I wasn’t prepared for postpartum anxiety or depression—but I made it through

Asking for help shows such strength and bravery. Asking for help is the perfect example to set for your child.

I wasn’t prepared for postpartum anxiety or depression—but I made it through

I'm three months postpartum and I finally feel like myself again.

Looking back at the beginning of all this, I didn’t even recognize myself back then. I had my first baby in June. He's beautiful. He is literally everything I have prayed for. If you know me personally, you would know that I'm easygoing, calm and an all-around level headed person. While pregnant, I had never been happier—so mentally clear, so proud, and so so excited!

I did everything other excited first time moms do.

I went to all the classes, decorated the nursery, bought the best and safest things. I even got pamphlets on postpartum anxiety and depression and threw them away. I remember one time my husband said, "You won't need this will you?" referring to a postpartum pamphlet and I confidently said “No.” There was just no way.

Ive never suffered from anxiety before.

I’ve never dealt with depression.

I'm very much a realist.

And I'm happy. I’m a really happy person.

So, I wouldn’t have to deal with any postpartum emotional issues—I was sure of it.
But, boy was I wrong. Postpartum anxiety and depression can happen to anyone. They don’t discriminate. These are hormonal issues and had nothing to do with my personality prior to pregnancy.

I know this, and I believe this—because it affected me in a real, deep way.

For me, my crippling anxiety started one week after delivery, but looking back with clearer eyes, it actually had been building up all week.

That week was incredibly stressful.

Labor was intense (my son was 10lbs), I lost a lot of blood, and because of the medication I was on to stop the bleeding—I didn't get to hold my baby the first few hours after delivery. He then had to be taken to NICU for his glucose levels which meant they had to feed him two ounces every two hours.

Once we were home, I had a really difficult time breastfeeding because my milk wasn't coming in, but because my son had gone to the NICU and was getting two ounces every two hours there, he needed more milk than I could give him. I was pumping non-stop. I was so emotional and under a lot of stress.

The Friday night after I gave birth, my husband suggested I take a break from trying to breastfeed.

I remember sobbing because it was such a relief to hear him say that. It was a complete weight lifted from my shoulders.

Then the following morning, I had to be rushed to the ER. I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy—a disease of the heart that affected my breathing and presented unusual swelling and excessive weight gain in the last month of pregnancy. I had fluid around my lungs as a result of acute heart failure. My symptoms were missed because not only is this condition rare, but also because a lot of the symptoms appear to be those of a typical pregnancy. The stress of having a newborn paired with this diagnosis brought on a panic attack.

The constant panic lasted a few days. I couldn't eat, I couldn't be around my baby. Everything was overwhelming—the thought of leaving to talk to someone, the thought of calling someone.

I knew I needed help, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do.

My husband drove me to my general doctor because they could get me in right away. I was shocked that my OBGYN wasn’t available. I strongly believe that medical professionals needed to reach out to me to check in on my mental state versus the other way around. When you leave the hospital, everything seems to be about the baby and the mother is sort of forgotten―but it shouldn't be this way. So I took charge and got help.

My doctor prescribed me medication to try. My therapist told me to do things with my hands in order to keep my brain busy. She suggested I stare at him and fall in love. It took almost two full months before I could honestly say I loved my son.

I cared for him and was the best mom I could be, yes, but everything felt like an overwhelming task I needed to complete. It wasn’t things I enjoyed doing. I never felt that immediate bond with my son and I think it's important to know that that's okay.

I didn’t realize this then, but I know it now. Postpartum anxiety and depression is real.

It is all-consuming. I don’t know how I would have gotten through this dark time without the support of my husband and family. BUT—even with the best support system it's not something you can get through without professional help. Asking for help is never weak.

Asking for help shows such strength and bravery.

Asking for help is the perfect example to set for your child.

You’ve got this, mama. You will feel like yourself again.

