I Finally Caught A Break In My Postpartum Depression

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“You can see the lights so much better at night because it’s dark outside. The green traffic light means go, the red one means stop. That’s how you know what to do with the car.”

She rubbed her eyes and her cry slowed to a whimper. “That’s where there used to be a store called Smillie’s. Everybody called it smiley’s, but I think that’s goofy because it looks like it should be Smilly. Mommy never went there before.”

Her eyes were wide open, but she wasn’t crying anymore. We were originally going to stop to fill up the car and allow me to nurse her, but my husband whispered, “want me to keep going?”

I said sure. After a few more minutes of talking to her, her eyes were still wide open, but she put her hand in mine. She has never once held my hand in the car, never until now. Her tears dried, and now I followed her eyes as they leapt from building to bus to light to building. For the next 15 minutes I explained everything on the other side of that window.

Her eyes were heavy as we pulled into our apartment complex. But, perhaps even more incredible was that I was calm. My own low, quiet voice had calmed me down. I felt like I had shed every horrible, destructive suicidal thought back at that gym. I felt like the very thing that had triggered this depression, the very reason I can barely get out of bed in the morning, the very thing that makes my afternoons a gray purgatory, was now the only thing that could possibly help me. I’ve always known how much she needs me. But that night I saw how I needed her, too, and how through mothering her, I can mother myself. My baby was okay. I was okay.

I took off her coat and shoes and took her to the bedroom. She fell asleep at my side within minutes.

(photo: idiz / Shutterstock)

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  1. Justme

    January 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

    Don’t give up the volleyball. It saved my life too. 🙂

  2. msenesac

    January 31, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I’m sorry you are struggling so much. I have had depression before so when my first came along last year, I was looking out for PP. Thankfully, the reverse seemed to happen- I loved my son and couldn’t deal with anyone else. A couple of months later, I started going to a trainer 2x/week to weight lift. Getting out of the house and burning some steam evened me out tremendously. You probably already know this, but try to leave your apt and do something for yourself more than once/week. Even if it is just walking/jogging for 30 min. Having a life outside of being a mom was a huge help for me to balance myself out.

  3. BK

    February 1, 2013 at 12:33 am

    It makes me so sad and upset that you can’t do anything about your PPD because of your healthcare situation. That’s horrible, but I’m glad that you have something that can help.

  4. Jen

    February 1, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Thank you for sharing this! My daughter is 13 months old, and I have been struggling with PPD without health care as well. This post spoke to me, gave my thoughts and feelings a voice. Thank you for the reminder to take comfort in those moments of mental clarity no matter how few and far between they may be.

  5. AD

    February 1, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Stop smoking.

    • Justme

      February 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Although I appreciate your concern for her overall physical health, quitting smoking at this fragile stage in her life could actually do MORE psychological harm.

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  7. Sarah

    February 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this. I had ppd after my daughter was born for about fourteen months, and I wasn’t even aware of it until it lifted. The difference was striking. It is so encouraging to know I wasn’t alone. Good luck and happy thoughts with you as you struggle through this.

  8. Carm

    February 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Great story. We share the same grey afternoons. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Katia

    February 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    1. Stop smoking or stop nursing (for your child’s health. I’ve never used formula but wouldnt it be better than tainted milk?!
    And use some cash to go get a prescription for antidepressants. You may even be offered a sample. Should be money well spent. My friends cousin offed herself 2 months ago due to ppd. Hope you get better soon
    2. I can totally relate to your car story. Down tothe lean over nursing (what were we thinking? ) And your feelings.
    I find that talking helps the mood. Being alone with a baby and not talking can lead to a bad mood. Also it should hasten language development, right? This is discussed in the wonderful book “bringing up bebe”- your Car anecdote would fit right in.

  10. Peggy

    February 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a bit comforting to know that the feelings I’ve been having the past year are part of my recently diagnosed depression rather than just my pessimism taking over. The fear that people aren’t really my friends, the paranoia whenever I walk out of a room, feeling like I’m a burden on everyone who loves me….I was fortunate to undergo evaluation and be prescribed a low dose anti depressant which is helping, and many of those feelings are fading away slowly. I wish you luck as you continue to battle this illness.

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