Over 1 million women each year experience postpartum mood disorders.
This is her postpartum depression story.
I know a lot of people don’t talk about postpartum depression. And a hell of a lot less talk about needing medication to treat PPD. But, hey, I’ve already told the internets that (at one point) my vag looked like Mickey Rourke and that I poop with my feet on a stool, so why stop the self-humiliation there?
When I had my daughter, my postpartum experience was a shitstorm I never wanted to repeat. Not only was I extremely depressed (baby blues, my ass!), but I also had a cancer scare, developed a thyroid problem, got two bacterial infections, and found out my mom has Parkinson’s Disease.
Needless to say, I went down and went down hard. I never really recovered.
Queue the after-effects of having a baby in an already-depressed person, throw in the obstacles thrown in my path, take away all things that resemble sleep, and add an infant who cried from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. every day, and you had me: one hot mess of a mama. Let’s just say it was not pretty.
I lost friends, alienated the ones I loved, lost all sense of self-worth. The only thing I managed to do right was to be a good mom. But that’s ALL that I was. Outside of being a mom, I was a shadow of my former self.
I started therapy right before I got pregnant again. I didn’t want to start medication since we were planning another baby and the jury is still out on the effects of being on anti-depressants while pregnant. Therapy helped and things evened up a bit when I actually got pregnant, but I was never really there. I participated in my life, but didn’t have an active role in it. I didn’t realize it then, but I hadn’t experienced true happiness in years.
I decided to take control before The Crazy Train of postpartum depression even left the station. I started anti-depressants in the hospital right after I had my son and had a prescription filled for when I got home.
So far? Best. Decision. I. Have. Ever. Made.
Now that I am actually receiving effective treatment, I feel something I haven’t felt in a long time: happiness. I didn’t know how far out of control my depression had gotten until I actually did something to address it. Now, not only does the medication not sap me of all emotion, but it has actually helped me feel real emotion again. I actually feel like I AM someone again. I feel joy, sadness, relief, anxiety, love. I feel everything. I’m not just a passenger on the back of the bus of my life. I’m actually driving again and it feels fantastic.
Now, are medications an easier choice for me because I am a formula mama? Sure as hell are. Is there something you can do even if you are not? Yep – talk to someone: a friend, your doctor, your priest, your mom.
Hell, talk to me!
Having a baby is hard. Having a baby while struggling with depression feels impossible. It’s not your fault and you are no less of a mom for having it. Just get help. I did this time and I feel real again. I feel whole. I feel strong.
I feel like me.
That’s right – I know you’re reading this right now. This post is for those who come here to read stories, but haven’t submitted their own… yet.
(Before you start thinking, “this girl is nonsense, just let me read in peace,” hear me out, okay?)
When I first stumbled on to the Band Back Together site, I had massive steel walls up. Sharing anything that made me vulnerable was a HUGE no-no.
The devil on my shoulder told me that The Band was everything I didn’t deserve – supportive, honest people talking about REAL shit without fear. That stupid devil told me I had nothing to offer; no one could possibly relate to me. (Needless to say, those negative messages ran through all aspects of my life, not just about submitting a story here.)
So, I became a silent lurker.
Every single post led me to believe that I, in fact, was not alone. Life deals us all some horrendous, ugly crap.
Finally, I shoved that devil off my shoulder and decided to submit something.
The first moment I pressed submit, my heart fluttered with fear. Fear that I’d done something horribly wrong.
But you can probably figure out the rest of the story – nothing went wrong. In fact, it went truly, unbelievably RIGHT.
The Band told me I am brave, worthy of love, and not alone – three things that are incredibly hard, but important, to hear. In order to knock that devil off my shoulder for good, I needed to read those comments that were a direct response to writing I submitted.
As that devil lost his power, I had the urge to write about absolutely everything that was eating me up inside because I knew The Band would be there for me with unconditional support, hope, and virtual hugs. And, damn it feels so good to have that for the first time in my life.
Maybe you’re reading this right now and think:
–No one can relate to what I’m going through;
–My story isn’t worth reading; and/or
–I am not a good writer.
STOP. IT. RIGHT. NOW. All of those thoughts went through my mind, and let me tell you, NONE of it is true. That devil is trying to trick you, and you gotta FIGHT BACK.
You are 110% worth becoming part of The Band. It might be hard writing your first submission – in fact, it SHOULD be scary because you’re probably writing about something that you rarely talk about. But trust me: THIS is the place to do it. You owe it to yourself.
I was terrified, and maybe you are, too.
But if I can do it, so can you.
I know this is going to sound totally gross and the more I go on the grosser it’s going to sound, but please, hear me out. I’m in trouble here, folks.
I think my boss wants to sleep with me
When I say I think, I mean I’m about 97.5% certain.
He’s not just my boss; he’s also my friend. He’s also 62. He’s also my best friend’s dad. He’s also married. And I could say all sorts of shit, like ‘He’s 62 but he’s a YOUNG 62,’ or ‘He’s married, but his wife’s a drunk and from the outside it sure looks like they have a craptastic marriage,’ but that is making excuses. I’m not doing that.
In the last several months we’ve become good friends. There are times when we’re alone at the office and we hang out and chat. We talk about all sorts of stuff: music, arts, culture, literature, blah blah blah blah blah. He’s interesting and funny and a really good friend.
Years ago I dated a man who was 29 years my senior. I’ve never hidden that. In fact, when I started working at my current place of employment the (old) gentlemen and I were still together. In one of the many conversations the boss and I have had he mentioned that he hadn’t understood that relationship until recently. That I was just delightful to be around or some tune similar to that. I tell you right now just to save you all the time that I most definitely have daddy issues. Being a young lady in her early twenties dating men in their fifties isn’t the norm. I never thought it was gross though. I still don’t.
