Battling Endometriosis while Suffering From Postpartum Depression

Endometriosis is a condition that plagues nearly 10% of women but is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.  Like postpartum depression, endometriosis is something that isn’t talked about enough.  It causes a considerable amount of pain but so many women learn to live with it and don’t seek the proper treatment.  And those who do seek help, are often told it’s nothing, because endometriosis doesn’t show up on ultrasounds or x-rays or ct scans.

While there is no link between endometriosis and postpartum depression, they do have a lot in common:
  • They are affected by hormones
  • They affect women in their childbearing years
  • They are under-diagnosed conditions
  • They are invisible diseases
  • They are stigmatized and need more awareness

Every women’s struggle with endometriosis is different, just like postpartum depression.  Here is MY story…

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


It was a mere coincidence that both my endometriosis and postpartum depression were diagnosed at the same time, because the two conditions are not exactly linked to each other.  But ever since that diagnosis, they have been intertwined throughout my journey of highs and lows.

It all began when my daughter was 5 months old.  Actually, the postpartum depression symptoms had been going on for a few months already but I was still in denial. 

We took a family trip to Disney World (both kids were still free to get in, so we thought we’d take advantage)!  Despite exclusively breastfeeding, I got my first postpartum period – right there in the Magic Kingdom.  

I was disappointed and annoyed but what else could I do, on this trip of a lifetime, but suck it up and waddle around in blood-soaked pants for the rest of the day?

The next day, we planned to go to Cocoa Beach.  When you’re from the Canadian Prairies, trips to the ocean are few and far between, so I was definitely NOT missing out on it.  I bought the biggest box of tampons I could find and tried my best to enjoy the day.

But the cramping was worse than labor pains and the bleeding was relentless.

I made it through that vacation but the following month was even worse.  I probably wouldn’t have said anything to my doctor, except that it happened to fall on the same day as my daughter’s 6 month checkup.

I was lucky enough to have a great doctor with whom I already had a close relationship, and it was in that appointment that I broke down crying – overcome by the pain of the menstrual cramps and the dark place my mind had been in for the last 6 months.

Based solely on my symptoms, he figured it was endometriosis that was causing the pain and heavy bleeding.  It was the first time I had ever heard the word.  When he told me that it can cause infertility, I actually felt relieved because I had zero desire to have another baby.  He gave me some samples of birth control pills and advised me to take them continuously in an effort to “skip” my periods.

Then we discussed the postpartum depression and came up with a treatment plan.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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I was supposed to follow up with him in a few months to see how things were going.  But by then, we had relocated for my husband’s job – a 9 hour drive away.

For a while, things were alright…

My mind was distracted by the move and I remembered to take my birth control pills everyday, avoiding the painful cramping that accompanied my periods.

Until I ran out of samples.

Trying to find a good doctor in a new town where I didn’t know anyone was tougher than I thought.  So I chose to suffer instead.  I loaded up on painkillers and wore adult diapers to soak up the extreme amounts of blood and just dealt with it.

With each month that passed, the pain got worse and worse.  The cramping started earlier and lasted longer until I was only pain-free for one week each month.  I turned to essential oils for help with the pain, but even their magic wasn’t strong enough.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up about Chronic Pain
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The chronic pelvic pain exacerbated my postpartum depression symptoms.

I felt defeated by the pain.  I didn’t feel like being strong or fighting through the pain – I hoped and prayed it would just kill me.  I thought about how my daughter might someday experience this kind of pain, and I felt responsible for that.  I felt like all I did was inflict pain on those around me, because I was also in pain.  And I was certain that everyone would be happier, myself included, if I was just gone.

When my year of maternity leave was over, things got better.

I found a job that I loved and began to make friends.  The daycare we chose for the kids was wonderful and they settled into it without any problems.  I appreciated my children more because I cherished the short amount of time we had together each day instead of dreading the long hours of nothingness.

Finally, I was happy!  I pushed through the endometriosis pain every month because I didn’t want anything to destroy my happiness.

But after a year of being happy and ignoring the pain – the pain pushed back.

I couldn’t ignore it anymore and eventually wound up in the emergency room.  Much to everyone’s surprise – I was pregnant!  I guess endometriosis doesn’t always cause infertility…

The anxiety began almost immediately.  I didn’t want to go through another HG pregnancy and I definitely worried about dealing with the postpartum depression all over again.  Plus we had just moved again, and hadn’t even bought a house yet.

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Despite the exciting news, the pain was still there… worse even.

The doctors suspected a possible ectopic pregnancy and rushed me into emergency surgery.

When I woke up, I had mixed feelings about losing the baby.  Part of me was relieved to avoid another tough pregnancy, but another part of me felt disappointed that I didn’t get another chance to make things right.

