. I got to talk to a counselor and I was given antidepressants. I was starting to recover.
I have no idea how long I was gone. Was it a month? Two months? Three? I honestly don't know.
My son was still living with his dad's parents, until one day, he got a high fever and was hospitalized. I got to the hospital as soon as I'd heard, and I stayed there with him the entire time he was there. When he was discharged, he came home with me. That's when my son started splitting his time between my parents' house and his other grandparents' house.
My son still doesn't have a real relationship with his dad. But, I now have a good relationship with my son's dad's parents, and they are very helpful and supportive. They even love my new daughter, and they like my husband.
Moral of the story: Postpartum depression is very hard to see when you're in it. That's why I urge all women to tell their families and friends what to look for, especially if they are high risk for PPD. You bet I wrote out a checklist for my husband, WELL before our daughter was due. And he still asks me how I'm feeling.
I'm sorry this is incredibly long. I just don't want this to happen to anyone else. Get help before something like this happens!