“I’m sorry, it sounds like you may just have the baby blues,” were the words that came out of the nurse’s mouth at my OB’s office when I called every day for a week begging for help at one-week postpartum. I knew I had postpartum depression because I had started to display symptoms when I was 30 weeks pregnant with my second baby.
I have two babies—Maddox who just turned two and Alfie who is 10.5 months. Being so pregnant, at first I put it down to nerves, anxiety surrounding the transition from one to two babies, but sadly it wasn’t just that.
At my 30-week appointment, I mentioned to my OB that I was worried I have depression, but he told me that I should have the baby first and then go from there.
Sadly, the depression had nine weeks to manifest as I delivered Alfie at 39 weeks due to hypertension. As soon as I came home, that’s when it got much, much worse.
I had to fight to get an appointment to see my OB to be “officially” diagnosed and to be put on medication. I finally got an appointment to see him at two weeks postpartum. He asked me a slew of questions, one of which was, “Do you have a plan to harm yourself or your babies?” I remember pausing (I had thoughts of self-harm, but not hurting the babies) and before I could answer, he interrupted me and said, “If you say yes, I need to commit you to the psych ward.” So of course, I said, “NO!”
My husband and babies were the ones keeping me going. I couldn’t imagine being separated from them at two weeks postpartum, not to mention I was exclusively breastfeeding my baby.
So I left the office with a prescription for Zoloft and I needed to find a therapist. I found a therapist who claimed she was well-versed in postpartum depression, but it became evident in the four months I saw her that she was in fact, not at all.
I made the decision to take myself out of therapy at four months postpartum because she was causing more anxiety and stress than I needed.
That’s when the real work started. I had to try and find a therapist who a) accepted my insurance, and b) knew their sh*t about postpartum depression because I didn’t want to keep being told that I needed to go to the psych ward.
I spent MONTHS fighting for help, months on the phone, crying on the phone to random receptionists and still got nowhere. I was told a plethora of different reasons ranging from: not accepting my insurance to not seeing any new clients to not being comfortable seeing a postpartum depression patient.
I finally found a therapist who only works with moms through 2020 Mom. My therapist is amazing. She has begun to help me understand why I got postpartum depression. I have a significant history of trauma due to my ex-husband and I had no idea that it still affected me.
That’s proof that a good therapist can change your life. I am still a work in progress, but I pride myself on being an advocate for maternal mental health. I even recently spoke at a 2020 Mom forum in LA where I shared my very honest story. My hope is to use my story to help and inspire moms. I never want a newly-diagnosed mom with postpartum depression and anxiety to feel as alone as I did. I share my story for all the moms we’ve sadly lost. So if you’re a mom with postpartum depression and/or anxiety, just know there’s a whole tribe behind you and you’re not crazy.