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Kathryn On Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, and Domestic Abuse

kathryn with kids- 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.

***Trigger Warning: Domestic Abuse

My postpartum depression and anxiety started about a month after my son was born. I had a planned C-section and while they had me open, I asked the doctor to go ahead and tie my tubes as I knew I didn’t want any more children.

I started having this overwhelming fear that something was going to happen to my baby. I was up at night checking on him constantly—monitoring every breath he took and every sound he made. Also, around that time, things started to change between my partner and I. It was little things at first like, “Don’t you think you should brush your hair?” “Are you going to wear that outfit?” I thought at first, oh he cares about me. He doesn’t want me to look like a hot mess going out in public.

Then, things shifted more. He started telling me where I could or couldn’t go. He would ask me how much I spent on certain things for the kids. He would constantly tell me that I needed to get a “real job”. I was working part time for a major airline in their reservation center at night. Was I bringing in a lot of money? No. But it was a job and it allowed me to stay home with my kids during the day. I was doing the duties of a stay at home mom and working part time. 

When my son was about six-months old, I started having really horrible dizzy spells. It was so bad that I could barely take care of the kids. I hid it from my partner because he would have said I was making it up or I was just trying to get out of my responsibilities as a mother. It got to the point where I fell down the in shower that I finally spoke up and told him that I needed to go to the doctor.

The doctor couldn’t find anything with me. They told me to go to the eye doctor and get my eyes checked. When I told my partner this, he starting yelling at me saying how he gave up his day to take me to the doctor for nothing. At this point, I was deep into my depression and anxiety. I just sat there staring at this man thinking, what was wrong with me.

The verbal and emotional abuse got worse as my depression and anxiety got worse. I knew I needed to start taking Prozac, as I had been diagnosed with PPD and PPA with our first baby too. But he told me that if I started taking my meds again, he would take the kids away from me, as I was an unfit mother. He used my mental health as a weapon against me and I believed him.

Fast forward to November. That’s when he physically abused me. He slapped me so hard on my face that my glasses flew off, while the kids watched him. He tried to explain it away to the kids as it was my fault. The weeks following, he made comments like he could just strangle me, or he would kill me and make it look like an accident. I was living in fear, not knowing if today was the day that my partner would kill me or not.

I left him in March. It’s been a rough road, but we are safe. I went back on my Prozac. Some days are good days and some days are hard, but I am thankful that I made it out alive.