Jess on having postpartum depression and feeling isolated and alone during Covid-19

picture of a baby with a pacifier - essay on feeling isolated during Covid-19

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.

I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 in 2015. When I found out I was pregnant in November of last year, my husband had just filed for divorce due to the roller coaster of my mental illness. He decided to stay after finding out about the baby.

I developed prenatal depression pretty quickly and started resenting the baby and my husband. I began working from home on March when Covid-19 was starting to become prevalent in my state. I was completely isolated and alone with my husband working nights and sleeping during the day. Most of my socialization and support came from my coworkers in the office. 

I brought myself to the emergency room in April after feeling actively suicidal. I had taken a lot of anxiety medication and the ER had to monitor the baby for hours before involuntarily admitting me into an inpatient mental health hospital.

Related: Prenatal depression is the most under-diagnosed pregnancy complication in the U.S.

I was hospitalized for two days and released early due to Covid. Because I was pregnant, I had to stay in my room the entire time, including when I ate meals. All of the group therapy and most of the doctors’ sessions were canceled so they decided it wasn’t therapeutic or helpful for me to be there.

Things started to stabilize after I was put on pregnancy-safe sleeping medication. Most of my OB appointments were via video conference so my vitals weren’t checked. When I went into the hospital for my 36 week appointment, I had developed pre-eclampsia and they decided to induce me that day. 

Labor went quickly (12 hours), but was very miserable with the high dose of pitocin I was given. Delivery went smooth and my baby was healthy and stable even though he was four weeks early. 

Related: Preparing for your birth? Have you heard of Motherly’s birth class?

My husband was only able to take 10 days off of work. I am once again isolated and alone with my son. My family lives across the country and could not travel because of Covid. I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house or having visitors due to the fear of exposing myself or my son to the virus.

I am getting three hours of sleep total each night. I’ve been diagnosed with postpartum depression. This is a lonely, dark time in my life. I dont feel like I’m bonding with my baby and at the same time I am terrified that something will happen to him. Life is hard right now.