Meet the *new* Motherly – your free all-access pass to motherhood. Register now!

Karen On Postpartum Depression Miscarriage Guilt

karen and son- postpartum depression suicidal thoughts

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 first pregnancy ended in miscarriage at ten weeks. I felt broken for a long time after that. I didn’t know how to grieve a baby that I never got to hold. 

My first son was born a year later. He didn’t sleep more than an hour at a time for his first six months of life. I felt crazy. I couldn’t stop crying, and the guilt was suffocating. How dare I feel so awful after I lost my first baby? I had what I wanted now. I wasn’t allowed to be depressed. I kept quiet, and eventually my hormones regulated and the depression started to melt away around eight or nine months postpartum.

My second son was born nearly three years after that. He was a much better sleeper, but the depression still hit, hard and fast. My depressive thoughts told me constantly that I couldn’t do it, any of it. I’d have moments where I’d lie awake at night with tears streaming down my face. It felt like the thoughts were holding me captive.

Then they turned into suicidal thoughts. I’d imagine driving off a cliff, taking a bunch of pills or putting a razor blade to my wrist. One night after my baby and toddler had finally gone to sleep, I sat outside their bedrooms, sobbing. The suicidal thoughts crept back in and they calmed me. 

That scared me senseless. I forced myself to get up off the floor. My whole body shook as I walked into the kitchen, and it took all the courage I possessed to tell my husband what had just happened in my head. He held me while I cried and then helped me make a plan to get better.