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Brittney on getting help and support for prenatal and postpartum depression

selfie of a crying woman - essay on prenatal and postpartum depression

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

This is the face of depression.
This is the face of anxiety.
This is the face of paranoia.
This is the face defeat. 
This is the face of rock bottom. 

My oldest son captured this picture on February 10, 2020, 6 days after the birth of my second son. I almost deleted this picture. I hated it. Now I am so thankful that Canaan captured this moment. 

I had had trouble with depression and anxiety my whole pregnancy, but it wasn’t until around 35 weeks or so that a switch flipped. I went spiraling down into a deep depression. It was so scary. There was a lot of crying, a lot of waking up in the middle of the night with panic attacks, a lot of 2am conversations with my husband. 

Related: Prenatal depression is a thing—a very real, important thing

I completely stopped answering phone calls or messages from friends and family. I deactivated my Facebook for over a month. I just couldn’t handle it. I was barely able to take care of my son during the day let alone myself.

I am so thankful for my husband and my parents. My parents took off days from work to help. I barely ate. I didn’t want to eat. I lost 10lbs. My husband and parents made sure I ate. It was kind of like trying to get a toddler to eat. It was scary! Most of all my faith was wavering. I was struggling so hard to understand why this was happening. But God always has a plan. 

Prenatal depression is real. Postpartum depression is real. And unfortunately, it’s not talked about a lot. I’m so thankful everyday that I took the step and talked to my doctor. I got the help that I needed. I had a huge support system (husband, parents, sisters, friends, church family) and through it all, I was constantly reminded that God was with me.

Related: When I tell you I have postpartum depression, here’s what I want you to know

Almost 8 months later, I am finally myself. Actually, I am a better version of myself. I am on a journey that I have been on before, but have always failed at and fallen off the bandwagon. This time around is so different. I am on this journey for my mental health, to keep myself from hitting rock bottom again.

I am so excited to see where my journey will take me. Will it be hard? Of course. But I am learning to give myself grace. Remember that you are not alone in whatever battle you are facing.

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