The Dark Reality of Postpartum Depression

I don’t really open up to anyone about what I am going through. It’s hard for others to understand, and it’s pretty heavy stuff to unload on someone. Besides, if I were to tell someone that I think my baby is hard to love, they will judge me…and I don’t have the time or energy for that nonsense.

So I give my best effort to trudge through each day. When the darkness breaks, so do I. The depression washes over me like a tidal wave and all of my insecurities come crashing back to shore. I am reminded that I am not a good enough mom for my boys. I am not a good enough mom, wife, daughter, friend, in-law, or employee. This is where my mind goes in the darkest of moments. The enemy reminds me that I am not enough.

Postpartum Depression - Featured

It took me awhile to admit that I’ve got postpartum depression. To be honest, I never really thought postpartum depression was a serious thing, and I certainly never thought I would get it. Who, me? But I’ve got the joy of Jesus. It could never happen to me. Yes, I realize I sound like a naïve third grader at Vacation Bible School, but stay with me…

Postpartum depression has taken me to some really dark places. My mind has gone down a path that is so ugly that it took nothing short of a miracle {and some medication} to come back to a healthy state of mind. I’m so embarrassed to admit that after seven months, I still have to take an anti-depressant nearly every day. But I’m just not there yet.

A therapist once said that 90% of women get postpartum depression because of either breastfeeding problems or colic issues. It’s the colic issues that are sending me over the edge. Combined with the intense sleep deprivation, it has been an unspeakable journey where I have learned some pretty awful things about myself.

I know that my baby isn’t trying to make me crazy. He has undoubtedly had a rough start in life. We began in the NICU, navigated through the food allergies, and now we are in the trenches of unexplained screaming and sleepless nights. Doctors tell me it’s probably colic. I probably don’t agree with them, but I don’t have a better answer either.

Postpartum depression is so lonely. I have never felt so isolated in my entire life. Some nights I feel like a prisoner in the nursery. In the middle of the night with tears streaming down my face landing on my baby’s white hair, I feel so helpless and so alone. If I can’t get my baby to stop screaming and go to sleep, how am I capable of being a good mom to him?

Sometimes I don’t think my husband knows what to do with me. These days, I’m certainly not the girl he married. He watches me from afar and handles me with fragile hands. I am starting to open up to him about what I’m going through, but again…it’s lonely. It devastates me that he might think I am not a capable mother for his children.

During a particularly rough week recently, I did what I know best and wrote an open, honest letter to my baby.

Dear Parker,

You are six months old. You are sitting up, reaching for things, smiling, cooing, and laughing. You can be quite the charmer with those deep blue eyes and dimples of yours. You love your feet, and you try to put everything in your mouth. You like to chew on your Sophie giraffe and a blue toy elephant I bought for you at Kroger one day when we were grocery shopping. Peek-a-boo makes you laugh so hard, and even big brother can get in on the fun with that game. You love to eat all of the gross baby purees and mum-mum crackers, and you really love when we give you a bottle. You start reaching for it and suck it down in no time. You won’t even let us stop to burp you.

It’s therapeutic to type out all of these things I love about you. It is a helpful reminder that among the dark moments we have, there is light and there is hope. In these days, I am ever so thankful for my faith and the hope I have anchored in Christ.

These past months have been rough, my Parker man. I’ve cried with you, I’ve cried for you, and I’ve cried because of you. Sometimes you are hard to love. And that is the hardest thing to admit. Being your mom has taken me to some really dark places that I am fearful to ever return to. I’ve had thoughts that I will never speak aloud, and I’ve said words in the throws of it all that I immensely regret. I have learned that sleep deprivation will absolutely bring out the worst in a person, and that the enemy strikes us first in our minds. And once he grabs hold, it is an uphill climb back out of the darkness.

I don’t spend quality time with anyone. My time is all spoken for. I work all day and then come home and speed through the next four hours as we play, cook, clean, give baths, read stories, kiss goodnight, clean again, and pack everything up for the next day. By the time all that is over, it’s time for me to shower and go to bed for a few hours {because I’ll be up with you again shortly}.

I’ll never let you read this letter. My mommy-rant about you. How terrible am I? Over and over I have felt like such a failure and like I am not good enough to be your mommy. I just can’t figure you out. Sometimes I think I know how to soothe you and other times you scream bloody murder when I hold you the way that worked just yesterday. What am I doing wrong? I love you so much it hurts; yet I am not enough for you. I am not enough.

Love,

Me

Throughout this season, the lyrics to this song have resonated with me and carried me through…

“A thousand times I failed, still Your mercy remains.”

I am ever so thankful for mercy and forgiveness. And a prescription for Zoloft.

,

9 Responses to The Dark Reality of Postpartum Depression

  1. Avatar
    Nicole McWhorter June 22, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    Thank you for sharing this important message! Well said. Big hug to you friend!

    • Avatar
      Brittney Ford June 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

      Thanks, Nicole! Hugs (and wine) for you, too!

  2. Avatar
    Angie Webster June 22, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

    I second Nicole’s comment. Thinking of you, Brittney!

    • Avatar
      Brittney Ford June 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

      Angie — thank you so much!! Blessed to call you my friend!

  3. Avatar
    Tiffanie June 23, 2015 at 7:34 pm #

    It took me reading this twice to be able to make it through it all … Especially the letter to your P. Maybe it’s babies whose name stay with P because I could and probably should have typed these words for my P when he was 6 months old. Type all the letters you need, seal them, and bring them all to my house for safe keeping — I’ll send you away with all the letters I have typed to my mother-in-law for safe keeping. 😉

    • Avatar
      Brittney Ford June 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

      Love you.

  4. Avatar
    Lauren K. June 23, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

    Brittney, this is so honest and touching! Friend, I cannot imagine what you are going through with that little sleep. A newborn, healthy and happy and not crying all the time, is hard enough as it is! Many moms will read this and feel less alone, and I hope just putting it out there was therapeutic for you.You know this, but just a reminder- you ARE enough, this tough time WILL pass, and you are the best possible mom for your son. Praying that it passes sooner than later, and that the pharmacy never runs out of zoloft:)! -LK

    • Avatar
      Brittney Ford June 24, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

      Thank you, Lauren! I really appreciate your encouragement! And yes, I agree with you – let’s hope the pharmacy stays fully stocked!

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  1. Surviving Postpartum Depression | Houston Moms Blog - November 6, 2015

    […] I wrote my blog post about post-partum depression in June, I wondered when I would be able to write about it on the other side. I wasn’t sure when […]

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