We're so glad to live in a time when modern baby gear exists. Sure, no one is going to argue that having a baby is easy—but it can be easier with support from some gadgets designed to help your baby and put your mind at ease.

As you build your baby registry, look for products that go the extra mile to make your life a whole lot easier. For example, what's better than a bassinet? A bassinet that can rock by itself. And what's better than a traditional baby monitor? One that allows you to actually take a peek at your baby. Believe us when we say these upgrades can make all the difference.

Here are 10 baby gadgets that will make your life so much easier… relatively speaking, of course!

A bassinet to promote safe + sound sleep

HALO Innovations Bassinest Swivel Sleeper Essenta Series Nautical Net

The safest place for your newborn to sleep is in your room, but not in your bed. Thanks to the swivel function of the Halo Bassinest, you can easily tend to your baby during the night—which means more sleep for you, too. Trust us when we say that is the best gift you can give a new parent.


A smart swing for your baby

4moms mamaRoo 4 Bluetooth Enabled High-Tech Baby Swing - Classic

Believe it or not, many babies are born with strong opinions about how they want to be rocked, swung or shushed to calm down. With the mamaRoo's various motions and reclining positions, you'll be able to find a setting your baby loves when you need to free up your hands for a bit.


A complete travel system for car + sidewalk

Chicco Bravo Travel System - Indigo

No matter where the day takes you—or what mode of transportation you need to get there—getting a complete travel system for your baby will equip you for anything.


A swaddle you don’t have to wrestle

Love To Dream Swaddle UP Original

What do babies and Harry Houdini have in common? A knack for breaking out of tight constraints—which can be a headache when swaddling is the best way to help promote good sleep. Thanks to a breakout-proof swaddle that allows your baby to sleep with their hands up, you don't have to work up a sweat just to get your baby comfortably swaddled.


A nursery wherever you need it

Baby Trend Lil Snooze Deluxe II Nursery Center

During the early days of parenting (when you are feeding and changing your baby around the clock), having convenient access to everything you need with a go-anywhere nursery station can save you serious time and energy.


A little help for stuffy noses

Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator

Up until the point years down the road when your child is able to blow their own nose, the sniffles can be a real struggle—but not with a nasal aspirator that makes it easy for you to get that snot out of their nose.


A way to keep an eye on your baby

VTech 5" Digital Video Baby Monitor - VM5251

Trust us when we say you'll sleep better when you know your baby is also sleeping soundly. That's why we're so thankful for modern-day video monitors, which allow you to check in on your sleeping baby without running the risk of waking them up when you sneak in for a peek.


A bassinet for hands-free rocking

Simmons Kids Silent Auto Gliding Elite Bassinet - Odyssey

Babies are soothed by rocking motions. But what does that mean for you if you can't rock them throughout the night? With an auto-gliding bassinet, they can comfortably drift off to sleep... and continue snoozing.


An easy way to contain diaper smells

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

Sometimes it's the little conveniences that make a big difference in the quality of your day-to-day life. That's why a great diaper pail should not be undervalued: By containing the smell, you will save yourself dozens upon dozens of trips to the garbage can.


A white noise machine that pulls double duty

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

A phone-controlled sound machine may be something you never considered until now, but it will be a major lifesaver for years to come, especially as it can also function as a time-to-rise clock that promotes good sleep habits for your child.


And as for securing all these awesome products? Well, a Target baby registry is the way to do it. By creating your baby registry with Target, you will also enjoy their Year of Benefits registry program, which includes perks like a welcome kit with more than $100 in savings and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. The benefits are better than ever right now: Target just launched the Year of Exclusive Deals perk as one of its registry benefits, and this includes a year's worth of discounts on baby essentials (think diapers and formula) and comes complementary when you sign up for Target Circle.

Because while parenting may not be "easy," deciding to register with Target definitely is an easy decision. Start your Target baby registry now and enjoy shopping with a Year of Benefits featuring a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more!

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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