Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Glimpse into Postpartum Depression

I wrote this on December 14, 2013. Sabrina was just under a month old. And I was near rock bottom with my postpartum depression. I tried writing down my feelings to help to deal with them. I hate reading this. It breaks my heart. Postpartum depression is real, and it is scary.  I hope I never feel like this ever again.


My daughter is 25 days old today. This had been the hardest 25 days I could have ever imagined. If I could sum it all up with one word, it would be failure. From the start I have been a failure as her mother. I went into labor 3 weeks early. Fail. I couldn't even keep her inside me for the right amount of time. I was in labor for 13 hours, pushed for over an hour, and she made no progress at all coming down the birth canal. My epidural fell out and I was in terrible pain in my hips. My doctor gave me a 25% chance of delivering vaginally. So I opted for a c section. Fail. My daughter came into the world in the scary, cold, sterile environment of the OR. Instead of being born the way god intended and being put on her mothers bare chest, she was yanked from me "sunny side up" and shown to me as I laid strapped to a table. As they checked her apgar and everything, I couldn't see her. Instead I was being sewn up. When they went to move me to recovery, I got extremely nauseous and vomited all over myself. Fail. Instead of bonding with my daughter, I laid in a dark room shivering with just a nurse and 2 nursing students. My husband couldn't find me so I just laid there, alone, wondering what my daughter looked like, if she was okay. I didn't get to hold her until almost 2 hours after she was born. Was she wondering where I was?  Did she long for my warmth?  Fail. 

Next came breast feeding. The single worst experience of my life.  So badly I wanted it to happen, to come naturally, but it didn't. I was instructed by nurses whose idea of instruction was to grab my daughters head and force her on my nipple, while I writhed in pain. Over and over I was told I wasn't doing it right, that's why it was hurting. My daughters strong arms fought me every step of the way. I hated every second of it, but kept telling myself it would get better. We came home, and it didn't get better. It got worse. I got worse. My postpartum depression was swallowing me whole. I couldn't get any sleep. This little person kept screaming for food and I as her mother was ill equipped to give it to her. Yet another failure. Finally, I went to seek help. The lactation consultant was much better than those in the hospital. She was aghast at the state of my poor breasts. 2 blood blisters and horribly cracked nipples. I had tears in my eyes from the pain, from the exhaustion, from the bitter disappointment in myself. All the while my daughters skin continued to yellow from jaundice. She wasn't getting what she needed from me and it was getting worse. I fought with myself. Was formula so terrible?  I didn't want to give in. I agreed to pump instead of latching her to give myself time to heal. But at 4 am I wasn't producing the supply I was told she needed. The spirit was willing but the flesh was weak. So I gave in and gave my daughter formula. I could hear all of the breast feeding moms let out a sigh of disappointment in me, but nothing was worse than the disappointment I felt in myself. I hated everything. I hated being a mother. I hated this new life of mine. What had I done?  The depression was so all encompassing.   I had longed for a child my whole life, yet now I had one and I couldn't bring myself to enjoy her. What was wrong with me?  I didn't recognize myself in the mirror. Everything I thought about motherhood was a lie. 

I continue to fail. Daily. I have stopped pumping and am strictly formula feeding. Because I couldn't handle it. So now my daughter has to have formula. She is constipated from it, wriggling in pain. Because I couldn't handle it. I have failed her time and time again. I have failed my husband. His older daughter was breast fed and is now top of her class, a dancer, piano player, singer, flute player...  I can't help but equate that to her being nursed as a baby. So now I've failed Sabrina and Chris both. 

I try to do my part around the house during the day when the baby is sleeping. I try to keep up with the dishes and make dinner whenever possible. I try to take care of the dog and let her know she's still important. I try to be understanding with my husband, that he has to work all day and still he comes home and helps out with Sabrina. He lets me sleep a few hours before he goes to bed, later than he wants to I'm sure. I try not to be angry when he wakes me up, when I desperately want to sleep more, because it is not his fault. I try to be everything to everyone but I fail over and over again. 

I want to feel whole again. I love my daughter, but I want to be the person I used to be, just with her in my life now. I don't know if that person is gone or not. I hope not. But I don't want to be a failure anymore. I want to do something right, be the right person for everyone's needs. I want to be me. 


  1. This made me want to cry for you when I read it. I'm glad you were able to get through this obviously painful period and see things clearly from the other side. Also, props for putting yourself out there and being honest. I'm sure almost everyone has felt like a failure at some point in their lives, either from PPD or something else and hopefully your honesty will help them see through it and that they are NOT alone.

  2. This is a very heartfelt story and I applaud you for putting it out there for the public to see. Depression is very serious whether it be postpartum or any other type of depression and you should be very proud that you recognized it and were able to get through it. Sabrina is a beautiful child and you are a wonderful mom. I have tears in my eyes as I type this as it brings back many painful memories for me as well. I hope other mothers out there have read this and will find comfort in your words. There will be many other bumps in the road as your child grows, but you are a strong woman and will be able to handle whatever comes your way. You are not a failure as you triumphed over PPD! Thank you for sharing!
    Kathy Alvarez