The next day, I found out I was still pregnant.  The pregnancy was a healthy one, and there was nothing they could tell me about the endometriosis because they didn’t want to do anything to disturb the pregnancy.

And so I had my third child.  I suffered from the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum of all three pregnancies, but for a while, I didn’t have to worry about the menstrual pain.  This time I did everything in my power to prepare myself for postpartum depression again but thankfully was spared from it.  I was given a second chance!  I immediately felt a bond with this baby and she made our family complete.

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I had a good, solid 8 months of bliss with my happy baby before my first postpartum period arrived.

And, in true dream-crushing fashion, it came back on Christmas Eve so I spent most of that night hopped up on painkillers and hovering around the bathroom door in order to change my tampon every 30 minutes.

After another steady 8 months of pill popping, I missed another period.  Oh no, not another pregnancy.  It can’t be.  I can’t do it again.  But the tests were all negative…

My menstrual cycle finally had a nervous breakdown.

It would skip months for no reason and then come every other week.  The pelvic pain got worse and it was no longer limited to my menstrual cycle – it was there 24/7.  I ended up in the emergency room regularly looking for something to help with the pain.  Nothing ever showed up on any of the tests, and I’m certain everyone thought I was a hypochondriac.  Even though I was in an intense amount of pain, I started to wonder if they were right.

The pain triggered the postpartum depression again.

It didn’t help that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, living in a city with no friends or relatives to help me out.  Between the darkness of postpartum depression and the pain of endometriosis, life was very bleak for nearly a full year.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Living with Endometriosis
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I finally met with a specialist.

He instantly validated everything I was feeling and scheduled me for a diagnostic laparoscopy to find out what was going on inside of me.  Since he wasn’t sure what he would find, he asked me to sign a form that stated he could perform a hysterectomy if he deemed it medically necessary.  This way, I wouldn’t have to undergo two separate surgeries if I did need one.

We discussed the fact that a hysterectomy would be the worst-case scenario, and I signed the form without hesitation.

In the 6 weeks leading up to my surgery date, I bled continuously.  I should have known then, that more was wrong under the surface than I wanted to admit.  If I had, perhaps I would have been more prepared for what was ahead.

The surgery was supposed to be a laparoscopic day surgery on a Friday.  My husband, kids and I made the 2 hour drive into the city, expecting to stay with family for the weekend and be back home by Monday.

But when I woke up from the surgery, I was told I would not be going home that day.

My doctor came in to see me, head hung, disappointment in his eyes.  He rested his hand on mine and told me that this was the first time he’s ever had to convert from a laparoscopic surgery to an abdominal incision (minimally invasive surgery was his specialty).

And then he filled me in on what happened in surgery.

He had to remove my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and left ovary.  He left the right ovary so that I would not go into menopause but everything else was stuck together with adhesions and needed to go.  My reproductive organs were attached to the pelvic wall, bladder and bowels which he successfully separated, but there would be scar tissue remaining.  The adhesions had re-routed my blood vessels and so he cut into one while attempting to perform the hysterectomy, causing me to lose nearly 4 units of blood and require a transfusion.

It was the “worst case scenario,” and I felt completely blindsided by what had just happened.  

I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days.  Losing so much blood left me feeling weak and dizzy and moving around was almost impossible.  Once I did get home to my own bed, I couldn’t leave.  Walking up and down stairs was difficult and living in a 4 level split meant I was practically bedridden.  Long after the scar healed, the pain inside my pelvis was excruciating.  I was told to expect to be out of commission for a full 6 weeks but it took more like 8.

Dealing with the sudden loss of my uterus was difficult.  Although I knew I didn’t want to have more children, I liked knowing that it was an option.  I spent a lot of time thinking about my pregnancies and how the place where I grew my children and felt them move and kick was no longer there.

But once I recovered from the surgery, the constant pelvic pain that plagued me for years was finally gone.  It was hard to believe that it was no longer there, I kept poking at it to see if it hurt but no – no more pain!  And I never had to wear another giant tampon or adult diaper ever again.

Most days I forget that I no longer have a uterus.  I still get some symptoms of PMS when my lonely ovary ovulates but it’s nearly impossible to track it without a menstrual cycle.  The fluctuating hormones do still affect my postpartum depression symptoms and I have to take extra care of myself on those days, but otherwise, it’s no longer triggered by constant pain.

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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I’ve been told that a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis and there is still a chance that the endometrial tissue could grow back.

So while my battle with endometriosis, as well as my battle with postpartum depression, is over for now – they have changed who I am as a person.

They have both taken things away from me that I can never get back.  They have killed a part of me inside and remain there, dormant, waiting for another opportunity to strike. I will do my best to take care of myself,  to help others who are suffering, and to raise awareness about these two important issues, so that if and when they ever do decide to rear their ugly heads again – I will be ready to fight back.


