The Dark Side of Motherhood, Part 3 | Back Home Again: The Dark Side of Motherhood, Part 3

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Dark Side of Motherhood, Part 3

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 goes.

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.
I thought this was the case with me after Ewan was born. But, around the time I had my gallbladder removed and we moved to Evansville a week later, I started reacting to triggers. I'm not going to get into what all was happening, but it was bad. Really bad. It took me awhile to realize what was happening, but I felt like I belonged in the loony bin. Unfortunately, I didn't get help for months, even though I knew I needed it. Admitting that I had a problem and that I couldn't fix it myself and needing help was and is a really hard thing for me to accept and do.

Around Ewan's first birthday I started feeling normal again. But, I found out I was pregnant almost exactly a month 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.
But, let's fast forward to 8 weeks postpartum after Cecily. I had no issues whatsoever after she was born and I thought I was in the clear, especially since I have come to realize that this has been triggered because of the trauma of Ewan's birth. Nope. It just sneaks up on you and bam. Guess what. I've started reacting to triggers again, just the same as I did after Ewan was born. This time, I knew the signs and I realized right away what was happening and I thought I was dealing with it. Nope. Not so much.

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.


  1. if i've learned anything from my divorce it's to not listen or take advice from ANYONE who has not been in your shoes. just as with this c-section and delivery. it's hard. EFFING HARD. you want to just lose it. but this too shall pass. and you are over hearing that. lol. but every new day is a step in the right direction. i'm always an email away. take it out on an email. i'm here to listen. xoxo

    and you're a great mom. they are lucky to have you!!

  2. I'm sorry you are still struggling with PPD, I think you certainly have a right to be angry with Ewan's birth. It was traumatic. Thank goodness Cecily's went the way you wanted it to - Cheers to your VBAC! :) If you need me - please reach out to me. I know I haven't been through what you have but I am a great listener! I'm only a call, text, 2 minute drive away!

  3. I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I wish I could offer something better, but I haven't gone through it myself so I'm not the best person to say anything.

    I wish PPD wasn't seen as somehow being wrong or shameful though. It seems as though women that suffer from it are afraid of how they'll be viewed by other mothers. :-( maybe if at least one mom going through PPD will see this and seek the help they need though.

    It's completely different, but I occasionally feel resentful of the women who've gone through a normal pregnancy. I've never had that since I found out so late with Dylan and have had two miscarriages now. I'd just love to have a pregnancy where we can go through everything together so I get upset when I see people complain about having to go to the doctor to get a check up.

  4. hugs to you! you know my thoughts on all of this already!

  5. I'm so sorry. Obviously I have no experience with birth one way or the other (yet) so I can't understand what you went through. It is brave of you to write about your experience though and I'm sure it will help many others.


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