de·pres·sion dəˈpreSH(ə)n/ Noun
You feel overwhelmed. You feel like you can’t be a good mother. You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better than you. You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you read about in books, or see everywhere on social media. You can’t understand why you’re having all of these feelings. You feel irritated, and angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, your partner, and even your friends who don’t have babies, especially babies with health issues. You feel empty. You are just getting by day by day. You feel sadness to the depths deep in your soul. You can’t stop crying, even when there’s no real reason to be crying. You think about a baby, you cry. You obsess over your situation, and feel like you’re the only person in the world going through this. You feel hopeless, like your situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defensive. You feel like a failure. You can’t bring yourself to eat, or sometimes the only thing that makes you feel better is eating junk. You can’t sleep when your baby sleeps; nor can you sleep at any other time. Or your annoyed because all you want to do is sleep and you can’t because you have a newborn. You can’t concentrate. You can’t focus. You can’t think of the words you want to say. You can’t remember what you were supposed to do. You can’t make a decision. You feel like you’re in a haze. You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone, especially close friends and family, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world. You might be having thoughts of running away and leaving your family behind. Or you’ve thought of driving off the road, or doing something ridiculous. You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you”. You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
Your thoughts are racing. You can’t quiet your mind. You can’t settle down. You can’t relax. You feel like you have to be doing something at all times. Cleaning bottles. Cleaning baby clothes. Cleaning the house. Doing work. Entertaining the baby. Checking on the baby. You are worried. Really worried. All. The. Time. Am I doing this right? Will my partner come home from work? Will the baby be okay? Is the baby eating enough? Is there something wrong with my baby that I’m missing? No matter what anyone says to reassure you, it doesn’t help. You may be having disturbing thoughts. Thoughts that you’ve never had before. Scary thoughts that make you wonder whether you aren’t the person you thought you were. They fly into your head unwanted and you know they aren’t right, that this isn’t the real you, but they terrify you and they won’t go away. These thoughts may start with the words “What if …” You are afraid to be alone with your baby. You may feel the need to check things constantly. Did I lock the door? Did I lock the car? Did I turn off the oven? Is the baby breathing? You may be having physical symptoms like stomach cramps or headaches, shakiness or nausea; even have panic attacks. You can’t eat. You have no appetite. You’re having trouble sleeping. You are so, so tired, but you can’t sleep. You feel a sense of dread, like something terrible is going to happen. I suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety, and have experienced every one of these symptoms since being pregnant, and giving birth to Mckenna. Every day. And being a heart mom does not make the depression and anxiety any easier to manage.
I became depressed for these reasons:
- Anger! Why my baby? Why our family? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?
- The feeling like I could have done something different; although the doctors told me there was nothing I could have done to change how Mckenna developed in my tummy, that I did nothing wrong, and the moment that we conceived, that was the moment her heart defect happened, for no other reason
Everything I mentioned above are things I experienced!
From my heart to yours,
- d ♥
Picture – Mckenna’s Treasure Beads she received – each bead has a meaning and symbolizes every echocardiogram, EKG, X-ray, poke, procedure, oxygen, travels, stitch, IV, blood transfusion, isolation, and surgery that my girl went through when she was hospitalized in Edmonton. I am taken back to see that the entire string is filled – Mckenna, your courage and strength absolutely blows me away – I am SO blessed to be your mom – you’re my rock!