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Lifestyle Parenting

***TRIGGER WARNING*** My Regret: A personal experience with postpartum depression

I am heartbroken as I write this at 2am. I have been sick for the last couple of weeks. I think the symptoms are finally starting to subside. I just knew I was pregnant.

At first, I was nervous at the thought. I already have six children, & a lot of my days can be overwhelming. I am a student & I struggle with depression most days. My older children already help me a lot with certain tasks. As the days went by, I had more & more typical pregnancy symptoms. My breasts had swelled bigger than ever. I had cravings. My sleep pattern was thrown off. The icing on the cake? My period was late. My period was NEVER late, unless I was pregnant.

I prayed about it. I was nervous, but excited at the fact that I could be carrying new life. I hate being pregnant, but for some reason I was really anticipating my husband spoiling me with massages & endless fast food binges again. Yeah…I use pregnancy as an excuse to eat everything in sight.

I contemplated telling my husband before I took a test. I initially decided that I would wait until I got that positive pregnancy test. My period was now two days late, and for some reason, I blurted out “I need a pregnancy test!”. My husband looked taken aback. After the shock wore off, he seemed to be pretty excited at the possibility, especially after I told him my period was late.

Later that evening, my husband bought me a pregnancy test, I went into the bathroom to pee. I knew this drill all too well. I dropped three drops of urine onto the disk and waited impatiently. My stomach dropped as I watched the red dye spread across the disk. It was visibly negative. I didn’t give up hope because I had what I thought was a negative pregnancy test in 2011, but there turned out to be the faintest line when I held it under light. I took the disk apart and looked at the strip under the flashlight of my phone. I was willing myself to see a second line.

As I was gathering myself, my husband opened the bathroom door and inquired anxiously. I was a little nervous to give him the sad news. “It’s negative.”, I said glumly. In a matter of seconds, I saw my husband’s face go from curiosity to sadness. He denied his reaction, but I knew better. I was upset with myself because I didn’t want to clue my husband in until I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I was trying to avoid these reactions.

My period was late for a third day. I scoured Google like a deranged lunatic, trying to renew my hopes. I decided to wait a few more days and test again.

Because I was hardheaded, I took another test. It was also negative. Again, I took the disk apart and started analyzing the strip. I started to wonder if I ovulated later. I was recently involved in a car accident and thought that it threw my cycle off. I thought about the day that my husband and I had sex and I gained some hope. I just knew I was pregnant. My symptoms were stronger than ever. I began to check my cervix every time I went to pee, which was frequently. It was high and there was watery discharge. I was excited because I read several stories on Google that pointed to this as a good sign. I knew damn well that everyone is different. I just needed one story to get my hopes up.

I went through the next day without asking my husband to buy me a pregnancy test. This didn’t stop me from obsessing over Google and looking up just about every scenerio that I could think of in hopes of a positive outcome.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early. I watched a movie with my husband. I then asked my husband to go to the store. I casually asked him to pick up a pregnancy test. My confidence level was through the roof because my period was now five days late. When my husband returned, I took the test into the bathroom nervously. I dropped the usual pee on the test and watched the dye spread across the test like clockwork. I was stunned. It was still negative. At this moment, I was shattered. My husband was adamant about me going to the hospital. I didn’t want to go. I felt it was a waste of time. I wasn’t having an emergency. I had no idea what was going on. I broke down and yelled at the sky “If I’m not pregnant, give me my period!”. I was so devastated and I sounded so ridiculous.

To calm myself, I took a shower and washed my hair. My husband went to pick up dinner and I asked him for another pregnancy test because I was planning on testing again in a few more days.

I finished my shower and hair a couple of hours later. As I was sitting on my bed, I felt a cramp. My heart sunk. It was a familiar cramp. I went to the bathroom and wiped. There was nothing. I was relieved. I stopped myself from pulling my pants up and decided to check my cervix. I pulled my finger out of my vagina and was greeted with a small amount of blood. I furiously grabbed a pad and put it into my underwear. By this time, my husband had returned home. He forgot the test. I told him that my period had started. I could tell that he was sad, but I knew that he was relieved that nothing was wrong with me.

