Monday, March 23, 2015

My battle with postpartum depression

I wrote this post a few weeks ago, and since then, have thought a lot about whether I should hit "publish" and share it with the world.  I'm still not sure it's a good idea - probably too much too soon - but I want to be real.

It hasn't been all smiles and giggles over here the last 3 months.  My baby is amazing.  My husband is amazing.  Our family and friends have been so loving and helpful.  But it's been hard.  Here's a quick view of what's happened in the last 3 months.

 - After 36 hours of labor, I had a c-section
 - I got mastitis
 - Everyone in my house (except Owen and me) got norovirus on Christmas day
 - Migraines overcame my life
 - Nursing was so impossible I had to stop
 - My incision popped open and husband had to clean and pack it until it finally closed
 - I got food poisoning and had to be in the hospital for 2 days
 - We got more than 108 inches of snow and were stuck in our house

If that wasn't enough (trust was more than enough), I also have postpartum depression.  There...I said it.  I have postpartum depression.

This is one of those "pregnancy things" no one talks about, which I think actually think makes it scarier.  Everyone talks about stretch marks, how hard it is to lose baby weight, and not sleeping...but when it comes to a lot of the big and scary things after the baby is born...crickets.

I've always been someone who thrives and REQUIRES a lot of social interaction.  I'm at my best when there are 100 things going on and love the fast pace of my job.  I love being busy and caring for others.  Postpartum depression turned all of that upside down in just a few weeks.

Stimulation was (and is) my nightmare.  If the TV was on, someone was talking to me, and another was on the phone, I felt like I would jump out of my skin.  Public places or large groups of people were completely out of the question.  I needed breaks from my baby, who I just wanted to hold.  Anything stressful gave me nightmares.  For no reason at all I'll become completely overwhelmed and anxious.  It's nothing like I've ever experienced before, and it sucks.  I was (am) a wreck.

Thankfully I have a support system (family, friends, coworkers, physicians) who have helped care for Travis, Owen and me.  I've also gotten help from amazing doctors who, in addition to helping me work through this, fought for me to get an extension on my short term disability.  Now I have a few more weeks before resuming normal life.  My medicine is helping, and I'm learning techniques to help me keep calm in situations that I know will trigger anxiety.  I've realized that this is not about circumstances or's about hormones.

I hope you don't feel lied to from my posts.  I AM happy.  I have the most amazing little family and know how blessed I am for that.  This has been one of the best and worst times of my life, which is why it's been so hard.

I'm certainly not well, but am so much better than I was...and eventually I'll be back to normal.

If you're experiencing postpartum depression, I encourage you to reach out to a friend, family member, your OB, or a stranger...whoever you can talk to...because it WILL get better.


  1. Hey, Lauren! We've never met in person, but I'm a friend of Travis's, and I've been following baby Owen's arrival into the world with joy for all three of you. I just want to thank you for writing this post, and to tell you that you're so brave to do it, and I'm thinking of you and wishing you all the best.

    I have an 18-month-old, and my delivery and first trimester postpartum were relatively smooth, comparatively, but I still remember that sense of cognitive dissonance, trying to wrap my head around how extreme the ups and downs of parenthood could be. I'd get weepy with exhaustion at the drop of a hat, but then my baby would smile and I'd be filled with wonder. We'd be ridiculously proud of ourselves for making our first grocery run with the baby, but I'd struggle to be okay with the fact that this was currently our big triumph. I was delighted with how delighted family and friends were with the baby, but I'd just come off a month of pre-birth bedrest, followed by a long labor, and still felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I really wanted someone to say, "Hey, it looks like you've been hit by a truck. Can I take care of you?" and it was kind of lonely. And moreover, I felt ashamed for going through ups and downs, as though there were a way to go through those early months that I wasn't doing "right".

    I don't mean all this to say that I understand what it's like to go through PPD, but more to say that you guys have been through a series of things that I would've found overwhelming, and I'm amazed by you both and think it's awesome that you're talking through all of it, especially the PPD. It sounds like you have a great, healthy approach to your care, and I'm hoping for a smooth, speedy recovery for you!

  2. I'm so glad you hit "publish". Love you, and am always here for you. You and Travis are one of the best, most wonderful outcomes of me deciding to move to MA.

  3. So glad you have such a great support system and that you are doing what you need to feel better. Asking for help is hard but so important. Hopefully you'll be feeling like your old self again soon. I think you are brave to share and I'm sure it will help others!!!!

  4. Lauren, I am thankful that you have shared this. someone somewhere will be helped through a difficult time by your honesty. You are very brave to be open and I love you for that. I will hold you and your beautiful family in my heart and pray for you. Faye Downs

  5. Thanks for sharing about your journey! I'm a new mom myself (my precious girl is almost 6 months old) and motherhood is hard! I love my baby so much, but I've also had times when I've felt overwhelmed with her (and all that comes with motherhood...recovery from the birth, lack of sleep, etc.).
    I'll pray for you as you continue to recover and adjust!

  6. Great post! Postpartum depression is a lot more common than people think and it is nothing to be ashamed of.