Just after I gave birth to Secondus I thought things were going to be different. I did not have the birth I wanted, but I was given all the support, love, and encouragement I did not have during my first birth. The day I birthed Secondus was sunny and beautiful. After everyone had a rest it was all cuddles and happiness. Unlike Eldest’s birth the anxiety and depression did not sink in until the day/night before I was to leave the hospital. I chalked it up to nervousness about being at home with two little ones. Two under two is what I had at this time. That would be a little anxiety inducing for almost anyone.
A few days after being home I realized that I was sinking once again into depression. I went to a few therapy appointments where I was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression (PPD) and Post Partum OCD (PP OCD). Due to the expense of therapy, and the fact that I had to leave my newborn for an hour or more, I terminated the therapy sessions. Not the wisest idea, I will admit, but I was not going to leave Secondus. We had a house guest come and visit. The timing was not the best, but it did show us the true colors of this person. Needless to say the house guest was asked to leave early and we have terminated contact.
I had up and down success with breast feeding. In the beginning, when my anxiety and stress were the highest, I had more down. At the 5 week mark my milk had dried up. This was confirmed by the lactation consultants (LC) that ran my support group. However, I continued to go to the meetings, and found small ways to manage the stress and anxiety I was under. I was able to relactate, and exclusively breast feeding (EBF) from the time Secondus was about 7 weeks old until Secondus was about 6 months. It was great success to a mother who was unable to breast feed the first go around.
During this time I began taking an anti-depressant that was breast feeding safe. It seemed to work decently and then something weird happened. I began to hear voices coming from our downstairs. Now, our downstairs is not a typical basement. It is a family room with an attached laundry that leads to a garage. I loved it down there just a few days before this happened. And then I didn’t. The voices were telling me I was a horrible person. I was a bad mother. That my family would be better off without me. And that they were going to eat me. Then, one night I thought I heard a loud noise coming from the downstairs, and thought I saw a shadow coming up the stairs. It scared me to death because I was sure it was the people in the basement coming to make good on their threats. I did not sleep for the rest of the night, and I went off the anti-depressant the next day.
My doctor, worried with how quickly I ended that pill put me on Zolft. This pill was just as bad. I felt manic on it. One minute everything was rainbows and light, and the next minute the sky was falling. I would get into depressive funks so bad I could not feel. I was numb. One day it got so bad that to feel anything would be better than to feel nothing. I do not even remember doing most of it, but somehow I took a samll kitchen knife and cut myself over 20 times before I was able to stop (I counted the cuts). That woke me up figuratively and literally. I called my doctor, told him my plan, and then got on the phone to my midwife. She recommended several herbs and teas, which worked very well for me. I am a believer in medication for treating depression and other mood disorders; but the medications that I tried did not work for me.
The herbs, on the other hand, while not very strong, were extremely helpful for me. They would quiet my mind and calm me down just enough that I could reason through my issue for myself. I used the weakest tea almost daily for several months. Then, just like with Eldest, the sun came out at about 8 months post partum. It had been a long, hard road. Hubby and I had battled it together. Unfortunately, I went as far as I could go by myself. Like I was on a straight forest path and had run into a glass wall- I could see the other side, but could not get there myself. We decided that maybe, just maybe, we should give therapy a second shot…