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Kali on paying it forward after surviving postpartum depression

selfie of a mom holding a newborn baby - essay on surviving 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.

My name is Kali. My baby, Sloane, is almost four months old and I’m attempting to recover from postpartum depression and anxiety.

I had a relatively easy pregnancy and a “by the book” planned C-section. In the hospital I felt great in terms of my mental and emotional state. I guess I was running on adrenaline and the newness of this experience. Physically, I healed quickly and was up and moving around right away. But while my body was adjusting well to the fourth trimester, my mind was self-destructing.

A few days after we got home from the hospital, my world was turned upside down.

I became very quiet. I was filled with all-consuming thoughts of hopelessness. I couldn’t eat. I felt detached from conversations. I feigned laughter.

I couldn’t stand to be alone with my baby for even a short amount of time. My crippling anxiety stopped me from being able to take Sloane for a walk or ride in a car with her.

My depression consumed me with fears, regrets and doubts. I missed my freedom. I hated being relied upon every minute of every day. I felt trapped and suffocated. I desperately wanted my old life back.

I remember saying, “I don’t want to die, but I want to run away and never come back.”

In a million years I never thought I would be browsing Instagram mom accounts and googling “postpartum depression symptoms” trying to make sense of the foreign thoughts invading my mind. Trying to find some explanation for these unexpected and overwhelming feelings of panic and fear.

Related: Spotting postpartum depression can be difficult. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help

Wasn’t this supposed to be the happiest time of our lives? Instead I was terrified I was going crazy and was convinced I would lose my husband.

I reached out for help in a desperate attempt to save my sanity. Through medication, therapy, and support from friends and family, I’m finally coming out of the darkness.

During many sleepless nights, I would lie awake, distracted by the words swirling around in my head. I finally stopped ignoring them and started to write. I shared my “nightly musings” with close friends and with their encouragement, decided to publicly share my story and these therapeutic writings.

Related: Therapy made me a better mom—and wife

I started Mom Fight Club because my progress is in large part due to other women willing to open up about postpartum mood disorders. This is my attempt to pay it forward. To join the cause. I want to support women struggling with being new moms while battling their own minds.

I’ll leave you with a quick snapshot of my nightly musings:

This anxiety seems to always be one step ahead of my mind. Like a constant psychological arms race. As soon as I find a promising coping technique, my PPA morphs into a new demon with a unique way of wreaking havoc on my mental state.

Even if you are equipped with a fully capable and willing army, this is not traditional warfare. The enemy is invisible and unexpected. The ammunition difficult to find and slow to defend.

Please feel free to reach out to me and join the club!

This anxiety seems to always be one step ahead of my mind. Like a constant psychological arms race. As soon as I find a promising coping technique, my PPA morphs into a new demon with a unique way of wreaking havoc on my mental state.

Even if you are equipped with a fully capable and willing army, this is not traditional warfare. The enemy is invisible and unexpected. The ammunition difficult to find and slow to defend.

Please feel free to reach out to me and join the club! We’re all in this together!

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