Monday, April 26, 2010

Post Partum Depression

I`ve mentioned before that I am struggling with Post Partum Depression (PPD). I work for a christian publishing company and had previously talked with one of my editors about writing about it. He asked if I was ready to do that yet and mentioned it would be a good article for the family supplement in our May paper; only if I was ready. The paper goes to press this week and it looks like they want to use my article for the main feature in the paper, the Testimony page. Nothing is certain until it`s printed. But here it is. I opened myself up for this because I pray that my journey can help just one person. This is a very condensed version of my life this last year, but this is what is to be printed if they go with it.

Post Partum Depression, my Journey so far

Everyone one was telling me I had the ‘million dollar’ family: the amazing husband, an adorable son and a newborn beautiful daughter along with a dog and a house.
Why was it then that everyday I wanted to be dead? I could picture hurting myself or my kids. Why was I crying all time? Why was the prospect of driving into traffic better than going home?
I remember (and that’s saying a lot considering my memory is so poor right now) camping with my family in May of last year. I was standing in the trailer crying and telling my husband Phil something was wrong with me. He held me while I cried (something I don’t often do) and assured me we would figure it out together.
Raina, my daughter was born March 2nd, 2009 – nine days late, after an otherwise uneventful labor. I was amazed at how great I felt afterward, and the recovery was much faster and easier than it had been after my son Dax had been born 20 months earlier.
I was loving being a mother of two, puttering around the house and taking care of my kids.
But from that point until the third weekend in May, I can’t remember a thing. I just remember knowing something wasn’t right. I don’t know how I survived.

“Get Over It”
I didn’t want to believe that it could be post partum depression (PPD). I was too capable, to strong willed, to independent to fall prey to THAT, I was sure I could just ‘get over it’.
But I learned that no matter how capable, strong willed or independent I was, I couldn’t control my mental health. PPD is an actual problem that you just can’t ‘get over’. The brain is actually missing parts and pieces and needs to fix itself.
I was on the phone with my best friend and she noticed I wasn’t myself. She encouraged me to talk to a mutual friend who has gone thru PPD.
It took me a month to get the courage to make that call, but Phil gently encouraged me. After speaking with her and talking more with Phil, I went to the doctor.
He confirmed that it was more than just the ‘baby blues’. I started on medication - one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life.
I had to tell my parents and sisters. I think everyone of them said that I seemed to be doing so well. That’s the secret of PPD. If someone only sees you for short periods, it’s easy to hide what’s going on.

Sworn to Secrecy
I swore everyone to secrecy. I couldn’t handle people knowing I wasn’t mentally stable. I felt that society still had a stigma regarding depression and I would get that look - you know the one, the one that says “you’re taking the easy way out.” If it was them they would just suck it up and deal with and get over it - so I should to.
I could not have made it thru this year without Phil. I don’t think he figured he’d have to take our marriage vows quite so seriously. I spent days laying on the couch with my son watching TV. Making sure both kids were fed and dressed, that is all I was capable of.

Precious memories lost
I remember very little of this last year, the first year of Raina’s life. I’m very sad about that.
There were many times when I was driving somewhere and couldn’t remember where I was going much less how to even get there. I had to turn around and go home, crying.
I can remember one day walking into the kitchen, and knowing that Phil would have to clean it. I honestly could not wrap my brain around how to clean it. I cried.
I also remember one day I walked in the house with a bag of something. Dax called out “dinner time!.”
I was shocked. My son thought food came from a take-out bag. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been able to prepare a meal for my family.
I don’t remember when Raina was baptised I only remember it was a Sunday.
But I remember walking into church, and God pointed out two individuals to me – telling me they would be talking to me that day. These were not people I normally talked to, but had known for years. Both of those people came up to me and said very encouraging words to me, words that carried me for a bit.

Almost healed
I’m in a much better place now - not healed but getting there. I don’t have a problem with people knowing I have PPD now. I’m still on medication and still working thru things.
I’ve been for counselling and worked on some cognitive therapy. I’m working with a mentor who reminds me that I’m beautiful, that I’m God’s daughter and He’s taking care of me.
I’ve had to humble myself in a lot of areas this year and accept help, instead of trying to be independent. I’ve had to let go of many things and rely more than ever on Phil.
It has been a very difficult year for my family and it has changed all of us, not just me. I’m only now bonding with Raina and discovering her hilarious personality.
But God is good. Without Him, my husband and my family I wouldn’t be here to write this.

Our new Normal
We are working towards finding our new normal. It’s a slow process, slower then I would like, but I’m not in control - God is. I’m finding out who I am again. I can capture glimpses of myself more often now and it’s very comforting. I look forward to meeting that person again soon and having her stick around.
I can’t tell you when I will be healed or when I’ll be off my medication. I’m okay with that - most days anyway. I still don’t have it all together. I’m able to cook most nights for my family, and I am able to enjoy my kids and be even more in love with my husband – who gave me unconditional support during this time without ever complaining, telling me every single day that he loved me and that I was beautiful.
God is good.
There is no shame depression. If you can see yourself in my story, talk to someone.
Ask for help.


  1. How brave you are to come forward with your story. I to suffer from depression, I fought it for over 12 years before I sought help! I'm so glad you had the courage to seek help sooner and not drag it out like I did. I was one of those people who thought I could suck it up and get better on my own. I'm proof that it's not possible. If it hadn't been my faith in God, I don't think I would have survived as long as I did. I've been on medication for 4 months now. I have my good days and bad ones, but at least I am starting to enjoy life a little again. I'm sure you sharing your story will help others out there who are suffering like we did/do. *Hugs & Blessings*

  2. Very well written, Tara. I think of you often and am glad to hear that you are getting some of the support and mentoring that you were looking for. I'm sure you sharing your story will help others out there who are keeping their PPD a secret.

  3. Wow!!! I'm in tears! And I'm so very proud of you!!♥♥♥!! MDL

  4. saw your link on Amy's finer things. thanks for sharing. I think I had ppd after at least my last birth, maybe the first too...I feel like it's hard for me to know that something is wrong, it is "normal" to feel the way I do/did until sometimes later when I look back...thank you for sharing it gave me some good insights into myself and is wonderful to realize ppd is a real thing and nice to know I am not alone in some of the struggles I've had. thanks!