Surviving Postpartum Depression

by Janice

This week at Guideposts, I shared my struggles with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety and my advice for moms facing depression.

In the early weeks of my first pregnancy, I braced myself for the misery of morning sickness.

At seven weeks, when the nausea hit, it was worse than I’d imagined. I had pictured an upset stomach, maybe a bit of vomiting in the morning. I hadn’t foreseen an all-day sickness that made my mouth taste like dirt and made me loathe even the thought of food.

But I found comfort knowing I wasn’t alone. As I gagged on Saltine crackers, I reminded myself that it was a normal part of pregnancy. It would come to an end.

What I was completely unprepared for was the anxiety disorder that accompanied my pregnancy hormone surge.

I had always been a “worrier.” But whatever worries or anxiety I had experienced before paled in comparison to the panic and fears that took over my barely pregnant body.

When my son finally arrived, I was overcome with love. I adored him. But I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t sleep. I could barely force air into my lungs…

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Have you experienced depression and anxiety? What has helped you get through the rough times?

Written by Janice.
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Email Author    |    Website About Janice

Janice is co-founder of 5 Minutes For Mom. She's been working online since 2003 and is thankful her days are full of social media, writing and photography. You can see more of her photos at janicecrozephotography.com.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jennifer Allen June 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Honestly, getting into a good workout routine that I do first thing in the morning is the most amazing cure for the blues that I’ve come accross yet. Especially when it is outside in the fresh air rather than a stuffy gym and involves other women. It gets me out, gets me moving, gets me laughing and social and helps me appreciate the beauty of life around me. It pumps me up and gives me energy for the tougher parts of my day. Plus, it’s one hour away from all my responsibilities, from the constant needs of my family and gives me that time for just me.

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2 samantha jo campen June 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm

I was very anxious and depressed as well–coming off of a month of bedrest with a 5 week premature baby who eneded up being colicky didn’t help either. I went back on my anitdepressants and that helped a lot. I wanted to go into therapy but sadly we couldn’t afford it. I know what to prepare for when we have our next one, whenever that will be.

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3 Cynthia June 4, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Every time I read a post on post partum depression I travel back to the time following my son’s birth. Those days were dark and scary. I suffered for almost five years with depression and rage. I felt like I was crazy. Unfortunately the doctors I spoke with poo-pooed my symptoms and said that it would pass… that most new mothers feel this way. After much research and using my body as a laboratory, I have discovered that the source of my depression was depleted adrenals. It was physical and not all in my head. There is an amazing book by Dr Mark Hyman entitled ‘The UltraMind Solution’ that addresses depression and anxiety as well as other “mental” illnesses. The book is written in easy to understand language and provides examples as well as solutions for creating healthy bodies. Perhaps it will give you an alternative route to health as well.

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4 Carmen Sweeney-Rios June 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm

Thank you for being one of the few who are choosing to speak up and share their story and (sometimes slow) recovery. I, too, am recovering from sever postpartum depression and anxiety that has been ongoing for the better part of eighteen years. There is hope. There is light ahead. Great tips for others who are or may in the future suffer the same. I can’t wait to hear more inspiration from you!

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5 Maggie June 4, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Thank you so much for bringing this common, yet often undiagnosed, condition to light. I also had severe PPD as well as anxiety. I suffered for 4+ years the first time around. Therapy and medication only took the edge off. Then after my 2nd pregnancy I really began to heal. I remain on medication, 12 years later. It has now become a part of me and I realize it’s necessary for my survival. PDD, anxiety and clinical depression can’t always be helped by a little exercise or a change of scenery. Sometimes it’s more involved than that. I’m glad you were able to get the help you needed, Janice, and are willing to share that with all of us!

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6 mummyof5monsters June 4, 2009 at 5:11 pm

have had depression/PND since i was 15. Has come back full force since Fatboy was born almost 18 months ago. I have chosen not to take medication ( right now, i have been on it between pregnancies) and can struggle. I have come to realize over the last 2 years that i have to accept depression is part of me, and just deal with everyday as it comes.

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7 moosh in indy. June 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm

as someone who tried to kill herself when she was pregnant?
WERD.

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8 Mozi Esmes Mommy June 5, 2009 at 3:40 am

Thanks for sharing on an often-hidden topic…

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9 Jessica June 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

Thank you for sharing. I too went through post partum with my second child. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever dealt with in my life.

Having such a supportive husband was the number one thing that got me through my difficult times.

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10 Janice June 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Thank you so much for sharing ladies!!! {{{HUGS}}}

Like mummyof5monsters has done, I have accepted that depression is part of my life. Perhaps miraculously one day it might vanish, but really I just accept it as one of my life challenges.

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11 Rachel June 5, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Great post, Janice!! I too struggled with PPD – it is not an easy struggle, and it is so true what you said about that when you’re in it, it’s impossible to see that it won’t always be this way.

My biggest struggle with it is getting over the fear of it coming back and being willing to get pregnant again (I blogged about that here: http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2009/01/why-my-answer-is-still-no-time-soon.html). I’ve DEFINITELY come a long way, and God is helping me prepare for that time.

Thanks for sharing! It’s always so good to know that there are others out there willing to talk about it!!

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12 Casual Friday Every Day June 9, 2009 at 10:34 pm

I had it bad with my second born, and it has creeped up on me a bit now. Funny thing is, in the beginning I was lost in such love that I wasn’t feeling PPD at all. Seems like the last few months it has hit. Or maybe, to be honest, it’s just all the other crap I have to deal with on a daily basis with my family. Who knows. I do know that I’ve been on meds before, and am not opposed to them. We all have to do what we have to do. Period.

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13 Alane June 14, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Thank you so much for writing this!!
I’ve had a very similar journey only without anxiety & I was able to fight through the depression with my first child. (now in hindsight it’s obvious I had PPD) But when I had numbers 2 & 3 just 14 months later? WHAMO…it hit me hard & I’ve been on anti-depressents ever since. Turns out I’ve had mild depression since childhood & the stress of 3 kids in 2 years made it get stronger. Like you, this is something I’ll always fight & I do have bad times but they always pass & I’m SO thankful I have my wonderful kids (who are now 7 & soon-to-be 6-X2.)
So many find PPD to be shameful & hide it but I’m glad to share my story in hopes it will encourage someone going through a similar situation that is ok, normal & there is lots of help out there for them.
God bless!

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14 Pamela January 15, 2010 at 10:52 am

“But when those times come, I just wait out the storm. I reach out for help and sometimes I let the tears fall. And then the good days return. My son makes me laugh, my daughter makes me smile, and I thank God that I am their mother.”

^^This is an amazing paragraph!

Just knowing that we’re not alone is a huge comfort. I’m always trying to reach out and educate those who need it.

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