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“Postpartum depression was the farthest thing from my mind, I didn’t have any thought that it was going to affect me at all.”
Nancy began to feel sadness during the weeks leading up to the birth of her baby, but chalked it up to a difficult pregnancy that left her bedridden for the two months prior to her daughter’s birth. She never attributed it to any kind of depression, and was excited to meet her daughter.
She ended up needing a C-section, but with the support of friends, family and nurses, she felt a high for the first 24 hours after the birth.
“I took the turn the day before I came home. I remember sitting on the end of my bed in the hospital, and I was sobbing uncontrollably and I didn’t know why,” Nancy said. The next day she calmed her nerves, told herself “it’s just the baby blues," and brought her daughter home.
Once home, however, things didn’t go as she had hoped. Her baby began to develop colic, and Nancy could no longer breastfeed her. “It just made me feel so bad. I just started to feel that everything was falling apart.”
She began to place blame on herself, breaking down crying, feeling that there was something wrong with her. But she kept these fears to herself and tried to cope.
Her anxiety continued to grow. She was always worrying that something was going to happen to her baby. She became consumed with visions of her daughter getting sick or dying.
“I got to the point where I wasn’t sleeping, and I never admitted to anybody, but it was horrible,” she said.
Strong-willed, she thought she could handle it, convincing herself she could shake the intrusive thoughts. Finally, the visions and dreams scared her to the breaking point. Nancy got in touch with her OBGYN, who referred her to a psychiatrist who told her she was suffering from postpartum depression.
“It was like bricks were lifted off me," she said. "Within 24 hours I knew I got the help I needed to get, that my daughter was going to be OK, that WE were going to be OK.”
With a mixture of therapy and medication, she began to get past her troubled thoughts.
Nancy’s only regret: that she didn’t seek out help sooner.
“PPD takes a lot of time away that you’re supposed to be sharing with your child, time you can’t get back. So if you can do whatever you can do with your family, with your support group, to help you through it as quickly as you can and not lose that valuable time, it’s worth everything.”
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Last Modified: Thursday, 12-Jul-12 11:44:47