Later on that night, I went to the bathroom. I looked down at my pad, fully expecting to see the obvious. I was shocked. The amount of blood in my pad was the size of a coin. I wiped myself after peeing and saw a little bit more light red blood on the tissue. I had no cramps. I returned to Google and looked up “implantation bleeding”. I was getting my hopes up again, but I didn’t care. I didn’t want to be counted out. I was desperate for hope. Hours passed and I was still monitoring my bleeding. It was more of the same: a small amount on the pad and a little bit more when I wiped. The next morning, I checked my pad. There wasn’t even enough blood on the pad to cover half of a pantyliner. I was still hopeful. As the afternoon approached, the bleeding started to darken. The amount was the same. There were small clots. Back to Google I went. My “pregnancy” symptoms started to fade and I started cramping. At this point, I went into “fuck it” mode. I continued to obsess over Google. My pad was still mostly white throughout the day.

I set myself up. I knew I had driven myself crazy. Despite being very fertile, which was evident by the amount of kids I already had, I knew there was a slim to zero chance that I could be pregnant.

It wasn’t just because I had this late, light, period. I had my tubes tied almost three years ago after a C-section. I had read all of the stories of women who had gone on to conceive after tubal ligation. I just knew it would happen to me. I expected to haven’t tubes tied during an emergency C-section because I was traumatized. Had I had a clear mind, I would have never authorized the procedure. The doctor asked me if I was sure and I didn’t hesitate. I regretted it months later. I felt like a part of me also went through with it to make other people happy. I get judged a lot for having so many kids. I am always told “You don’t need anymore kids.”. I wanted to prove to everyone that i was done. But I wasn’t. Now I sit here with depression two and a half years later, partially because I made a decision mostly based on other people’s emotions. My body is a mess around the time that my period is slated to begin. I always feel pregnant and my cramps are horrendous. I feel like God is taunting me or punishing me for not letting my body react naturally. Does this sound crazy?

I stayed up to let the tears flow and reflect on the “what ifs”. I know my feelings are selfish because there are people who can’t conceive. I love my husband and I am glad that he is so supportive. Some days I feel like it’s not enough. It’s not his fault. Some days I feel like dying. No amount of consoling could cure that feeling. Maybe one day I will get to experience that miracle again.

My Regret.

****08-18-2020****

I wrote this story a few years ago, as I was going through postpartum depression. I was upset about having my tubes tied because I didn’t like the way I felt. I was also upset because my twins were growing up. I missed them as babies.

Early in our relationship, Donnie told me that he dreamed of having 10 kids. Well, I said he could keep that as a dream.

I spent the majority of my 20’s pregnant. It looks odd, looking from the outside, but I always felt like something was missing from me. As long as I was pregnant, I felt that “something”. I felt whole. However, I hated being pregnant. I know, it’s confusing. The pain and the sickness is not fun.

One way that my body has changed since I had my tubes tied is pain. Around my scheduled ovulation period, I have awful nerve pain. It spreads from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes. Sometimes it renders me motionless. The same sensation is felt during the first two days of my period. I had never felt this pain before. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I had never felt this pain before.

Another thing that I had to get used to was the frequent “pregnancy scares”. I literally felt like I was pregnant every month, for the first couple of years after I had the twins. I had all of the textbook symptoms and signs. I became obsessed with Google. I knew my body. I knew every time that I was pregnant, except with Ariana(I was young and didn’t know what was happening).

Unfortunately, I didn’t know my new body: My post-tubal ligation body. My new normal definitely made my depression worse, to the point where I actually wanted to actively conceive. I wanted to try for baby number 7, despite my tubes being tied. Donnie had a lot of concerns. First of all, he saw how hard my last pregnancy, labor, and delivery was. Second, we already had a lot of kids, and they are VERY expensive.

Donnie has a habit of trying to make me happy, instead of telling me that I’m making a bad decision. I don’t like that. I have discussed this with him several times. He’s getting better. He agreed that we could try.

Obviously, my dumb ass plan didn’t work. I gave up the idea as I started snapping from my depressive state.

Ask me if I want to have baby number 7. Ask me.

HELL. NO.

With all the love in the world for my kids.

Don’t fight postpartum depression alone. If you experiencing symptoms, such as uncontrollable crying, lack of appetite, thoughts of worthlessness, or frustration (this is not a complete list), please ask for help. Seek out a relative or a trusted friend to help you care for your child.

You can send me an email.

You can also contact the National Postpartum Depression support number for additional resources:

1-800-PPD-MOMS

If you are having thoughts of suicide, PLEASE contact this number:

1-800-273-8255

Having postpartum depression DOES NOT make you a bad parent. Your body just went through a significant shift. Sometimes we just need time to process this emotionally and physically.