Endometriosis Resources

Endometriosis.org
WebMD Endometriosis Health Center
Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education Facebook Group
Endometriosis Support Group on Facebook
Hystersisters.com

10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You To Know

Postpartum depression, as common as it might be, is widely misunderstood.  No one knows for certain exactly why mothers get postpartum depression and many aren’t even aware of the symptoms.

If there was less stigma and more mothers felt comfortable enough to speak up about their postpartum depression, perhaps the rest of the world would know about it and find ways to help.

In an effort to help others understand more about postpartum depression – here’s a list of 10 things that mothers with postpartum depression want you to know.


A List of 10 Things a Mother with Postpartum Depression Wants You to Know

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. We Are Not Bad Mothers

Mothers with postpartum depression are not prone to hurting their babies.  While there have been cases that ended in tragedy – those mothers were likely suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is much more serious.

We might be seen as “bad” mothers because we didn’t bond with our babies right away, or we seem withdrawn from them or avoid holding them.  These are common symptoms of postpartum depression but it does not mean that we want to harm our child or that we don’t love them as much.

If anything, postpartum depression makes us stronger mothers because we have to fight harder to build a mother-child relationship.

You don’t need to take our babies away from us or be concerned about leaving us alone with them.  If we come to you for help and admit what we are feeling – that makes us a better mother, not a bad one. 

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2. It’s Not In Our Head

Postpartum depression is not just a psychological issue – it’s physical pain, it’s chemical imbalances, it’s uncontrollable hormones.  It’s a total body experience and not just something we imagine.

Positive thinking alone will not get rid of postpartum depression.  It’s important to stay positive to help reduce stress which is a big trigger for symptoms, but there is so much more to it than that.

Many women suffer from disruptions in sleep and appetite, headaches and back pains from stress and tension, nausea and debilitating fatigue.  So the pain is never just “in our head.”

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3. Nothing We Did Caused This

Postpartum depression is NOT our fault.  We didn’t get it because of a traumatic labor or breastfeeding problems or because we didn’t have a good enough support system.

It’s natural to want to find an explanation for what we’re going through and it’s easy to look back on our pregnancies and deliveries and find something to blame for the mess.

While there are several different risk factors that can increase your chances of having postpartum depression, the truth is – even a women with the happiest of pregnancies, easiest of deliveries and biggest support system could still be diagnosed with postpartum depression.  It does not discriminate.

There are studies being conducted to try to determine the cause of postpartum depression but for now – it’s still a mystery as to why some women get it and others do not.

Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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4. There Is No Cure

There are plenty of treatment options and ways to control the symptoms but we will never be the same person we were before postpartum depression.

Anti-depressants, therapy, self-care, yoga and meditation, etc., are all important for helping with the symptoms but they will not make postpartum depression go away permanently.  Some women can control their symptoms better than others, but no matter what, we will all have to live with the darkness inside of us for the rest of our lives.

If we’re not careful about following our treatment plans, we could suffer a relapse.

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5. It Can Be Invisible

Just because we don’t seem depressed doesn’t mean we’re not suffering inside.  Postpartum depression can be an invisible disease, which means we don’t have a giant scar or walk with a limp but we are in just as much pain.

Mothers with postpartum depression have gotten very good at putting on a smile to hide the pain and avoid the awkward questions.

Thanks to the stigma around postpartum depression, many mothers won’t even admit to having it for fear of what the world will think of them.

Organizations like 2020Mom and The Blue Dot Project are helping to break down the stigma through campaigns like Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week but they will only be successful if mothers with postpartum depression are willing to let the world know that they exist.  

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6. It’s Not The Same As Postpartum Psychosis

Anytime I hear a story about a new mother taking her life due to postpartum depression, I know they are really talking about postpartum psychosis.  They are two different diseases and psychosis is a severe medical emergency.

Postpartum psychosis leads a mother to have hallucinations and hear voices in their heads.  They are often a danger to themselves and those around them, including their children, because of their unpredictable behavior.  They are not aware of what they are doing, and if left untreated – can end in tragedy.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and know the difference.  This article from Postpartum Progress does the best job at explaining it.

Here’s an article from Huffingtonpost with regards to the movie “Tully” portraying a woman diagnosed with postpartum depression when really, she suffers from postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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7. Don’t Take Things Personally

Postpartum depression can manifest itself in different ways.  Fits of uncontrollable rage is a lesser known symptom and can cause a lot of strain on relationships.

When we are riding the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum depression, it’s easy to lose control and lash out.  But until our symptoms are under control with a proper treatment plan, it’s best not to take the things we say and do personally.

The urge to push people away and withdraw into ourselves is strong with postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we actually want.

In fact, a support system is something we need now more than ever.

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8. It’s easier to talk to strangers

Please don’t feel offended if we don’t want to talk to you about what we’re going through.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who have been through it before, such as a therapist or online support group.