I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t do it. I’m really curious. Not curious enough to ruin a friendship, marriage, my job, etc., but curious enough to let my mind wander. Also can I mention that this is a huge fucking distraction in the workplace?!
That sounds bad, huh? Like I’m a bad person. I’m not, I’m just so fucking confused by the whole thing. But I’m listening to my gut here, and my gut’s telling me that this is what he wants.
I haven’t been 100% honest with you guys. I totally let him take pictures of me. You know the kind. Twice. He’s full on into photography, took hundreds of pictures just like mine years ago, has some bad ass camera equipment, never said anything inappropriate while the sessions were taking place, was super professional and I know everyone says this, but they were tasteful! And the second batch? Well, I think they are the prettiest pictures anyone has ever taken of me.
I know, doing shit like that opens the door to stupid and I just didn’t believe that would happen. All these little things keep adding up and the only conclusion I can come to is that my boss wants to sleep with me. I’m not saying he would or that it will happen, but my instincts are telling me something is there.
Has anyone ever dealt with anything like this? I need help, The Band.
It’s estimated that between 5-10% of the female population is affected in some way by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
This is her infertility story.
I’m a lesbian. Ordinarily that isn’t super-important, but I’m at the point that I want kids, so it becomes very important.
Once people find out that I’m gay and want kids, I get asked, “So you’re planning to adopt, right?” There seems to be a socially-held expectation that being gay means you must adopt. Once, someone told me that adopting was “my social responsibility.”
However, my response is always, no, I want to carry my child. I want to experience pregnancy, with all its ups and downs. I want to feel my child grow. It’s my experience, and no one should try and take that away.
While I was never big into kids, I’ve dreamed about being pregnant since I was a teenager. I always vaguely knew it was something I had to do at some point.
Then, about two years ago, suddenly a switch flipped and it was all I could think about. I started reading about it, talking about it, doing everything I could to get near it.
And one day, my partner and I decided to start trying.
My partner and I have tried to get pregnant for a year and a half. We tried to get her pregnant because her cycle was regular. Since I cycled irregularly, and we didn’t know what it would take to get me regular enough to become pregnant, it seemed the easy choice. We started tracking her cycle, found a donor, went through a contractual process that took months, and finally started trying.
Every month we’d try, watch her symptoms, get excited, take the test… and it would be negative. Twice we got hopeful. But eighteen months and two miscarriages later, we’re back at square one.
During those eighteen months, I ran through every emotion imaginable. The worst of which was the jealousy; jealousy that I wasn’t able to carry our child. I consoled myself by saying I’d carry number two. However, by the end, we both felt defeated, deflated, and devastated. I also felt a fierce determination; a determination that I wanted this so badly, I’d do anything I needed to do.
After 18 months of failure to get pregnant, I decided to see an endocrinologist. I’ve always had a really irregular cycle, so I knew something was wrong. However, it took me a long time to be ready to face the possibilities of what that might mean.
After meeting with the endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS has major fertility implications – PCOS means that I don’t ovulate. No ovulation = no baby.
I’ve started a treatment regime including medication and weight loss, that so far has been unsuccessful in booting my system – no easy task. Next month I start an ovulation drug that will allow me to ovulate regularly.
All of a sudden, this got very, very real. My coping strategy involves researching the hell out of my options. I’ve been sensitive to my options for a while, because, by now, we’re up $2,000 in to plane tickets, doctor visits, and everything associated with a bootleg-approach to getting pregnant.
We tried working directly with our donor. We had him tested for fertility. We got ourselves prepped. It costs a lot of money. Starting our adventure with the endo and getting my cycle regulated meant we had to consider some options.
My options are to start fertility drugs.
Once I do this, I can try either a home insemination, or an Intrauterine Insemination, or IUI. This whole TTC thing gets complicated, overwhelming and expensive really quickly. My understanding is that IUI, in which a tube is placed in my uterus to flush sperm in to the area as I ovulate, is my best option.
Of course I know how baby-making works, but damn.
I hate that it has to be so clinical. I hate that there is always someone else in my bedroom. I hate that this can’t just be mine. I hate that I can’t be surprise. I hate that we will pay an $800 price tag for an 18% chance of success. It’s just not fair.
Despite all of this, I’m optimistic. Still looking forward to the future. I know it will happen, and I can’t wait until it does.
As long as there is that tiny pinprick of light, I’ll keep the sputtering flame of hope alive.
I am a fortunate person. I have a gorgeous daughter and a wonderful husband. Our journey to having our first daughter has been written about here. It wasn’t easy, but the little turd has been worth it. She is a handful. Most days, she is enough.
On Christmas, however, it felt like someone was missing.
I want another child. I want to feel the life growing inside me. I want to be that happy pregnant person. I want my daughter to experience the chance of being an older sister.
I feel like I don’t fit anywhere: I have a child, so I’m not completely infertile, but I’m not one bed-wrestling session away from having another child. It’s complete chance and circumstance if I end up pregnant.
I know this isn’t very coherent, and I thank you if you have continued to read beyond the first sentence. I just needed to vent.
My husband is completely content with our life. And I am, too, for the most part. Lil’ Monster is a spitfire, always into EVERYTHING. She would not take too kindly to someone else being in her mommy’s lap/arms/snuggle area.
I don’t know. C’est la vie, I suppose.
Good night, The Band.