Women with postpartum depression and anxiety need to know that there is hope for a brighter future.
Katelyn suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety following the birth of her son, whom she struggled to conceive. She refused to let it get the best of her, and forced herself to start speaking to a therapist.
She continues to fight everyday and chose to share her story in an effort to deliver a message of hope to other women with postpartum depression and anxiety.
This is Katelyn’s story.
*This post may contain affiliate links. This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author.
I came across a picture on my Facebook account a few weeks ago. It’s hard to believe that this picture was taken two Christmases ago, two weeks after I had given birth to my son. In the photo I was smiling from ear to ear, but in reality, I was anything but happy.
Instead I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I couldn’t even finish a Christmas dinner at my parent’s house where I once lived; I had to get OUT. I felt claustrophobic, dizzy, and trapped inside my body just going through the motions.
What should have been one of the happiest times in my life, was robbed by postpartum depression and anxiety.
The child that I had prayed so hard for and went through so many blood tests, ultrasounds, fertility medications, self-injected needles to the stomach, and intrauterine insemination to conceive was finally here and I couldn’t even fathom how I’d get through each day.
I questioned how I’d ever function as a normal human being again versus the lifeless shell I’d become. How would I go back to work, when I couldn’t even go places I’ve been to all of my life like my parent’s house, the mall, restaurants, a doctor’s office, etc.? How could I be around anyone when being around my family and closest friends gave me anxiety? The thought of leaving the house felt overwhelming and scary.
I was on my way to becoming a hermit; a turtle who never comes out of their shell.
I couldn’t connect to this precious child whom I gave life to.
I couldn’t hold him in my arms without thinking I was doing everything wrong. Thoughts flooded my mind:
“What if I drop him?”
“What if his head hits the table and smashes?”
“Why can’t I hold him right?”
“Why can’t I feed him right?”
“Why am I a horrible mother?”
“Was choosing to be a parent the wrong choice for me?”
The list went on and on – my mind constantly spinning like a hamster wheel.
I felt my whole world was crashing and I couldn’t go on. I would go to bed praying that I wouldn’t wake up in the horrible state of mind I was in the previous day. Yet everyday I woke up, anxiety filled my body before my feet even touched the floor. I felt like I couldn’t care for my own flesh and blood; that he didn’t deserve a mother like me and would be better off with someone else.
What finally changed is that I forced myself out of the house to go to therapy.
I wanted so bad to just do therapy online or over the phone because I was terrified to leave my house. When I found out my insurance didn’t cover online or phone therapy, I forced myself to drive to an appointment. I’ll never forget how anxious I was driving and sitting through my session. I wanted to run away, but I stuck it out.
Little by little, I was able to get out of the house – becoming more like my old self instead of just a shell. I worked like hell to figure out the issues and solve the problem. Therapy combined with meditation and exercise, writing, and making time for me has been very helpful.
Although I still have my days where I feel stressed out and overwhelmed, I finally feel like Katelyn. My smiles aren’t forced, my laughter is real, and the love I have for my son is like no other.
I will not back down and let anxiety and fears get the best of me. I refuse to give in without putting up a fight. It’s no longer just me that I am fighting this battle for, but also for that beautiful, blue eyed boy that will know that his mother is far from perfect, but one thing she never did was stop trying.
I’m sharing my story, not for sympathy, but in hopes that if I can help even one person with postpartum depression and anxiety, it will all be worth it. It sounds cliche, but it will get better; there is a light at the end of the tunnel even if it takes awhile for it to start shinning through. Never give up the fight because you are worth it and to someone out there, you are their entire world.