I didn’t know…

…how badly depressed I was after Aaron was born until I had Faith.

Looking back Im not sure how I survived that first year after he was born.

The biggest manifestation of my depression was anxiety.  Even the smallest things were enough to set me off.  What clothes should I put him in? Would he be too hot/cold?  Would I have enough changes of clothes for him if we went out?  I walked around with a nappy bag so full and heavy because I never trusted myself to have packed the right stuff.  If Paul or my mom or anyone for that matter told me that I was stressing for nothing or that whatever I had would be fine I would immediately assume I was a bad mother for doing it wrong.  I would get so stressed and anxious about these small things I would eventually find myself sobbing or screaming in tears on the floor, literally pulling my hair out in chunks.

I put on a happy face when we were with other people, no one would have guessed how miserable and bleak I was at home.  The only person besides Paul who ever saw me at my worst was my mom, she often got hysterical phone calls because the baby was crying and nothing I did was working and I was ruining him for life and he would never forgive me and would need therapy etc…  In fact she even came over a few times and made me go sleep or have a bath or go outside while she calmed Aaron down for me.

Dont get me wrong, there were good days, days where I could not imagine my life being any better but they were few and far between.  Then I started going for therapy and went to see a psychiatrist who prescribed an anti anxiety med called Cipralex and slowly I started becoming more the old me.  That was two years ago and over those two years I have often thought to myself that maybe my memory of that first year was wrong, maybe it wasn’t as bad as all that.  Sure I was depressed and anxious but look at how well Im doing now, it cant have been THAT bad.

Then I had Faith.  Let me tell you, the first 5 weeks of having her in our life was nothing compared to the first 5 weeks with Aaron.  Yes, I still get anxious, yes, there are times at 3am when she wont sleep and all I want to do is climb back into bed and I think to myself, what the hell have I done?  I cant carry on like this.  But those moments, and they truly are just moments, are very few and far between.  I look forward to waking up in the middle of the night to feed her, her crying doesn’t make me want to tear my hair out, I still over pack her bag but so what, its just how I roll!

I really didnt realise just how dark those dark days were until I saw how light these last few weeks have been.

I really wish I could go back and redo Aaron’s first year without being depressed.  I wish I could have enjoyed that time with him like Im enjoying this time with Faith.  It doesnt mean I love him any less.  Even through all those dark days I would still fight to the death for my son.  I loved him fiercely  and with all my heart from the moment he was born.  And maybe that was part of the anxiety, wanting to be perfect for my perfect child.

When we decided to start trying for a 2nd baby, I consulted my psychiatrist, my therapist, my GP and my OBGYN about continuing my medication.  They were all for it and insisted I continue taking it right through my pregnancy.  I cant tell you if I would have slipped back into a depression if I wasn’t taking the meds but what I can tell you is that I wouldn’t even want to try.  That single pill once a day keeps me sane.  It allows me to enjoy both my children, even when they are both crying and need my attention and my tea is getting cold and supper s burning and the beds are still unmade from the morning.

I hope that reading this makes a difference to someone who needs it.  I hope they know they are not alone.

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light.  ~Norman B. Rice

22 Replies to “I didn’t know…”

  1. I hope you know how proud I am of you. Yor honesty is beyond comprehention, so few people have that gift. I love you with all my heart my special child. I have been truly blessed to have a daughter like you.
    Love always your MOm

  2. every time you write about your first year with Aaron, you could be writing about me and Shae, except i was too damn stubborn to get the help needed. I can only hope that my story turns out like yours and that #themunchkin and I have a better time of it.

    Thank you so much for sharing this, it feels good to know that it’s not just me going crazy and that there *is* hope 🙂

  3. Ah sweetie, I wish more girls would speak up as so many of us hide it. I have never blogged about it, but I should. I had just the depression part, less anxiety (thank goodness) and with my happy meds it was easier with twins than with a first singleton.

    So glad that you can enjoy Faith now – you see a lot of woman just go through it again second time around.

  4. No-one knows the stress of a first time mom with a new baby – Baby Girl screamed 24/7 for the first three months of her life. I also pulled my hair out (literally) and begged my mom to come over and help me. How I made it through, I have no idea and still the anxiety persists, but the best advice anyone has ever given me is to JUST BREATH. Knowing what you went through and that you are so very courageous in blogging about this and having a second, I think you are a wonderful, amazing woman and mother. Just hang in there and JUST BREATH.

  5. I often wonder if I wasnt depressed with Cameron and some of that has stayed with me :-/

    Well done for writing this Gina!!!! More needs to be said about depression!

  6. Hey girl, I’m dealing with PND and PTS at the mo. Will do a blog post about when I’m done with therapy. I take Cipralex daily “my happy pills” – you are not alone.

  7. I somehow survived the first 18 months of Cam’s life as an undiagnosed depressive. I have no idea how. It was only when I completely fell apart (Cam being born, tumultuous relationship leading to me becoming a single parent, my dad dying, work pressures and then…boom!), that I realised that I had been doing all these things, but actually been completely removed from them, and was so sad I didn’t even know myself. So, my PND coupled with my own depression (which spread back many years, undiagnosed) just toppled me over. I remember when someone forced me to get help…it felt like failure, and it felt liberating.

    Be glad that you know your own sadness. Be happy that you have help. Be even more proud that you have the courage to face it. Be even prouder that you wrote about it today.


  8. As you know, anxiety is my default emotion…. I hear you and I feel for you…. I have stopped smiling because it suits those around me…. who I am now, is who I am… not always pleasant to those who love me watching me hurt however.

    My friend, you are in my thoughts tonight….. I am walking with you today.

  9. Hi ! I heard about your blog from another blogfriend, Cams at parent24.com .

    Your story sounds scarily identical to mine with PND!

    I’m currently pregnant with my 2nd baby ( at the old age of 42 ! )and also still on my meds.
    Thank you for this reassuring post, as I’m constantly worried about the effect the meds are having on my baby.

    All the docs told me it will be fine though.

    Still, so glad I found your blog!
    Keep well!


    1. Hi Sanna,

      Im so glad that my blog found you 🙂

      The best thing we can do for our kids is to be happy and healthy, if that means taking the meds then there is nothing wrong with that.

      Good luck with baba #2!!! Looking forward to seeing pics when baba is here 🙂


  10. Thank you for sharing this Gina!

    I am convinced that Cilift saved my life when I got PND after the birth of my daughter. Until then I had always thought depression was something you could just “snap out of”… how wrong I was!

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