They understand what we mean and won’t judge us.  We know you don’t mean to judge us, but unless you know what it feels like to be inside the head of a crazy person, you couldn’t possibly understand.

Some of the best “strangers” to talk to are available through the PSI Helpline (call or text!)

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9. We Need Your Help

Even if we don’t want to talk to you, we still need your help to get through this.  Postpartum depression is a tough fight and it’s even harder to fight alone.  There are so many ways that you can help us, but it’s very hard for us to tell you what they are.

The biggest way that you can help us is by trying to understand what we’re going through.  And even if you don’t understand, stand by us and support us no matter what.

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10. Please Don’t Abandon Us

Mothers with postpartum depression make for some of the worst company.  We’re weepy and emotional.  We rarely smile or laugh.  We’re tired all the time, or angry and annoyed.  We dodge your phone calls and cancel dinner plans.  We don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with us…

Withdrawing from society is a major symptom of postpartum depression and it’s out of our control.

But we hope that, when we do finally feel better, you will still be there waiting for us on the other side of the darkness.


10 Things Moms with Postpartum Depression Want You to Know
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Adrienne’s Postpartum Depression Story

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How to Prepare for Another Baby after Postpartum Depression

Many women are afraid of suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of a child, but none more than a mother who has already experienced it before.  

It goes without saying that any mother who has suffered from postpartum depression would never willingly want to put themselves through that kind of torture again.

But while the idea of having another baby after postpartum depression feels like a suicide mission, a significant amount of women go on to have more children after being diagnosed.

This means that, while it might seem preposterous at the time, there is hope for a full and bright future filled with all the children we dreamed of having.

Here is my best advice for how to Prepare for Another Baby after Postpartum Depression

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Continue Treatment

If you don’t already have a treatment plan for your postpartum depression, then establishing one is the first step.  Once your treatment plan is in place, don’t deviate from it – even if you start to feel better.

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If you never initially sought treatment for your postpartum depression but feel like it is under control – it is still worth seeing a doctor, therapist, counselor or other health professional to discuss your options should you experience a relapse of symptoms.

Better Help can help you find a therapist near you.  Visit: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/how-do-i-find-a-therapist-near-me/

Is your treatment plan safe for pregnancy and/or breastfeeding?

Many women avoid pharmaceutical treatments because they want to continue breastfeeding (myself included) and most women avoid pharmaceuticals during pregnancy due to the lack of testing.

So if your normal treatment plan includes anti-depressants then you may need to create a back-up plan.

There are many other safe and natural treatment options available can help to reduce some of the guilt that so often affects mothers who give up breastfeeding in order to take anti-depressants.

Online therapy is a great option to consider if you’re unable to use medication to treat your postpartum depression.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about your current medications if you are planning to have another baby.

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Eliminate Triggers

In the post How to Avoid a Postpartum Depression Relapse I list off some common triggers and how they cause symptoms to reappear long after treatment has begun.

Before adding a new baby to the family, it’s worth considering what triggers your postpartum depression symptoms and trying your best to eliminate them ahead of time.

Financial or marital problems should be worked out in order to avoid added stress.  Illnesses, chronic pain, nutrient deficiencies and the overall state of your health should be addressed.  Practicing yoga and meditation can be a great way to get in better physical and mental health prior to having another baby.

While many triggers will be unavoidable, if you can be in top mental and physical shape prior to getting pregnant again, then you will be more prepared should postpartum depression strike again.

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Document Your Feelings

Writing down everything you’ve gone through can help you to remember what your experience was like at a later date.  Sometimes the things we feel in the heat in the moment can easily be sorted out when our mind is clearer.

If you wrote down any of your thoughts or feelings in a journal of some sort during your first round of postpartum depression, then you should take some time to re-read those entries prior to have another baby and see if they give you some insight.

If you do end up struggling with postpartum depression again after another baby, then document your feelings again so that you can compare both experiences and see if there is a common factor or trigger that you can work on.

You can download this free printable PDF to help you document your journey:

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Speak Up

I know, I know, I’m always talking about how women need to speak up about postpartum depression… but it really makes all the difference!

There are so many reasons why we keep silent about postpartum depression but if we stand any chance of defeating it and avoiding it again, then people need to KNOW about it.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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The more we talk about it, the less taboo it becomes.  We need to stop living in the shadow of postpartum depression – it’s the only way we can eliminate it’s power over us.

If you’re thinking about having another baby after postpartum depression, then everyone in your life should already know about your previous battle with postpartum depression.  It shouldn’t be a shameful secret, but rather a badge of honor.

In addition to your loved ones, your doctor or midwife should know that you suffered from postpartum depression with a previous baby if they don’t already.

