Postpartum Almost Ended Our Family is a truth in parenting post about the struggles of dealing with postpartum anxiety, depression, and birth control.
Someone was going to sneak into our house and harm us all. I knew it. I had a feeling in my gut it was going to happen. If I didn’t stand at the door and watch the garage door completely shut, someone was going to slip under it, hide out in our garage, and wait until I opened the door again to harm us.
The first time I had this thought, I shut the door to our garage and chuckled to myself. “Larisha, you are crazy.” I brushed it off, and went about the day. Our second baby was roughly three weeks on when this happened. I didn’t give it much thought. It was just me being a little paranoid with a new baby in the house.
I frantically woke up. The baby wasn’t breathing.
I screamed at my toddler because she spilt her cup.
I frantically woke up. The baby wasn’t next to me. Someone must have taken her.
The garage incident happened again.
My chest would feel like my heart was going to pound out of chest and my throat would feel like someone was strangling me.
The garage incident happened again.
6 Week Postpartum Visit
This and multiple other events happened before I even reached my 6 week postpartum appointment with my OBGYN. When the day of the appointment arrived, I burst out into tears. I knew that something was wrong, but I was terrified. How much did I disclose? If I said too much, I felt like they were going to admit me and take my children away.
Looking back on it now, I feel like this is likely the #1 reason most moms don’t speak up more. We are terrified that someone is going to take our children away. Women would much rather suffer than have it happen. We will bear the weight of the entire world on our shoulders if that means that our children stay with us.
I gave enough information that they agreed it was beyond “baby blues”. It was at that appointment that I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and depression. I was put on Zoloft and also started the mini pill because it was the safest form of birth control for breastfeeding (so I was told).
It got worse before it got better.
While I could tell the Zoloft was helping, my burst of anger towards everyone, including my new baby, and extreme mood swings almost left my relationship with Andrew in shambles. I would go back and forth feeling helpless that I was this horrible mother only for the next day to burst out again. Every time, almost immediately I felt guilt. I was a monster. My children and Andrew didn’t deserve this and I knew that, but I couldn’t control it. I would go days without be upset and then go days of constantly being on edge.
There were certain things – like taking a shower alone or being outdoors that helped, but we don’t have the support to have help often, so many times because of that and Andrew’s long work hours I was left alone with both kids. All the while, I tried to act to the outside world that everything was really okay when it wasn’t. The combination of everything was almost unbearable for Andrew and I to continue being happy together and because of that our relationship almost ended on more than one occasion through our trials with how I was feeling.
The Mini Pill
A few months went by and I learned through an outside source that the mini pill side effects could be depression and mood swings. I immediately stopped taking the pill and within a week noticed a huge difference in my mood. As someone who reads so much about what medicines I’m giving to my children, I couldn’t believe I didn’t do this for myself.
Where We Are Now
Around the time I stopped taking it, I had already scheduled my appointment to have my tubes removed. Looking back on it now, I’ll admit, I wonder if I made the right decision. We always wanted more than two children, but with the anxiety and depression, I knew if I had another child it would likely be the end of our relationship for good. It wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
I’m in a much better place, but we still have moments of craziness. With a 5 and almost 3 year old, I chalk that up to being parenting. Andrew and I are in a better place now but it doesn’t go without the fear that we could have lost it all.
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