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Post Postpartum Depression

January 26, 2012
by Erin B

Something no one ever tells you about postpartum depression is what to do afterwards.  How do you re-contact your best friend whom you haven’t spoken to since shortly after your baby was born?  I don’t know…

Hi, it’s been a while.  Yeah, Little Girl is three now, I know you haven’t seen her since she was able to hold her head up but I was bio-chemically incapable of contacting you for the last two or three years.  Can we just pretend that never happened?

Oh, yeah, I did go back to work for about eight months after my mat leave was up.  I spent a couple of hours a day hiding in the bathroom and weeping and I quit when they started procedures to fire me. But I’m better now, really.

I never told you about being depressed?   T and my doctor were the only people who knew how bad it was.  Even when I likely could have saved my job by sharing, I just couldn’t tell anyone.  It’s isn’t even that I was ashamed, it just never honestly occurred to me to say anything.   It’s not like how wacky sleep patterns, lethargy and random crying jags come up in conversation.  If I was even capable of having a conversation.  Which, really, I wasn’t.

The books also don’t say that you won’t know how bad it is until you are better, but you don’t.  I went to the support groups.  I was doing better than most of the ladies there.  I was taking care of my  daughter and myself.  I was eating properly, she was eating properly.  We got out of the house on a regular basis.  I got up and showered and got dressed and got her dressed and even went to work for a while.   Even after I left my job and I became a stay at home mom, I found a baby group or something to do with other people three or four times a week.  I was getting out.  I never considered harming myself or others.  I thought I was doing great.

But I wasn’t.  I wasn’t enjoying my life.  I had lost my ability to laugh.  I didn’t even really notice that it was gone.  I also lost my ability to reach out to others.  If T and some friends hadn’t organized a games night for me, I likely wouldn’t have done anything social for myself at all.  I didn’t really notice that was a problem because, after all, I was taking Little girl to all kinds of play dates and library events and getting her lots of socialization.   It wasn’t really apparent to me that people I used to talk to several times a week suddenly hadn’t been part of my life in months.

When I say I was bio-chemically incapable of having a conversation…. I really feel like that is true.  I didn’t see it that way at the time.  I was tired, but what new mom isn’t?  I spent all day with a non-verbal tiny person doing new mom stuff.  Who wants to hear about how many diaper changes you did in a day or how nap time went?  I blamed lack of subject matter to talk about.  In hind sight, that isn’t right.  Before postpartum depression and now that I feel better I can follow current events (at least a little) and talk about what other people are doing even if I still don’t have exciting days.  When I was depressed, I could sit and listen but I wasn’t really contributing anything.  Since I was going to social things all the time, I didn’t notice that I wasn’t really participating in them.

I know that many, MANY women have postpartum depression much worse than I did.  I know there are moms out there that can’t get dressed or leave the house or do start having suicidal thoughts.  I know that they need the most help and the most attention.  I know that I am lucky that I didn’t get to that point.  I also want to recognize that even when depression isn’t crippling, it still has a profound impact on your life and your interactions (or lack of) with others.  Before I lived through this and came out the other side, I hadn’t ever thought about how even a little depression can have a big impact on your life.

The books I read also never talked about how once you are better you maybe want to expand your family.  Have another baby.  They didn’t talk about the fear that everything will fall apart again and you will miss another three years of your daughter’s life.  They didn’t talk about grieving for the babies you will never have.  I think I have finally come to terms with that last one, but it took awhile and it really was a grieving process.

I feel much better now.  I have felt better for about six or eight months, but …. Now that I am better I want to start reconnecting with my old life and I’m not really sure how.   People don’t talk about depression, so how do you talk about life after depression?  I think I start by writing about it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. LAT permalink
    January 26, 2012 2:28 pm

    *hugs*

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