Knowing that you have a support system already in place in the event that you suffer the same unfortunate fate again, will help you to prepare for having another baby after postpartum depression.

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Make Sure You’re Ready

Why do you want another baby?  Is it because you’ve always dreamed of having more?  Do you feel like you need to provide a sibling for your child to grow up with?  Does your spouse or partner want another baby?  Do you feel your biological clock ticking?

I’m not saying that any of these reasons are wrong reasons to have a child, as long as it’s what you really want.

If you feel pressured in any way to have another baby, it might be time to do a little soul searching and think carefully if the time is right.

I can give you thousands of tips on how to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression, but unless you are ready – none of them will help.

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Become a Warrior

Speaking up is only the first step to battling postpartum depression.  If it has affected your life – don’t let it get away so easily.  The best way to fight against postpartum depression is to take a stand and help destroy the stigma that surrounds it.

Research postpartum depression and other maternal mental health conditions:

Postpartum Support International

WebMD Postpartum Depression Health Center

Reference.com Postpartum Depression Articles 

Donate to Postpartum Support International 

Participate in this free Postpartum Depression Research Study to help determine the genetic link.

Join postpartum depression support groups on Facebook or an online forum

Tell your postpartum depression story

The more you know about, and are involved with, the postpartum depression community, the better you will be at defeating at.

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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The truth is, if you’ve suffered from postpartum depression before, the chances of suffering from it again are high.  While you may not be able to avoid postpartum depression the second time around, being prepared and educated will help you handle the symptoms and know when and where to turn for help.

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

How to prepare for another baby after postpartum depression

How to Prepare for Another Baby After Postpartum Depression

Kara’s Postpartum Depression Story

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5 Things to Expect in the Aftermath of Postpartum Depression

It’s been 5 years since my battle with postpartum depression first began.  I consider myself a survivor now but living in the aftermath of postpartum depression is nothing like life was before it.

Postpartum depression treatment options are different for everyone but there are a few things to expect on your journey to recovery.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. Expect it to never go away 100%

I had hyperemesis gravidarum with all three of my pregnancies and it was horrific.  But as soon as I pushed the baby out, the nausea went away instantly.  Postpartum depression is not like that.

With treatment, you will get better.  The days will be brighter and the fits of sadness and rage will become fewer and far between.  But it will always be there, deep down inside.  It will be hard to forget the dark days and there will be reminders of them everywhere.

You may go months, years even, living happily as a postpartum depression survivor and then suffer a relapse during a strenuous week of sleep regression or the flu.  My personal postpartum depression treatment requires a consistent self-care routine and I’ve noticed that symptoms tend to rear their ugly head if I don’t keep up with it.

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I think of my postpartum depression like a wound.  It happened and it healed but the scar remains.  Most days I forget all about it but it is always there.


End Your Depression Book


2. Expect to feel guilty

We know that postpartum depression is NOT OUR FAULT.  But accepting that fact is much harder to swallow.  As moms, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves and we often feel guilty for something – our fault or not; we’re not spending enough time with our kids, we’re not giving them the best clothes, food, toys, education, etc. – you name it and a mom’s felt guilty for it.

But the guilt that a postpartum depression survivor feels is much worse than your average mom guilt.  The things we said or did while we were in the raw days of postpartum depression were not us.  We couldn’t control them, we couldn’t anticipate them and we didn’t mean a word of it.

But we remember all of it. And if there were witnesses around, (i.e. an older child or spouse) it’s likely they remember everything too.

So no matter how many times we tell ourselves that it’s not our fault – we can’t help but feel guilty for all the things we said or did during the battle.
It’s not easy to talk about

3. Expect to have different relationships

Postpartum depression changes you.  You can never go back to being the person you were before this.

Your relationship with your spouse or significant other will either be stronger or broken entirely.  They will also be a changed person because you can’t watch someone else go through something like postpartum depression and not feel anything about it afterwards.

You could try this 30 Day Relationship Challenge from To The Altar & After!

But if someone has loved you and stuck with you through the darkest of days then they are a keeper.  If they ran for the hills then you didn’t want them anyway…

The same could be said of your friendships except it’s unlikely they even knew you had postpartum depression.

If you alienated yourself from everyone while you were suffering but did not give an explanation why then you will probably need to do some damage control in the aftermath.

4. Expect to be a stronger woman than you were before

It goes without saying that postpartum depression survivors are some of the strongest women who exist.  (Ok, all “survivors” are strong – perhaps this one sounds cliché… but being forced to suffer from depression during a time in your life when you should be MOST happy is just plain cruel.) 

Once you’ve doubted every single decision you’ve made, questioned your reason for living and hurt people you love – there is not much left that will scare you.  You will reach a point where you think you just can’t handle it anymore – but then you do.

