Friday, December 2, 2011


I'm going to just lay this out here: I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from post-partum depression.

I knew I was having some issues with anxiety and put it off to the baby blues for a while. Then at one point one of the OBs told me that anxiety can be a symptom of high blood pressure, so I thought it was "just" that.

And for a little while, my blood pressures improved and so did the anxiety. And then my blood pressures have gone wonky again the last few days and so has the anxiety.

So the two things at least seem to be correlated.

But the thing is, I still feel anxious even when my blood pressures are fine.

About 6 or 7 at night, it really sets in. It starts with that sinking feeling of doom. Then the nervous stomach starts. Maybe some chest pain. My hands and legs start to tremble. My mind races. I worry about Charlotte's weight, about my milk supply, about germs, about how many episodes of Mickey Mouse Robbie watched today, if the pain my legs is a blood clot, if the cough is really pneumonia, if my husband resents how much of my slack he's pulling, and on and on and on.

I tell myself it's a chemical reaction, not a real one. I try to talk to myself rationally. But it won't stop. Usually until around 10 or 11 at night when it will ease.

The last 2 days have been particularly rough. Yesterday morning I had a round of Anxiety that is usually reserved for the night. I was home alone with the kids and just feeling completely overwhelmed. I walk through the things I'm "supposed" to do to take care of them, but I feel like a zombie. I do them because I have to, not because of any internal drive to do so.

The long and short of it is that I don't feel joy. Yesterday I heard myself laugh at something on TV and actually found myself surprised. I realized it's been days since I laughed. How can that be?

And then the guilt comes. I have two amazing, healthy, beautiful children at home. I have a husband who is supportive and loving. I have family who loves and cares for us without judgement or complaint. I have an awful lot of things to feel joy about. But here I am anyway.

What I realized today (duh) is that it's clearly a "problem." Today I ended up at a cardiologist's office being scanned for blood clots because I couldn't stop worrying about the leg pain I was having. Logically, that probably wasn't too out there- I've got a lot of risk factors- but it was how I felt inside that made it clear it was more than a "better safe than sorry" situation. I was obsessing about it. Because worrying it what I DO.

I sat down tonight and told my husband what I was really feeling. I hadn't told him, or anyone really, how bad it was because I was ashamed. To be frank, I'm still ashamed. I shouldn't feel this way. I feel like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad daughter, a bad friend, an annoying patient. I feel like I'm letting everyone in my life down.

David was amazing. I feared he'd tell me to get over myself, but he didn't. He reassured me that I'm a great mom and a great wife and that even though I may not feel like I'm doing enough, I really am. We talked about brain chemistry and all of that and he didn't make me feel crazy at all. We talked about natural ways to fight this (exercise, more sunshine etc) and about my decision to call the doctor on Monday for medication.

I wish I could say that made me feel somewhat better, but again- I seem to be incapable of feeling better. It mostly just didn't make me feel worse.

I am worried (there I go again) about the meds and nursing. I'm worried the safest ones won't work. I'm worried I'll never feel better again. Because that's how my brain works right now. I feel stuck in a hole. But I'm also trying to tell myself that's the condition, not reality. The reality is that lots of women are able to successfully treat their PPD and they do come out of it. And their kids are okay. I have to hang onto that in my brain, because my heart isn't quite buying it.

So I will call the doctor on Monday. In the mean time, I hope that you will all pray for me. And I hope that you'll be kind in your comments. I know this is yet another whiny post, but I wanted to be honest and real. This is how I'm feeling. Mental illness isn't fair or logical. It is, however, part of my life.



Anonymous said...

I know it doesn't feel like it, but you are dealing with the same thing so many other moms have been through. You may look at - she just recently wrote about her struggles with postpartum anxiety. You're a good mom and and you're kids are awesome - you can get through this!

Trish said...

Thank you, anon.
Going to check it out now.

I wrote this post with great trepidation. I'm scared people will think I don't love my kids enough.

