Sunday, February 17, 2013

Post Partum Anxiety/Depression

My daughter is about to turn 2.  The tiny little baby that we brought home from the hospital is now a walking, talking, singing (so much singing) little person and I feel like I am wholly unprepared to give birth to our second daughter in 3 months.  I feel like all the knowledge I may have had in caring for a newborn is gone.  Lost somewhere in the exhaustion that has overtaken my life. 

I think one of the things I'm most nervous about is what happens emotionally after this second baby will arrive.  With my Sweet E I had post partum anxiety/depression.  It was bad.  It was scary.  It was worse than I let on.  I am a clinical social worker and knew I needed help and decided to go the route of anti-depressants.  Even though I was nursing Sweet E, not taking medication was NOT an option for me.  I felt like my very sanity was at stake.  Perhaps you think I'm being dramatic and that is okay.  If you've never suffered from post partum depression or anxiety then you can't really understand.  Everyone gets the baby blues.  Post partum depression/anxiety is like that, but a 1000 times worse.  I can understand now how mothers who are suffering end up killing their own children.  Thank God it never got to that point for me, but I'm not gonna lie.  I did worry about it. 

Of course I'm sure the fact that we were facing a deployment didn't help matters.  I started off on the lowest dose of Zoloft available and when Hubby left for his desert vacation I ended up needing to up my dose.  I was able to wean off when Sweet E was about 10 months old.  If you are on anti-depressants do not attempt to wean yourself off without talking to your doctor first.  My work experiences gave me the knowledge that allowed me to feel I safely could wean off the meds, but I still touched base with my doctor about my plan. 

So to say I'm a little bit nervous now about what will happen post partum is an understatement.  I think about it a lot.  I've talked to my ob about it and we have a plan which includes starting on Zoloft BEFORE I even am discharged from the hospital.  I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

We aren't facing a deployment this go round, but we are pcs'ing (aka moving for a new military assignment) the month after the second baby arrives.  Weirdly though I don't feel stressed about any of that.  I'm more concerned about how Grandma and Auntie K are going to do cope watching Sweet E while I'm in the hospital birthing this baby.  God help them. 

Post partum anxiety/depression is serious.  Don't be afraid to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.  There's no reason to try to suck it up and suffer through it when you'll have enough going on as a new parent.  You'll enjoy your new baby more if you take care of yourself, too. 

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