Rainbows and butterflies. I guess that’s what I assumed being a new mom would look like for me. I slowly found out that wasn’t the truth.
My wife and I did reciprocal IVF–her egg & my belly!
My pregnancy was pretty textbook and I loved each and every waking moment of sharing my body with my son. When the day finally arrived at 41 weeks pregnant, I was in labor for two days, pushed for two hours, had severe hemorrhaging, and then a C-section. I was one of those first-time moms that was so hung up on the birth plan. To be quite honest with you, I didn’t think at all about my postpartum plan.
Our sweet baby boy entered the world at a whopping 10 pounds, 12 ounces of complete perfection. I was so exhausted from being in labor for so long and from trying to push for those two hours that by the time my son was here, I had no energy to even hold him. I begged my wife to stop talking to me in the recovery room so I could get some sleep. I knew right away something was wrong but I couldn’t figure out what.
I kept begging the nurse to tell me that I was OK. I kept saying over and over again, “I don’t feel alive. Am I alive?” The nurse kept asking me if I knew that I was repeating that over and over again. I didn’t care though. I didn’t feel like I was in my body. I was so detached from reality and the world around me. That’s when it started.
That’s when my whole entire world was turned upside down and I was left in the darkness. I told my midwife before they discharged me from the hospital that I was terrified to go home. I ended up needing three iron transfusions because of the hemorrhaging. I told my midwife that something was wrong with me. I didn’t know what, but something wasn’t right. She told me that once I got home, I would feel better and my life would feel normal once again.
I wish that was the truth, but it wasn’t. I got home and everything felt so unfamiliar to me. My house. My body. My family. It’s like I was wearing a pair of sunglasses that I couldn’t get off of my face—like they were glued to my head and I had no way of getting them off. My world was so dark and I begged everyone around me to tell me that I wasn’t dying, because it felt like I was.
I kept asking myself, “How can I have exactly what I have always wanted and feel this way?” The most amazing wife. A beautiful, happy, healthy baby. Why am I so unhappy? Why is this the hardest time of my whole entire life when this was supposed to be the best time of my entire life? Those were the thoughts that kept replaying in my head.
At first I couldn’t make sense of what was going on and my postpartum depression presented itself in very physical ways. The fog for me was always visual. I felt like I was living in a snow globe and watching the world from inside, with no escape. I was constantly dizzy and feeling like I was on the verge of passing out all the time. I had this feeling of heartbreak and I couldn’t understand why. I would look at my hands and felt like I couldn’t even recognize them. It was as if they were a foreign part of my body that I had never seen in my whole entire life.
I knew I needed help and I was so desperate to get it. I was screaming for help. I couldn’t live in the pain of postpartum depression and anxiety anymore. My son was five days old and I had to leave my baby for the first time and go to the hospital because I knew I needed help right then and there.
They prescribed me an antidepressant and told me that there wasn’t really anything they could do to help me. I just had to give it time. I begged them to send me somewhere. I didn’t care how far away it was. I needed to get better, for me and my family. I lost joy in absolutely everything that I once loved. I started to avoid looking in the mirror, not because I was insecure of how I looked, but because I felt like I was looking at a complete stranger.
I am now six months postpartum and I’m still climbing my way out. I want to share my story because if I wasn’t my own advocate and if I didn’t persistently beg for the help that I needed, I wouldn’t have gotten it. Why is it that new moms should have to beg to be heard?
If you are not getting the right support that you need from a doctor, therapist, or any other health professional, you need to do what is best for you. It took me a long time to find the proper care that I needed.
Over the last four months, I have given this battle all that I’ve got. I’ve been healing in many different ways, but what has helped me the most has been therapy, medication, acupuncture, mom support groups, and the support of my family.
There were days that I thought about giving up. There were days that I thought it would never get better. Now each and every day I feel like my world gets a little bit brighter. That gives me hope. Hope that I can be the mom I’ve always dreamed of being. Slowly but surely, my love for life is coming back, I’m recognizing myself in the mirror again, and I’m doing everything in my power to make sure I get back to feeling like myself again, except this time I am going to be stronger than I have ever been before.