Sammantha on being in denial of her postpartum depression

mom in denial of 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.

I was quiet about my postpartum depression for a long time after I had my son. And nearly just as long, I was also in denial. The moment it hit me that this was my reality was the moment I realized I just wanted to leave my life and my miracle baby, and never look back. My husband and I were engaged in May 2015, and in June we found out I was pregnant. We moved our wedding to that August, and right after we were married, I was on a plane moving with him to another country that same week we said “I Do.”

My son was born January 22, 2016, and it was the happiest time of my life… for about a whole two hours. As I stated previously, I had moved to be with my husband after our wedding. I’m American. He’s Canadian. So there I was, just myself, new baby, husband, and all his family. I never thought I would need my mom so much during this time.

As soon as my mother-in-law came to the hospital, she immediately went into some weird baby obsession. This wasn’t a normal new grandma-first grandbaby thing—it was far beyond anything like that. I tried to brush it off as she was just excited, but at the time my husband and I had to live with her, and once we got home, things were a million times worse.

Not only did I have the flood of hormones raging through my body that we all experience after giving birth, but I didn’t have my mom. Instead, I had someone who was constantly invading my personal space, and not letting me experience anything of being a new mother for myself. My son would cry in the middle of the night and this woman would come from the other side of the house and take my child from me and say, “You’re not doing it right.”

She would just come and take him out of my arms (or even anyone else that was holding him’s arms) at all times and call him “her baby.” It even got to the point where she would argue with me that in her culture, grandchildren call the grandmother “Momma,” not “Abuela” (Spanish for grandma) and that’s what she would want my son to refer to her as.

It was the darkest and most miserable time of my life to say the least. I would daydream about running away and leaving my husband and son and never looking back. Anything to escape the prison of emotional hell I was suffering in. That being said, I am by no means saying I was only the victim in this situation. I could only take so much and I eventually snapped at her and told her that although he is her grandchild, he is my son and she was to stay away from us unless I told her otherwise.

I wasn’t very nice about it. I will own up to it. Thankfully, we were able to get a place of our own by the time my son was six months old, but sadly it was too late and I was too far into my depression. My marriage was strained, as my husband felt like he had to choose between his mother and me (I never gave him that ultimatum; I’m not an evil person, I swear). I felt like I wasn’t the mother my son deserved because that’s constantly how I was made to feel in our previous situation.

A few months had passed since we moved into our own home, and while I wasn’t crying 24/7, I still felt really angry all the time. When my son was 11 months old, I finally admitted that I needed to talk to someone, and went to see my family doctor. I was prescribed medication to help control my anxiety, and I began talking to god again, and started to dig myself out of my depression.

This is something that I continue to work on daily. I remind myself of my worth. I remind myself that god gave me this child because I am the BEST mother for HIM. No matter what your postpartum depression experience is like, you’re not alone, as lonely as it feels sometimes. There is light at the end of the darkness, and you are worthy. This too shall pass.