I adore my children and would never want them or anyone to think anything less.

I just want to be a better mom for them. They deserve it.

A and W mom said...

Oh gosh. If ANYONE takes this as you not loving your kids enough ... I have no words for them. I am really sorry, Trish. I had a *wicked* case of the baby blues and in retrospect I wish I'd looked into medication but I looked through the Dx criteria and didn't meet the ones for full PPD so I never got help. I'm sure it would have made a difference. Anyhow, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. And I get it; no matter how wise and rational you are, you can't just talk yourself out of PPD. I'm really glad that David was supportive and that you're getting help. I love you and I'm definitely praying for you! (((((((HUGS)))))))

Studentrntiffany said...

Oh dear, I can relate. And you are doing the right thing. And at about 12 weeks you will start to feel better. Your body and mind have been through so very much these last months. I'm proud of you! Admitting that you need help is a great thing and such a hard thing to do.

Lots an lots of love. Try to get an extra nap in. I always found that a little extra sleep seemed to make me feel just a little better.


Meghan said...

Sending lots of love to you. I didn't realize just how bad my ppd with S was until I had A and wasn't a complete and total wreck. It's really hard to admit and get help for because you think (or at least I used to think), I got everything I wanted, what right do I have to be sad. But it's a chemical hormonal imbalance, it's not you. And by going to get help, you will start to feel better.

Oh and there is no one who reads your blog and would think for a second that you didn't love your kids. if you get any hateful comments theyre just nasty trolls who don't really know you

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you to being brave enough to realize this so early and courageous enough to do something about it! I had PPD after my son was born and was in serious denial. It took me over a year to seek help and by then, my marriage was practically in shambles and my relationship with my son was almost there too. It didn't help that my husband, at first, thought it was ME and that I should just deal with it. It took him a long time too to realize that there was something medically wrong with me and he is now a whole different person when it comes to mental health issues. I'm so glad David didn't do that to you and that he was open to the idea of getting help that you need, instead of blaming you!

The meds helped right away and after 9 months, I was able to wean myself off the medication. I have been medication free for almost a year, my marriage and relationship with my child are strong and healthy and I am thankful every day that I finally got the help that I needed.

There is nothing wrong with you or your mothering ability. You need the help you can get to be the best mom to them. A happy mom is the best mom! Good luck Trish and thanks for sharing. I'll be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that you are suffering from a bit of PTSD as well? All of your worries sound like they stem from your previous experience with a preemie. Be nice to yourself -you are doing great!

Adriane said...

Trish I am so sorry you are going through this. I had some form of it after my girls were born. I think PTSD. Three weeks after they were born I started hemnhorraging and had to go back to the hospital - I had retained placenta. It was awful and sent me into a tailspin. I tried zoloft for a few days but I swear it made my eye twitch. Weird. I'm so glad you called the dr. I too had to see a cardiologist as my OB felt I could have a blood clot - symptoms were chest pains. It was truly awful. I couldn't control it and my heart would race. The worst was that I couldn't sleep even though I was exhausted. I am praying for you. Please don't feel like a bad mother. You are just the opposite of that!!!! This will pass but from someone whose been there, I understand how non-comforting those words are. Big hugs to you!!!!!

Elise Ford said...

Trish, I have anxiety issues and my OB prescribed Zoloft. It's the most studied drug for anti-anxiety (or depression) and is safe, safe, safe for breastfeeding. I am currently nursing my almost-6 month old baby girl. I take the smallest dose - 25 mg, and it has done wonders. I feel normal. There are other drugs out there that are safe, too. If you don't already have it, highly recommend Dr. Hale's reference book for all nursing mothers:

This is the reference used by pedis and OBs. Lists all Rx drugs (also has a section on over the counter) and includes summaries of studies done on the drugs, the lactation risk category, pregnancy category, etc. Not a touchy-feely book, purely scientific. It is GREAT. I love being able to access this information on my own without resorting to the internet (which I've found contains scary info that is often erroneous).

