Post Partum Depression Can Sneak Up on You, No Matter What...and is More Common That You Would Thnk
This post probably sounds angry. The truth is that two years and a
successful VBAC later, I'm still angry. I won't apologize for that.
This isn't something I talk a lot about in real life, much less on here,
but I feel that it is something that should be talked about, so here
You come home from the hospital with your cute little bundle of joy and reality sets in. You're sleep deprived, stressed because you have no idea what you're doing and your hormones are crazy so you're crying/yelling/whatever all the time. However, this all goes away within a week or two and you get into a routine with your little one and things get so much easier...or so they should.
Around Ewan's first birthday I started feeling normal again. But, I found out I was pregnant almost exactly a month later...fast forward about 4 months to right after we bought our house when I started reacting to triggers again. I started seeing a therapist, who helped me realize that I was suffering from prenatal depression (or my ppd just never went away) and that everything stemmed from Ewan's birth. His birth story can be found here, but let's just say that it was the exact opposite of everything I wanted and thought I was so educated to get. I wound up with a c-section and it was the hospital's policy to take the baby to the nursery with dad while mom stayed in recovery and they would be re-united in a postpartum room, not to mention having my baby ripped from me instead of the natural birth I wanted. (Oh yeah, did I mention that the hospital was a teaching hospital and
the student who stapled me did it backwards so that they had to be dug
out of my skin when they were taken out?) Alan wasn't given the option to cut the cord and all I saw of Ewan was a brief glimpse as a nurse took him to be cleaned off and then was able to touch him very briefly before he was whisked away. Well, I was separated from him for 3 hours because my blood pressure skyrocketed after the surgery. When we were finally reunited, I couldn't get him to latch and I just lost it. To be honest, it took me months to bond with him and while I love him desperately, I still don't have the connection with him that I do with Cecily. Believe me, I feel like a horrible person and mother for saying that, but it's the truth.
I have since become obsessed with reading c-section stories and rehashing Ewan's birth and my pregnancy over and over again. My first mistake was not running screaming in the other direction when my ob practice had me sign a c-section consent DURING my pregnancy. Yes, absolutely ludicrous. Yet, I thought I was so educated and that it wasn't going to happen to me, so it didn't matter. I also should've switched hospitals once I found out how much Crozer Chester Medical Center in Upland, PA sucked. Their policies are horrendous and I hope that anyone reading this from the Philadelphia area takes this to heart and goes somewhere else. Thirdly, I should've had a doula. I didn't think we needed one, but we did. Definitely did. I needed someone there who could advocate for me when I wasn't in the right state of mind to do so myself. Yes, my mom and husband were there, but neither of them knew what needed to be done either.
To this day, it makes me incredibly angry to hear "at least he came out healthy,
that's all that matters" because no it's not. This is usually from women who never have
been through it. It makes me so angry because they have no idea the
emotional wreck my son's birth made me. They have no clue. You can't unless you've been through it. And what's made it even worse for me is that I thought since I had Cecily vaginally, I would magically be better. Here are a few articles on delayed post partum depression , emotional recovery from a cesarean and comforting a woman traumatized by a cesarean. There are things in here that fit me to a "T." These are excellent reads and I highly recommend them.
I know this turned into a c-section sucks post, but that's at the root of my post-partum depression so I wanted to get it out there.