I had no idea what to expect from parenthood.
It’s better than I could ever have imagined.
But I had to go through the darkest, scariest, deepest depths of what felt like hell to get here.
Remembering back to one of my first prenatal appointments with my midwives, I was asked if I had ever been diagnosed with depression. “Yes,” I answered.
“Well, we’re going to have to keep an eye out for signs of postpartum depression,” they said.
I nodded and agreed, but completely knew it would never happen to me. I wouldn’t let it. Motherhood would come naturally, beautifully, and easily to me. I could never be depressed (or anxious) with a new little soulmate around.
Or so I thought…
What I never realized was I started down the postpartum depression/anxiety (leaning much more heavily on the anxiety part) while I was pregnant.
I was ever-nervous about the bouncing bundle of joy I was carrying. I wrestled with nearly constant thoughts of the health and wellbeing of my baby boy (although I didn’t know the gender at the time). “Was he moving enough?” “Did he have serious health problems that the ultrasound didn’t pick up?” “He’s hiccuping quite a bit…is that normal?” And so much more…
Normal became a word I was very much co-dependent to. I was in desperation for my baby to be “normal.” I had a little bit of a difficult time bonding with my baby while he was en utero. A combination of not knowing the gender, pleasing my ego by saying “nothing in my life will change once baby gets here,” and desperately seeking a healthily baby (which he always has been…even though my mind thought otherwise) lead to heightened anxiety that increased in strength the closer I got to my due date.
I couldn’t stop my obsessive thoughts. It was maddening.
I thought once my baby was in my arms, it would all stop. I would see that he was healthy, happy, and safe…even though there was a part of me that still wondered if I could do this whole parenting thing. I truly didn’t know if I was cut out to be a “good mom.”
I even had a psychic reading to gather any information that I thought I would need before my little boy arrived. I heard nothing but excellent and happy things, and I tried my best to grasp onto those positive thoughts. I was pleased with the news and felt a little better. The only weird thing is though, she said I would absolutely have no postpartum depression. Whoops…but maybe I wasn’t ready to know.
Then he arrived. River Robert. Born March 26th, 2014 at 7:25 p.m. Six pounds, 19 1/2 inches long and perfect. But the doctors immediately told me he was not normal (even though he was completely healthy and thriving). I will explain more in a future post…
Right after I heard this news, I was hit with “I am NOT ready for this parenting thing” and “I am definitely NOT a good mom.” I was thrust into a downward tailspin that escalated so quickly, I literally thought my life here on earth was in question. These feelings lasted for a little over two months.
I was in the throws of severe postpartum anxiety and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). It was the scariest and coldest place I’d ever been in my life.
I was forced to be reborn alongside my newborn son.
This is a journey I never in a million, trillion years expected to happen. But it did. It happened. I never thought I would be here to tell this story.
But I am. And I’m thriving.
If you’re going through this too, you WILL not only survive, but you will absolutely thrive.
So, stay tuned for part 1 of ‘A Tale of Two Newborns.’ It covers the days leading up to the birth of River and the days I spent in the hospital with him.
I look forward to sharing this journey with you and I hope that by releasing what happened to me, it will make a positive change in the lives of women (and their families/friends) who have been through postpartum depression/anxiety and PTSD.
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Also, I want to kindly remind you that these posts come with a *trigger warning.*