Updated: Jun 9, 2020
A little hippie, a little hood and all heart: My journey through anxiety, depression, healing and finding my purpose.
Please be advised that my experience detailed below may be a trigger for some and could cause additional stress, worry or anxiety if you're in that emotional state. There are many articles that I have read during my journey that I wish would have had this warning.
You are not alone. Please reach out for help.
SAMHSA's National Helpline:
PostPartum Support International:
This is not intended to be medical advice, please speak with a professional health care provider for what's best for you and your situation.
The Continuation of: You Need An End, To Have A New Beginning
So in the last post, you'll remember that I was on bed rest for 7 weeks; all I was able to do was drink water (dr. orders) and breathe, I was basically a pregnant gold fish. I still had to go to doctor visits and baby heart monitoring. I should mention that during my pregnancy, I told my OB/GYN more than once, that I was feeling anxious and down, without much thought or concern I was offered some medication, which I declined. I remember being really worried about how I felt emotionally but if she (the dr.) wasn't too concerned then maybe it wasn't anything to be worried about (I was wrong and so was she). I was eventually released from bedrest which was about 3 weeks before my due date and I went back to work but it wasn't the same. The energy had change and suddenly despite the 10 years I had spent there, I felt like I didn't have a place there anymore. In what would come to be the last days of my tenure there as I was fortunate enough to work with a team of beautiful ladies, who had an amazing pamper party for me.
September 18, 2016
Okay so about 4 days after that pamper party, I was laying in bed, I heard what sounded like a rubber band break and warm sensation- my water had broke!!!! It was literally like the movies, water started gushing and my husband jumped up, I jumped up, running around; it was go time! An epidural, 3 hours worth of pushing (probably due to the fact that I kept pressing the button for more numbing medicine) with First 48 (I wish I could go back in time and change that channel) on in the background and 21 hours of labor, Santana Sunshine arrived into the world on her exact due date, at 5:19pm September 19, 2016. If you offered me a million dollars to tell you the name of the doctor who delivered her, I would lose the money. Like, why do they do that? You go the whole time with one dr., and she doesn't even deliver your baby. If you ask me (nobody has), that's such a let down. Anyway, Santana was here! We stayed in the hospital 3 days, the nurse was amazing but to my disappointment, she wouldn't be coming home with us (bummer). It was just the 3 of us, for a few days life was surreal and dreamy. We drove home from the hospital on a rainy afternoon, listening to Santana (the other one), "Song of the Wind".
I breastfed the duration of the hospital stay (holy sh*t, nursing was waaaay more difficult than it looks) and then a few days at home until I realized that Santana wasn't getting full- she would cluster feed for hours and hours). I breastfed about a week afterword and quit. My body wasn't producing enough milk to sustain my baby. I used to think big boobs = lots o' milk, not the case at all. Now I know, that milk production is largely due to hormones (see a theme, hormones continue to be an issue for me). At this time, the anxiety was escalating. I had lost a lot of weight in just the first couple of days, I literally couldn't bring myself to eat (sounds ideal, but wasn't I would have rather of had my sanity and the baby weight). New moms need nutrition and so much more. If you happen to be a new mom reading this, please take care of yourself (enter self care) as much as you are caring for your newborn. You literally built a new brain, heart, life - you are depleted for a long while after you give birth.
Heres what I know now, that I wish I knew then, this can apply, to any phase of life you're in:
1. Be an advocate for yourself, if you're not feeling right, not feeling like yourself, or if you're feeling like something is physically or emotionally wrong - it is. Do not let anyone including and especially your doctor/OB, dismiss what you are feeling or saying. Get a second and third opinion.
2. If you're not vibing with your doctor, find another one. For real, chances are she has too many patients anyway, and like in my case, probably wouldn't have even noticed if I switched.
3. Do not let anyone (including your partner or otherwise) pressure you into breastfeeding or into doing anything regaring your body or baby that isn't right for you. Only you know what is best for you and your maternal instincts will kick in so that means you'll instantly know what is best for your baby too.
4. You have to eat and nourish yourself, who cares about the baby weight. You're not Kylie Jenner and don't have her money for trainers, chefs ect. so we cant "keep up" with the snap back.
5. ASK FOR HELP. Thats all, if you need it, ask for it, in any capacity. Need someone to clean, ask, need someone to cook for you, ask.
Also, its very important for me to note that these are some symptoms I was experiencing during pregnancy and postpartum:
2. Racing thoughts
3. Lack of appetite (this happened while I was pregnant too)
4. Guilt and shame
6. Thoughts of harming yourself, your baby or your partner*
*Its very very important for me to make this as clear as possible because this is the most vulnerable part of my story, these thoughts were unwanted and are also how I knew that my brain was broken, for lack of a better description. I NEVER, EVER would have harmed anyone and that is why these are called "scary thoughts" (actual term used for these), again they are unwanted. This is what caused me so much distress and anguish. The best way I can explain this, as I understand it (again, Im not a doctor of course, this is how my counselor described it to me), when you are in a fight or flight state caused by anxiety, the "archaic" part of our brain tries to protect us from harm causing these thoughts. They literally pop up out of thin air. These thoughts caused me so much distress it was to the point I could not be alone with my baby or myself for that matter. I didn't know what was happening, all I knew was this wasn't me or who I had ever been before.
Sometimes Things Get Worse, Before They Get Better
To be continued.