You learn that the limit to how much you can handle is much further than where you thought it was…


5. Expect to WANT to tell your story

While you may have felt ashamed or embarrassed about your condition at the time – afterwards you will be proud to say “I beat postpartum depression.”

You will recognize the all too familiar pain in other women and want to help them.  Since you are stronger now, you don’t care who judges you for what.

And while writing or talking about your experience will be hard and will likely stir up all the guilt you’ve been working so hard to abolish, the freedom you will gain from it is unlike any other.

Sometime in the aftermath of postpartum depression, you will WANT to tell your story, whether it’s to your closest friends and family or complete strangers.

And when you do, others will sympathize with you and relate to you and perhaps you’ll even save a life…

If and when you are ready to share your story – click here to find out how.


Want to tell your postpartum depression story but not sure where to start?  Download this FREE printable PDF workbook

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The Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression vs. No Postpartum Mood Disorder

I’ve given birth to three kids, experienced three similar pregnancies,  labored through three natural, drug-free births, but ended up with three very different postpartum recovery periods…

It’s hard to know for sure if you’re suffering from a maternal mental health disorder, and even then, it’s hard to know which level of intensity you’re experiencing.  The baby blues is something that so many mothers experience, but when do you know if it’s turned into something more?  Postpartum depression is often explained away as a bad case of the baby blues when, in reality, it’s much more serious.  Here’s what it felt like first hand.


*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


The Baby Blues

Shortly after the birth of my first child I experienced symptoms of what I believe were the “baby blues.”  They didn’t last long and they didn’t disrupt my life (much).

The mood swings were my first indicator.  I remember watching my husband interact with the baby while our two dogs sat at his feet watching.  I thought about how the dogs had no idea how much life was changing and I instantly burst into tears.  I’m not usually a sensitive or emotional person so this was a sure sign to me that I was experiencing some type of hormonal imbalance. It was very similar to the mood swings I experienced during pregnancy.

The sleep deprivation added to my emotional state.  The way someone would feel after staying up partying all night long (which may or may not be a familiar feeling for me *wink wink*).  I felt irritable and edgy but sleep (when I could get it) was welcome and helped to alleviate the stress.

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I blamed the extreme “mom brain” on the sleep deprivation as well.  It was probably one of the hardest symptoms for me to manage as someone who prides themselves on having a great memory.  Suddenly I couldn’t multi-task because I would forget what I was doing in the first place.  I wrote down absolutely everything in a log book, significant or not, in a vain attempt to remember when I last fed him.

I felt an overwhelming urge to protect him and I worried a lot about everything he did.  I worried about holding him too much, or not enough.  I worried about the way others were holding him.  I worried about his diaper being put on properly.  I worried about such small and insignificant things (in addition to all the normal motherhood worrying like how much he was eating, pooping and sleeping).

I didn’t bond with the baby as much as I thought I would.  I spent a lot of time talking to him but the lack of a response discouraged me.  I wasn’t absolutely head over heels in love with him the way motherhood is portrayed in the media.  While I didn’t have any negative feelings, I felt very indifferent towards him.

We didn’t get out of the house much at first.  I was extremely overprotective of him and convinced that he would contract bad germs from strangers.  Aside from worrying, I honestly just didn’t feel like leaving the comfort of my own home.

Carseat "No Touching" Sign
Wish I had one of these signs from NikkiDanielDesigns on Etsy.ca

It eventually went away on it’s own.  Similar to a really bad case of PMS, I started to feel “normal” again.  I didn’t cry at the mere thought of something sad and I couldn’t wait to get out of the house and socialize.  By the time he was 2 months old he was smiling, making eye contact and interacting and I did fall head over heels in love with him.


Postpartum Depression

After the birth of my second child, things felt a little bit different.  That first baby that I didn’t bond with?  Well he was two years old now and the absolute center of my world.  So for the first couple months, things were monotonous and scheduled and boring – as long as the baby was concerned, at least.

She had basic needs and I didn’t try too hard to bond with her.  I knew that would happen eventually so I didn’t put too much pressure on myself this time.  The first two months after her birth were extremely busy in my social life so I didn’t have time to stew over the fact that life as I knew it had completely changed.

But when the dust settled and I was left at home, alone, with a toddler and a newborn who wouldn’t stop crying – things changed…
Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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I was tired and emotional but this time I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.  Every time I closed my eyes I thought I heard the baby cry and got up to check on her.  Sometimes it was 15 times in an hour but I couldn’t stop myself because I knew the one time I didn’t check on her would be the time something bad happened.  If someone else offered to look after her while I took a nap, then I would lie in bed for 2 hours worrying if she was alright.

The mood swings were extreme and uncontrollable.  As the weeks went on, I started to despise her.  I blamed her for everything I was feeling.  She felt my negative feelings and cried harder and longer which made me dislike her even more.  But then I would think about how I’ve always wanted to have a daughter and I would suffocate her in love – until she started crying again.  The slightest things could send me into fits of rage and I got offended and jealous very easily.