You will NOT regret your decision to talk to your doctor about this. This is such a common PP issue. Please try not to feel guilty about your decision because you are taking steps that will make you a better mom. Promise.

Searching said...

I think saying this just further proves what an amazing mom you are. You are realizing something is not right and would be better able to care for & enjoy your kids if you got help. WHich you are doing, and is a very difficult step to take. (THE most difficult, IMHO). It's not YOU, it's the chemicals in your brain being wonky. I'm so glad your hubby understands that. When it is yourself in the throes of depression you don't have as much capacity to grasp the situation as you would normally. It's the disease, everything just seems so much bigger, scarier, anxiety provoking. It robs you of so much of the GOOD feelings and piles on all these bad ones. Absolutely awful & I'm so, so sorry you are dealing with this. You will look back in 6mo and all this will be perfectly logical, but I understand that molehills are mountains right now. All your worries have a basis in possibility, so they are rational worries, just not as much ones to freak out over. I really hope the meds they give you Mon kick in so your nervous system and brain are able to dial back to a normal level asap. I am sure you are just so overwhelmed and wiped out from this. You are a wonderful mother and so brave for admitting you need help & making that appt!

And you know, not just your kids & hubby deserve it, but YOU deserve it. YOU deserve to enjoy this time with your kids, the holidays, your body getting back to being healthy. Praying for you, my friend!!

michelle said...

I think you may be surprised how many people suffer the same thing. Including me. I had terrible ppd but chalked it up to wacky hormones since i had twins. Problem was those wacky hormones never leveled off. It took me 5 months to give in and go to the dr. I wish I'd gone sooner and I'm so proud of you for being so self aware and going now. Proves that you do love your kids. And yourself. And that you're one smart cookie. I honestly would be amazed if even one person read this and thought it meant you didn't love your kids. That's obviously not the case.

Trish said...

Thank you everyone.
I'm just holding out for monday to call the doctor.
I just know I can't be a good mom and feel like this for very long.

I can't rule out an aspect of PTSD. I definitely had some issues when Charlotte landed in the NICU. My reaction was more than just "this sucks" it was definitely based in our history, so I know that's still "in there" as it were.

Looking back, I really wasn't in a good place after robbie either, but I put it all off to sleep deprivation, stress, etc. Which was all true, but in retrospect, I could have been better.

This time I at least was on the look out for it. It still took until yesterday to really realize it wasn't "just" tiredness or pre-e, or high bp or whatever.. that it really was a problem.

Now we just need to tackle it.

Anonymous said...

Long time lurker checking in. I, too had post partum anxiety. Not really any depression, just anxiety. Zoloft wasn't quite enough for me. If it gets bad don't feel bad about asking for something in addition. I couldn't sleep for over 5 nights my anxiety was so bad. After my deliveries I took either trazadone or ativan. And really I only took it once in a while when the anxiety was bad, not daily. It will get better, and once you ask for help it doesn't take long. congratulations!

Trish said...

Were you able to take ativan while nursing? That's what complicates things a bit- I don't want to transfer anything (or as little as possible) to Charlotte.
I did a little reading last night and it looked like Zoloft was the #1 choice, followed by Paxil.
Years ago (10+) I was on Paxil with a lot of success. I'd still like to try the zoloft to see if that would do it, but paxil could be the back up.

Anne said...

I had my son two weeks after Charlotte was born, and I've been dealing with some hard feelings too. On Thanksgiving, I wen to say hi to my mom and burst into tears. When my sister in law picked up the baby from his nap when he was "about to start crying," I almost lost it.

After crying every night this week, I went in for acupuncture on Thursday and it seemed to help. When the baby actually slept, I was able to and I didn't start bawling at the thought of my husband going to work the next morning.

The downside is that it does take time for the appointments, but it is totally safe for breast feeding, so it might be worth a try if you're up for it.

