It’s Not Easy to Parent When Your Soul Is Leaving Your Body
My recovery from postpartum depression was long and filled with brain zaps
My sweet baby was almost two-and-a-half years old, and still I was fighting postpartum depression (PPD).
Fighting, yes. It wasn’t a quiet depression — it couldn’t be — because I had a child to raise. She needed me to sing and dance, so her mind could grow healthy and strong. So she wouldn’t be crazy like me.
All the sanity I had, I gave to her.
For myself? I needed therapy, but who has time when you’re nursing a baby? When you’re not even sleeping?
I attended one therapy session, with my sleeping newborn on my lap, as I bawled and scribbled down advice about communicating with my husband, and how to explain to him what PPD feels like.
She taught me how to lead with appreciation instead of accusation: “I know we’re both giving 110% of ourselves all the time.”
If I could make him care, maybe he could care for me, so I could care for her.
Or if that failed, he could care for her, and I could cease to be. That felt more likely.
It was an impossible time. When my doctor suggested meds at my daughter’s six-week weigh-in, I answered, “I’ll do anything.”
I started Sertraline (Zoloft). Yeah, it helped with the postpartum anxiety. I started to sleep a little. Now my baby kept me up instead of my mind.
But at a year old, she arched her back, away from my breasts and their dwindling supply of milk. When she weaned, everything changed. I experienced another puberty — why does no one tell you that? My chemistry changed, and Sertraline quit working for me.
So I started Fluoxetine (Prozac) and felt great. This was life! Except for the constant nausea. I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t keep food down. My even, happy mind was trapped in this nauseous body.
My doctor suggested Venlafaxine (Effexor). No. No. No. I wish I could go back. Wish I could tell myself back then to quit the meds, to finally start therapy. Maybe I didn’t have time for it when she was born, but I did now.