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I was terrified to leave the house with her.  I was certain she would cry and I wouldn’t be able to handle her and everyone would stare at me and think I was a horrible mother.  So I stayed in my house where no one could judge me.  I avoided contact with almost everyone.

And the worst part of all was that I lied about what I was feeling to everyone.  I felt humiliated and inadequate and worthless but I hid it the best I could.  I dressed the baby up in cute outfits and took cute pictures of her to post on social media.  I posted captions about how much I loved having a baby girl and how all of my dreams had come true but in reality I just wanted to rewind life to a time before she existed.

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The more I tried to “fix” things, the worse they got.  Even when I tried to “snap out of it” the baby was still reacting to my negative energy and crying all day and night.  My brain was full of terrible ways I could get her to shut up but instead I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for what seemed like hours.  The guilt eventually built up huge walls that closed in on me.

For months I battled in silence, not knowing it was postpartum depression.  I kept waiting for this funk to pass, waiting for the “hormones to regulate” but they never did, not without help, that is.

If you need help with what you believe might be postpartum depression, you can speak to an online therapist from Better Help.  For more information visit https://www.betterhelp.com/

For more information about postpartum depression and other maternal mental health disorders, check out this comprehensive guide from Parenting Pod.

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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No Postpartum Mood Disorder

Considering I went to hell and back with my last baby, I must have been absolutely crazy to have another one, right?  The postpartum depression was forefront in my mind but this time I felt more prepared.  I knew what to look for, and I knew that I needed to speak up if I felt something was even a little bit off.

The first time she was placed in my arms, I felt it.  That immediate love that legends were made of.  I couldn’t wait to hold her and I didn’t want to do anything else except just stare at her perfect face.

The early days with her were peaceful and calm – despite the sleepless nights.  The other two children often played with each other and so I had her all to myself.  The fact that she couldn’t talk back to me actually made me want to spend MORE time with her!

Trying to balance three children was definitely a challenge, and extremely overwhelming at times, but instead of being afraid and nervous and frustrated –  I felt excited and determined to make the best of it!

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I felt like I could control my mood.  Even on days when she was extra fussy or I was extra tired, I always managed to stay calm and relaxed around her.  I never felt a sad or negative thought about her.  And she was a calm and relaxed baby because of it.

Initially I worried about how the older children would handle the new baby.  But they never once showed any signs of jealousy towards her and completely welcomed her into our family.  I cried more tears of joy in her first few months than I ever have in my life.

I worried about how much she ate, pooped and slept and whether she was hitting her milestones on time.  Mostly because I was always comparing her to the other children.  In an attempt to get things right this time, I asked a lot of questions, I sought a lot of help and I socialized as often as possible.

I took all three kids out as often as I could.  It was next to impossible to manage all of them in public (and it still is) but I sure didn’t want to get stuck inside the house with them!


I can’t say for certain what factors affected these different postpartum outcomes but this is the way it worked out for me.  After my battle with postpartum depression, having another baby was not in the plans but she surprised us all and I’m glad she did. 

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When I think about life with a newborn, I try my hardest to reflect on the happiness of my last one, but will never forget the darkness that came before.
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The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression

The Baby Blues vs Postpartum Depression vs No Postpartum Mood Disorder

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don’t Speak Up About Having Postpartum Depression

I battled with postpartum depression silently for a long time and didn’t speak a word of it to anyone, nor did I have any intention to.

The reason why I finally decided to share my story was because I was so emotionally moved by the tragic story of a woman from my hometown, Lisa Gibson, who suffered and died from postpartum depression in 2013 (along with her two children).  The story, in itself, was truly heartbreaking but what bothered me the most was the public reaction.  Many people seemed to believe that she got what she deserved.

Her story was a worst case scenario, but I dreaded what others would think of me if they knew the dark thoughts and feelings that I battled with while I had postpartum depression.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy like that to encourage someone to speak up but it made me realize two important things:

1.)  I was not alone.

2.)  We need to annihilate the stigma of postpartum depression.


As a survivor of postpartum depression, bringing awareness and help to others who are suffering is a cause that is close to my heart.  While it can be terrifying to “speak up when you’re feeling down” it is so important both for our own mental health and to help bring awareness about this debilitating condition.

[You can read my own personal story about battling prenatal and postpartum depression here.]

postpartum depression

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

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Check it out! I’ve added to this list in my new post!

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1. We are in denial.  

Prior to becoming a mother myself, I had heard about postpartum depression in all of it’s notorious glory.  But I never, ever, in a million years, thought it would happen to me.  I had ZERO risk factors and an awesome support system.  So when the first few symptoms started popping up, I laughed it off…  “ME??? Postpartum depression??? Never!!!”