Good for you for getting help. This whole mothering thing doesn't get any easier, does it?

Anne (

Rachel said...

I am so sorry to hear about the depression, but of course relieved that you are getting some family support and will call your doctor on Monday. Is it possible to find a few hours babysitting this week so that you can get a real break? I know that won't help with the depression (really, no matter what people tell you, it IS chemical/hormonal and a nap/shower/movie is not going to change that), but it may give you a few more coping mechanisms for the worst times of the day. You could even consider a high school babysitter if you are planning to stay at home, or maybe call in a favor to a friend.

Alex said...

I have no advice to give but just wanted to wish you all the best. I admire your strength in admitting what you're feeling to yourself, and others. I hope your doctor is able to get you the help you need, either with chemical assistance or emotional reassurance. Like the others I agree that your feelings and actions show what an amazing mom you must be.

Monika said...

Thinking about you and sending lots of prayers your way! (((hugs)))

lilyvalley said...

I know no better mother than you. I am being 100% honest. We all know you love your children and David. We all know that you are thankful for them. I, too, had terrible anxiety after G was born - almost EXACTLY as you described. My doctor put me on Zoloft but I had some sort of reaction to it and it pushed my anxiety into overdrive. My doctor said it was very very rare but just be aware. I encourage you to call your doctor Monday but you need to cut yourself some slack. You have had two very stressful pregnancies (both physically and emotionally). Love to you!

Trish said...

Thanks lilly- can I ask what you ended up doing/taking instead of the zoloft?

I was on zoloft YEARS ago (like 10?) and didn't have a lot of success with it. I was having a lot of anxiety attacks at that time and it just didn't help. I ended up on paxil.
The situation was obviously different then, though, so maybe the zoloft would work now, so I'd like to try since it's the "safest" drug for Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Cut yourself some slack. You are now experiencing all the emotions you rather successfully kept at bay throughout your pregnancy with C. Give it two more weeks...both babies are fine. And you are too. I guess I am just biased against the reality of having really shitty feelings sometimes...some that don't even go away right away...why is it so wrong to have total conflicted/ambivalent feelings and be totally exhausted right now?!?!?

Anonymous said...

Trish, we are all here for you. I felt the same way, about the truck hitting you at 6pm. For me (I was nursing too and having a hell of a struggle with it) it was the loneliness of the night nursing that scared the crap out of me. There was nothing I could do if it didn't go right and there was no way any one could help me. I felt so alone and sad. During the daylight, I was ok. Friends would come over, my husband was there etc. But, at night, just me and just scared shitless! I am telling you this so you know you are NOT alone and a lot of us have felt this PPD/anxiety. Mine gradually got better as I realized that my baby would be fine and the world would still go round if I was not the "perfect" mother.

I know you are also struggling with medical issues and I'm wishing and hoping it gets better soon.

Take care,

Trish said...

Mandy, it's the opposite for me. I'm actually by myself with both kids during the day most of the time. My husband comes home from work about 5:30.
But this weekend, I wasn't alone at all, he was here the whole time, and tonight my dad was here, too. But it still got me.


It might relate to the early sunset? Maybe it's like nuclear Seasonal Affective Disorder or something?

I don't know.

Honestly, I don't even know that it matters why (though I'd like to know) but I need to know how to fix it. This sucks.

lilyvalley said...

I take Prozac for the general anxiety and Xanax when I get really anxious. Obviously the Xanax is not going to work while nursing but what about Prozac. I know it is considered "safe" during pregnancy but I am not sure about bfing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trish, I commented 12/3 at 2:37 (Molly by the way). I did take ativan while nursing. Either .5 mg or 1.0 mg depending on how bad the anxiety was. And again it wasn't every day. But after my experience the first time, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, relax or recouperate without that assistance. I hope your doctor was able to help. I'm happy for everyone who gets through post-partum easily, but trutfully the majority of my closest friends have needed some meds. Maybe I attract anxious people? Good luck