Yasmin on spending months fighting to find help for postpartum depression

women and two kids in a stroller smiling for picture - essay on finding help for 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’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. 

Related: Stop telling me I won’t have PPD again

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

Related: Spotting postpartum depression can be difficult. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help

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. 

Related: Therapy made me a better mom—and wife

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.