This comprehensive guide to maternal mental health disorders from Parenting Pod offers plenty of information to help you understand your symptoms.

Mayo Clinic
Postpartum Depression Risk Factors

2. We think this is “normal” motherhood.

All we ever hear about when it comes to parenting is how hard it is.  The sleep loss, the crying, the breastfeeding struggle – it’s all normal… right?  A brand new mother experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression may assume that this is what everyone meant when they said it was hard.  I’ve heard stories of women opening up to others about what they were feeling, only to be told “welcome to motherhood.”

Think you might have postpartum depression?  Take this quiz from PostpartumDepression.org.

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3. We are terrified of having our child taken away from us.

Obviously we want what’s best for our child but it would be a mother’s worst nightmare to be deemed incapable of caring for her own child (the child who got her into this mess in the first place, might I add).  If anyone knew the thoughts that a mother with postpartum depression has on a regular basis, they would lock her up and throw away the key. (If you are feeling the urge to act upon your bad thoughts, seek help immediately as you may be suffering from a rarer case of postpartum psychosis). 

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4. We are ashamed of ourselves.  

For some reason, society has led us to believe that having postpartum depression is our fault.  Admitting to it is admitting that we were one of the weak ones who fell susceptible to the curse that is postpartum depression.  We feel like terrible people for thinking and feeling the way we do, even though we have no control over it.

5. We are concerned about what others will think of us.

If we are diagnosed with postpartum depression that means we are classified as “mentally ill” and will need to accept the stigma that comes along with that label.  All of a sudden we are dangerous and unpredictable.  Will other people start to question our parenting skills now?  Will they treat us as if we are delicate and fragile and weak?  What will our co-workers or employers think?  Will having postpartum depression jeopardize our futures?

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6. We feel like failures.

This is not the way it was supposed to happen.  In our dreams of becoming mothers we pictured it blissful and beautiful.  We imagined sitting in a rocking chair, singing lullabies to a sleepy, happy baby.  And when it wasn’t like this, we felt like we had failed. We failed our children and robbed them of a happy childhood.  We failed our spouses and robbed them of a happy marriage. We failed ourselves and all of our dreams of motherhood.  No one ever wants to admit that they are a failure.

Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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7. We think we can cure ourselves.

We think it will go away on it’s own, eventually.  Or maybe we are planning to tell someone when it gets worse… it just hasn’t yet.

We think that if we sleep a little more, relax a little more, meditate and do yoga that our postpartum depression will magically go away and so there’s no need to burden anyone else with our problems.  Self-care while battling postpartum depression is extremely important but it’s highly unlikely that the symptoms will go away without a proper treatment plan.

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8. We don’t trust the medical system.

It’s a sad truth that many women who open up about postpartum depression still don’t get the help they need.  Unless you already have a trusting relationship with a medical professional it can be difficult to find the right person to seek help from with such a personal matter.  The fear is that we’ll be told we’re over-exaggerating, drug seekers or that it’s all in our head.

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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Regardless of how difficult it is to find good help, it’s so necessary to seek treatment.  Postpartum depression will NOT go away on it’s own, and even if the feelings do subside after a while, there is always chance of a relapse.

9. We feel alone.

We’ve joined online support groups.  We read the posts and silently agree without so much as a “like.” The women write about how they’re exhausted and overwhelmed.  They talk about how they can’t sleep at night, how they can’t eat or can’t stop eating and how they worry about everything all the time.  And we can relate to that.

But what those women don’t talk about is the bad thoughts they have.  It’s incriminating and requires a *trigger warning* and what if no one else feels the same way?

I’m here to tell you that I don’t care what bad thoughts you have, I don’t want nor need to know what they are because chances are, I’ve had them too.  You don’t have to say them out loud.  You can pretend like you didn’t even think them, so long as you know that you are not the only person who has thought them.  You are not alone.

To prove it to you, here is a list of postpartum depression stories from other brave mothers who have been through the worst of the worst and still managed to survive (myself included).

Postpartum Depression Blog Posts
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If you’ve read this entire post and can relate to all 9 of these things, then it’s time to do something about it.  Staying silent about postpartum depression helps no one.

Start by downloading this FREE printable PDF workbook to help you collect your thoughts and come to terms with what you are feeling and how you want to say it.

Then, write out your story.  It doesn’t have to be pretty – in fact, it probably won’t be.  But don’t hold back.  Think about all of the real and raw things you wish someone else had been brave enough to tell you.

Next, decide if you are ready to tell it.  Do you want to tell someone close to you or would you prefer to anonymously release it into the world for other mothers with PPD to read?  Either way is fine, as long as you’re not keeping it all inside.

If and when you are ready to tell your story – click here to find out how.
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9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up about Having Postpartum Depression
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