My husband and I recently decided we wanted to try for another child. We have three kids at home, and after evaluating whether or not we could handle a fourth, we decided 2021 would be the year.
I’ll be honest . . . I’m terrified. I had postpartum depression after our third, and I’m scared it will come roaring back.
My beautiful son was born in September 2018, and I remember feeling fine afterward (other than sleep-deprived) for the most part. It wasn’t until around the holidays that I remember noticing I largely didn’t care about anything anymore, and that I was angry or irritated at the drop of a hat.
I wanted to feel like myself again, so I reached out for help.
I had every access to support. I asked my midwife for advice, shared my struggles with my husband and mom, and began therapy once a week.
I still struggled.
My midwife prescribed Zoloft and over the next few weeks, I started to feel worse. I hit a breaking point around this same time two years ago. On Valentine’s Day that year, my husband sat me down and told me he was having a hard time managing while I was mentally dialed out of everything.
“I just don’t have that much to give right now,” he said on a holiday when we were supposed to be celebrating our love for each other. I went to bed feeling so low as a human being that I thought maybe I just go to sleep and never wake up, and perhaps that would be better for us all.
That thought scared me, and it wasn’t reflective of my true self.
The next day, I went to my midwife’s office again, and she immediately switched my medicine to Prozac. I took it that night, and the very next day I felt different. A light had switched on and my mind opened itself to sunshine once again.
I don’t believe medication solves everything, but it sure made a difference, for which I’m so grateful.
It gave me back the joy to celebrate my baby boy, and life, and laughter again with my other two kids, who had not had their normal mom in quite some time. It eased my husband’s stress and gave us back our life as a couple.
After a year on Prozac, I went off it and celebrated returning to my normal self. I know it’s there again if I need it.
But most of all, I’m scared I will unwillingly return to that time where I felt lost in a dense, dark fog, unable to climb out. Like before, I won’t see this adversary coming. However, the difference this time is I know how to recognize it earlier and the steps to take.
And of all the changes that hopefully come from COVID-19, I hope we do more to emphasize mental health.
The stats around depression, anxiety, and suicides during this pandemic are staggering. We’ve got to make every effort to recognize problems, provide resources, and give those we don’t know the grace they might desperately need.
I’ve been there in the darkness. And we ALL deserve help getting back to the sunshine.