God bless.

Categories
Parenting

Postpartum Depression: Don’t Suffer In Silence

Despite hating the pregnancy process, I loved the bond the I had with each of my children. That natural love and nurturing instinct that expectant mothers feel with their child(ren) in utero is undeniable.

I don’t know how to describe it, but the bond you have with your baby while you are pregnant is different from the bond you have with your baby when he or she is born

Now you’re about to meet your child. You have been anxiously awaiting for this beautiful moment for 40 long weeks. The next time you bring your baby home, he or she will share the experience of your world.

For many mothers, the moment doesn’t start out as beautifully. After all of the adrenaline wears off, negative emotions start to deep in.

Of course you love your baby. It’s not the baby’s fault. Imagine just having a tiny human ejected from your body. The same tiny human who kicked you relentlessly, made you nauseous, and was the reason you always slept.

Now that baby is living on the outside of you. You are shocked into a new reality.

I suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of all of my children. Each time brought a different experience.

I suffered the most after I had my oldest. When I was pregnant as a teenager, it didn’t seem like I had as much responsibility. Just go to the doctor and stay nourished, right? Was I hoping everything would fall into place after I gave birth? Kind of.

I had a traumatic labor and delivery experience in the first round. People tell you all of the time how the routine goes, but there is nothing like experiencing it. I was scared when I went felt the first contractions, the epidural that I was given didn’t work, and I tore to my asshole. That was the easy part.

When I held Ariana for the first time, reality came crashing down on me. I spent most of my pregnancy crying because I felt worthless. A lot of people looked down on me. I had no plans or structure. I felt entitled to help that I was not entitled to.

The truth is, I expected my mother to rescue me. The reality was that she couldn’t. Even through our ups and downs, and despite her being upset, I felt like my mother was the main one in my corner. I burned so many bridges when I was growing up, but the bridge of my mother’s love was indestructible. Thank God for infrastructure week!

First, I became angry. I was angry at myself for wasting time. I was angry because instead of preparing, I was feeling sorry for myself. I was angry because I only had a car seat, 8 onesies, 4 bottles, and $30 to my name when my baby was born. I blamed everyone, but myself. I started to question if I had made the right choice.

Anger turned into self-doubt. How am I going to do this? I can’t do this!Why didn’t I let another family give my child a better life? Why am I so selfish?

Self-doubt turned into sadness. By the time Ariana was three days old, I was overwhelmed. My baby wouldn’t stop crying and she barely slept. I couldn’t stop crying, and my appetite quickly diminished. I guess I can credit postpartum depression for my “Snapback”

I received inpatient treatment for postpartum depression. Being away from my newborn for a week was different. My parents were taking care of Ariana, so I knew that she was in good hands.

Being in the hospital was an odd experience. Yes, I saw someone get “the needle”. Yes, I was traumatized. I felt like I was in a daze the whole time I was there. I wanted to go home. Every morning, I was given a pill. After the nurse checked to see if I swallowed, I went to the common area for group therapy. It wasn’t productive. Then, I went back to my room for 1-on-1 therapy with a doctor. The rest of the day was pretty much free time. All of the patients gathered in the TV room to watch reruns of “America’s Next Top Model”. This was the routine for 7 long days.

I had to get out of there. I did anything I could to prove to the doctor that I was ready to go home. I faked a spark in my personality and a glee in my voice. I became very social with the other patients.

My ruse worked. I was on my way back to my daughter. My mother offered to keep Ariana another night so that I could get readjusted. I refused the help. I wanted to be with my daughter.

Reconnecting with Ariana was very difficult. She still cried a lot, but that wasn’t the reason why I was still struggling. My daughter wasn’t to blame for any of it. I shouldn’t have never pretended to be well so that I could leave the hospital. At the very least, I should have accepted my mother’s help. Yet again, I was selfish.

Today, I am glad to be a wiser woman. I can admit my mistakes and learn from them. Remember, we are not perfect. We will all reflect on our mistakes. This is fuel for growth.

Postpartum depression is very real, and not to be taken lightly. When starting a family, make sure that you have a strong support group. If you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. If you feel like you may be suffering from postpartum depression, seek help immediately. Don’t ever think that you are above this. There is no timetable for recovery, but you will feel better. We all love our babies, but the most important thing to remember is that self-care is VERY important.

Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call the emergency number in the country you reside in(United States 911).

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