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Postpartum Mood Disorders

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Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum Psychosis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and others

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My Story...

Before I was pregnant with my first son, I had moved away from home to go to school and be with my partner. We loved each other tons and had a great relationship going. Sponteneity, passion and fun were the main course. Our one weakness was communication, and is something we have to work on daily. When we became pregnant, we were pleasantly surprised, and totally excited and nervous. Over the course of pregnancy, hormones took over. Looking back, the course of each day would depend on what my hormones were doing...often up and down, like an emotional roller coaster. There were many things going on that caused stress, and I felt distant from my partner much of the time. Not to say that it was his fault, just the way things were happening. I also didn't really have any friends while living there, so the only way I could interact with those I knew was over the phone or the internet. It was quite lonely and I was really depressed sometimes. Plus I was getting parenting anxiety, starting to feel trapped about the upcoming lifestyle I was about to transition into. I was worried that my life was about to be "over," especially as it got nearer to the end of pregnancy.

We had to move when I was 8 months pregnant. That in itself was stressful, and my partner and I were losing our connection, forgetting to communicate. We were arguing a lot, and I was worried about the future of our relationship. Although I didn't know it at the time, I am fairly certain now that I had prenatal depression and anxiety. I am pretty sure my partner had his own depression and anxiety going on as well. Herbs were the only thing that helped me to hold on to myself and keep my moods stable enough to try to be positive throughout the pregnancy. I often found myself saying "We're about to have a baby. This is supposed to be a joyful time! Why aren't we happy?"

When our son was born, it was so overwhelming. We were overjoyed with this precious creature that we were responsible for, but we struggled with the transition tremendously. Money issues, jobs, and career conflicts, meshing with new roles and unrealistic expectations created a lot of tension. I knew something was wrong. Many of my days I felt hopeless, lonely, and frustrated. I couldn't sleep. I was afraid of falling asleep because I did not want to have to wake up in the morning. I didn't want to face another day. I would look to the sky and think "Somebody take me now!"

At the time I thought it was just life stress and relationship issues, and that I just had to "deal with it." I am certain I had some postpartum mood disorder. Only, the good days would convince me otherwise, and then I denied anything was wrong. Again, herbs and adjusting my diet helped me to stabalize my moods. I never thought it was bad enough to seek out further help. I wish I had. Things never got better. We had to move again, into my mother-in-law's home, when our son was 4 months old. While staying there, things were better in some ways, and worse in other ways. I had more company, but there was also family drama. I continued to ride the emotional roller coaster that I thought would be over two weeks after the birth. I always blamed my hormones, but they never normalized when it is traditionally thought that they should. I wanted to return to my original home, where I thought I would receive more support, physically and emotionally. My partner didn't want to leave, but I couldn't take it anymore. Something big had to change. I was spiralling downward quick.

Our son was 6 months old when we returned home. We stayed at my parents house and my partner had a job immediately. Things were okay for those first couple of months, though I was exhausted from everything. So exhausted! We moved into a separate part of my grandmother's house when our son was almost a year old. We struggled financially and still argued a lot. Parenting with depression and anxiety has been so difficult. I needed more help, help that I didn't feel like I had a right to ask for. After all, we had made all these decisions, we had to deal with it ourselves, right? I wish I knew to make getting help a priority.

There are always exaggerated highs and lows, and I find myself either in denial that the postpartum depression exists, or I am certain there is something very wrong and that we need help. I became pregnant with our second son, and was again overjoyed, but worried that I'd spiral really low again. I did suffer a lot of prenatal anxiety and depression, and felt like I was repeating old patterns. I made an attempt to see a counselor, but somehow that fizzled out. I am now finally recognizing that this has been a chronic issue that demands attention, and our second son is almost 3 months old, almost 3 years since I found out I was pregnant with our first son.

I am taking on the challenge of finding someone in my area that can help me. It's taking a lot of persistence and hope to not give up. I will post links and resources, thoughts and ideas on this page as I continue my journey, in hopes that I may help someone else who is going through something similar. The hardest part is looking for and asking for help. I am finally making that huge step.

What are Postpartum Mood Disorders?
http://psychotherapy.com/mom.html
http://www.ppdsupportpage.com/document.html
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/postpartum-mood-disorders-common-complex-distinct-and-treatable/

Postpartum Support International
Find Local Support & Resources, Links, Discussion Forum, International Referals, Helpline, Books, Literature, Articles, News, and more!

Fruit of the Womb
Michelle Pier
P.O. Box 2844 Hagatna, GU 96932
(671) 472-1284