I had just finished eating a snack. It was late, and time for us to go to sleep like usual. I changed into my pajamas, threw my hair up into a bun, and climbed into bed with my husband, Cody. It was a typical night.
Only it wasn’t.
You see, there was one thing that was distinctively different in comparing this night to all the other nights. On this night, we had a newborn in our bed. He was only about a week old, and he had turned our world upside down and inside out. I loved every moment with him, except when I didn’t.
He was our first child, and I had no idea what I was doing most of the time. This was made all the clearer that night when he started crying. I couldn’t get him to stop no matter how hard I tried. Within a few minutes, I was crying as well. And I couldn’t stop.
Every emotion I had been holding back up until that point hit me like a tidal wave. I was begging him to stop, just please stop for a moment. But he didn’t, and neither did I. I honestly don’t know how long we cried.
Then he was gone, because Cody had taken him out of my arms. He made me leave the room, and told me not to come back until I calmed myself down. I continued crying for nearly an hour, sitting on the living room couch in my nightgown. I felt like such a failure as a mother.
When my son was born, it was the result of an emergency C-section. He inhaled amniotic fluid while I was in labor and as a result had to spend a week in the hospital. To this day I still feel like it’s my fault he was sick, even though I know logically that it isn’t. After the trauma of his birth, I don’t think the guilt will ever truly go away.
Once I calmed down, I rejoined my family. Cody asked me if I was okay, and I told him that I honestly didn’t know. I begged him not to take the baby away from me, and he promised me he would never do that to me.
Having PPD is the worst thing ever. It makes all my fears and perceived failures ten times bigger than they should be. Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed that I hide in the shower with the water as hot as I can stand it until I feel like myself again.
It’s a one-day-at-a-time thing. Some days are harder than others. Most days I have to take a step back and separate myself from what is upsetting me, even if it means putting the baby in his bouncer for a few minutes while I paint my nails or put on makeup, or just do something that makes me feel normal. Sometimes all it takes for me to calm down are a few deep breaths.
I am very blessed to have the support system that I have. Help is just a phone call away when it becomes too much for me to handle. Slowly but surely, I’ve been having fewer episodes as time goes on and I adjust to my role as a new mom. I can’t wait for the day I have none.