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Vera On Having Postpartum Depression Far From Her Home Country

vera with baby- 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 would like to share my story even though I feel a little bit uncomfortable because English is not my first language.

My partner and I have been together for three years now. I left my home country and traveled across the ocean to start a new life with him. We spent a year living in Central America in a sailing community. That was new for me and really exciting. I wouldn’t say we didn’t have difficulties, but I definitely felt free and careless. I traveled around the world quite a bit. And I wanted to keep traveling more.

Later, we moved to the U.S. and I got pregnant right away. It was a shock for us. We definitely were not ready, but decided to become parents. My pregnancy was delightful and easy—I was riding my bike every day, enjoying coffee, working, going to the beach and doing yoga. I was talking to my belly all day long, reading tons of books and taking courses about pregnancy and asking women about their experiences. I was getting ready for a natural birth.

Instead of going into labor, I had to be induced and shortly after, had an emergency C-section. It was so shocking. I remember crying and crying. I couldn’t believe I couldn’t start labor by myself. I was sure that I caused so much harm to my baby boy by inducing and having a surgery that I was just hysterical. All my hopes for the natural birth, doula and husband around, holding my baby—they were all gone. I felt betrayed, desperate and sick.

My baby was absolutely adorable and very healthy. We brought him home and then the nightmare started.

First I thought that breastfeeding would happen naturally. It didn’t. I thought I would sleep with the baby. I didn’t. He would cry all the time and my nipples were cracked and sore. I cried every time he wanted to be fed. We started to watch YouTube to learn how to do it. I struggled with it for a while and I wasn’t sure if my son got enough and I was constantly worried.

One day, I remember I was watching him sleep and then suddenly, I saw he was not breathing normally. I freaked out and called the doctor. I was shaking and so scared. What if something was wrong? We had an appointment right away and the doctor reassured us the baby was fine. But for some reason, I didn’t feel satisfied. I was anxious and I couldn’t breathe instead.

Whenever I had time to relax and close my eyes, I would imagine my son was sick, or something bad happening to him. It was so exhausting.

I remember my husband came home one time and saw me sobbing. He asked what was wrong. I couldn’t clearly answer because I didn’t know what was wrong, but I felt so lost and frustrated all the time. I didn’t want anybody except me taking care of him. I thought they were doing everything wrong.

I thought it would get easier. And here I am, my son is a year old and I’m still not okay.

Yes, I started to see a counselor.
Yes, I hired a nanny for a couple of times a week.
Yes, I stopped cleaning the house all the time.
Yes, I started to order food more often.
Yes, I started to rest whenever I can.

But still, there are days when I can’t move and I don’t see why I’m still alive. Where is the reason to live? These days I would think my son and husband deserve a better mom. That I’m not good enough. These days I’m crying constantly because I’m tired of my son and the fact that he needs me all the time. These days I just want to hide myself from the whole world. These days I want to run away-from my family, the place I live and responsibility.

I’m tired of this emotional rollercoaster. I’m exhausted and sleep deprived. And I still feel really uncomfortable to go to a doctor and talk about my health because I’m afraid they would prescribe drugs, which makes me feel like a failure.

I still try to find ways to support myself without it, but instead I feel exhausted and sad I just can’t find my way back to normal. I’m trying to convince myself I look good, but every time I look in the mirror, I see my big belly and I want it to disappear. I have noticed I don’t want to meet with friends anymore, because I would have to pretend that everything is awesome, and that’s not the way I feel most days.

My husband is very supportive, but I’m not sure he completely understands what I go through. I know he wants me to be happy, but instead I feel a lot of pressure trying to be happy and then like I failed again.

There are days though when I feel good. Like today. I decided to get educated and took a postpartum doula course. The most interesting topic for me was about mental health. That is why I’m reading a lot about it—not only the information in the course, but different blogs as well. I want to be able to support moms because I know how it feels when there is only darkness around and you can’t see the light. I know how it feels when the baby is crying and you can’t do anything to help and you are just being present, trying to comfort him and not go crazy.

What I have learned so far, is that I have to find a way to support myself through the shitty days. I have to learn how to take care of myself and just carry on. This is a big challenge and I am still learning.