What is wrong with me? Why do I feel this way? Does anyone care about me? Am I going to hurt myself ? Does the baby really love me? These are the types of questions I asked myself every day during the immediate months after I gave birth. In fact, the months following the birth of my first child were very tumultuous. My mind was completely inundated with dark thoughts.
My postpartum depression crisis was starting to take over my life. I knew I was in trouble when I did not feel like the woman I was before. My thoughts were demented and my sleep pattern was unpredictable. Prayer and family support helped alleviate some of my symptoms. However, deep down inside I knew I needed professional help. After giving birth for the first time, my body experienced an undercurrent of raw emotion. For hours at a time, I would cry inconsolably. I lost all interest in the things I use to do. I began to developed a horrible self-image. In fact, I became very self-deprecating. I would go days without showering or grooming myself. Postpartum depression was starting to break me down. As each day passed by, my thoughts started getting darker and darker. At one point, I became afraid because I could not control the thoughts that popped into my head. Eventually, I decided to seek professional help.
I finally decided to let my guard down and I called my primary care physician. I finally had the courage to tell her truth about how I felt since giving birth. During the immediate months after I gave birth, I would visit my PCP and lie about how I felt. I was so ashamed and embarrassed about the dark thoughts I had been contemplating. Once I exposed my inner emotions to my PCP, I felt better. She referred to me to a mental health specialist. After weeks of group therapy, I started to feel stable. Periodically, my mother and sister would visit me and take care of my baby. I started taking better care of myself. Once I started to repair myself, naturally, I became a better mother. I am so grateful for the love and support I received from my family and friends. I am so honored to be a mother. I love having my child in my life.
Unfortunately, some women do have a built-in support system. The young woman pictured above was someone just like you and me. Allison was a young mother who tragically took her own life in June 2016. She was a first time mom battling with postpartum depression. This topic is very near and dear to my heart. Postpartum depression is silent killer of woman. Society as a collective whole should work together to de-stigmatize misconceptions surrounding postpartum depression.