When I had Avery, her birth, which was not easy at all, and becoming part of our family that had just been Tim and I for so long totally rocked my world. On one hand, I was so immensely in love with this new tiny being and on the other hand I wanted my old life back...the freedom to just go and do whenever I wanted, the freedom to not have to be on beck and call to her, the freedom to have my body be mine again. For me, breastfeeding was a big challenge with Avery. She was not a good eater and I felt like I battled her from the beginning. Not until months after having her did I finally reach out and get help for the depression that had taken over...post partum depression. I think it was partly embarassment, failure, guilt that I couldn't get a handle on my emotions on my own and that I felt that I was a stronger person than the depression and I would be able to beat it on my own.
Post partum depression seems to be such a taboo in our society which I feel is so unfortunate because it affects so many more Moms than you would think. When you are pregnant they have so many classes you can take regarding your delivery, breastfeeding, siblings, etc yet they do not have a class that talks about what really happens after you have the baby and with Avery at least, there were no classes on PPD. They just gave me a handout at the hospital that said if I felt PPD to call the Dr. and they would put me on medicine to help. Once again, feeling stronger than the depression itself it took me much longer to get help than I should have let it go. I wish I could have realized that it was not something I had done but that it was my hormones so out of control from having Avery and trying to get back to normal would be better with help.
That being said, this time around with Ella I was prepared to tackle the PPD head-on if need be and not let it get out of hand because now I had a toddler as well as a newborn to deal with. I was hoping it would not happen to me this time because I was already a Mom and since our lives revolve around Avery already, adding Ella would just be another baby to go with the flow on what we already do day in and day out. But, the statistics are high for PPD to happen again if you had it before. About 7-10 days after Ella was born I was emotionally spent and sad yet I had this great baby and was physically doing fine. I called my Dr to have him put me on medicine because I was determined to not let it get out of hand this time, but I started to have an allergic reaction to the medicine so quickly got off of it. Unfortunately, the only medicines I could take that would work, would interfere with breastfeeding. Ella is a fantastic eater and I did not want to stop breastfeeding because I finally get it with this child. I get why people say it's so easy and pleasant (at least most of the time). I really wanted to keep breastfeeding her so instead of looking at it as a very long-term goal, I started to make myself mini-goals tackling each day one at a time.
My goal for breastfeeding her was October 20 - 6 weeks. Well I am so happy to say that I met that goal yesterday!! And, within the week after having my breakdown with Ella, all the depression went away on its own. Maybe this time I just had a bad case of the "baby blues" or maybe it's recognizing it, talking it out with my family and friends and taking each day one by one that helped me through it. Regardless, I am so happy to have met my goal and happy to continue truly enjoying each day with Ella and Avery. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments - who doesn't but I feel like my old self again and that is a blessing in itself.
I don't know who actually reads this blog and I appreciate it if you do and please keep coming back for more, but if you know anyone that has a baby who has signs of post partum depression please don't turn away from them. Please help your friends and loved ones recognize what is going on with them, be a shoulder for them to lean on, an ear to listen to them. Help them get help if they are not taking the initiative to do so themselves. I know I needed help and my family was there for me both times with the girls and I am forever thankful to them. This is such a serious problem and we need to be more open to recognizing, accepting and helping these women get through it because it is something that these women cannot control on their own. We owe it to them to help them be the best Moms they can to their precious children. I know that I am a better Mom now for recognizing and being able to talk openly about it with my family and friends and I am there for anyone who may need the same help I needed.