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Heidi's Story - "This too shall pass"


If you are on this website reading this you are more than likely going through the worst time in your life. Ironic isn't it that the birth of your child would be anything but wonderful?

First it's important to know you are NOT alone. This was something I wish I would have known at the time. I had my first and only child in 2001, I went through a pretty long labor and delivery about 26 hours. I lived on the east coast at the time and all my family was in the midwest. My parents came to stay with me for a week and help with the baby. Things were going well and then all of the sudden when my parents were walking out the door to go to the airport .....I had a horrible panic attack, I couldn't breath, my heart was racing, I was completely confused...and I started crying uncontrollably. My husband said it was just hormones and that it was a normal thing for me to be going through (little did he know). I went to sleep that night but woke up suddenly in the middle of the night and couldn't fall back asleep. I was anxious, nervous, and I began pacing the living room floor. I woke up my husband and told him something was wrong with me...he tried being compassionate but just didn't understand. I finally calmed myself down enough to sit on the couch and try to drown out my thoughts with the babble of the television.

The next day when my husband left for work ..the panic struck again..I didn't want to be alone...I called him constantly asking him to come home early....It took everything I had to take care of my daughter...my stomach tightened into knots everytime she woke up from her nap or during the middle of the night......I can remember watching her sleep in her bassinet becoming more and more anxious when she neared the waking up stage......I just didn't feel like I could do it..I just wanted her to go away....I wanted things to be like they were before. I called my mother a few nights later and spilled my heart out to her telling her I didn't think I bonded with the baby like I should of and that I didn't think I loved her.....her response was "of course you love her, you've always been over dramatic, you'll be fine" I asked her if she had ever experienced any of these feelings she said "no never", with that I felt like a miserable failure as a mother who deserved to be locked up forever.

I couldn't eat anything and within a couple weeks I was smaller than I was before I was pregnant....all I did was sit and stare at the clock waiting for my husband to get home...i had to force myself to pick up my crying daughter and hold her and feed her.....my friends from work called and wanted me to bring the baby in...i would just make up excuses about the weather or that she might get sick...i didn't return phone calls and i didn't feel at all like a proud mother..and with that i had unbearable amounts of guilt..i actually contemplated giving my daughter up for adoption....i thought anyone would be a better mother to her than me..I just wanted to run away to start over ..........

These feelings went on for a few weeks then things got worse, my husband informed me he had to go out of town on business to Colorado for 6 weeks, that meant me and my baby alone in a small apartment for 6 wks........I had the worst panic attack in my life the day he left...I ran after his truck yelling for him to please stop and stay with me.....begging him to understand what I was going through......he just kept driving saying to me "everything will be fine".... I went back into the apartment.....feeling so alone and scared...

I called my mother who suggested I fly home with the baby and stay with them until my maternity leave was up......I was on the very next flight.....my parents (God bless them) weren't very supportive I guess because they didn't understand why I was feeling this way........but it helped just to have people I loved around me and not be alone...

When I left my parents and went back home I decided to go to my primary care doctor....my obgyn not having the best bed side manner..i didn't think would understand..I explained to my DR my feelings he started laughing and said all new moms go through the blues and his wife did the same thing...I begged him to give me something to help, he finally agreed on Zoloft...25mg...the medication didn't help until he increased the dosage to 100mg a few weeks later..at which point I started eating and my anxiety levels were decreasing greatly....

I can remember watching the Biography channel and seeing Marie Osmonds story she started talking about her dealing with PPD and how she handled it..I was so happy that I could finally relate to someone who had gone through something so similiar..she advised some suggestive readings to help others.....I immediately packed up my daughter and went to the library.....I read everything on PPD over and over again....I new it was me exactly...I felt so much better just knowing someone else knew what I was going through.

It was definitely the hardest thing I've ever had to go through but I just kept telling myself "this too shall pass".......once you know there is a problem you can educate yourself on how to overcome it....with knowledge and medication I was able to feel more like my old self again...I was able to enjoy my daughter and my life...I still feel guilty for being so clouded during the first months of her life, but I know I'm a better person for this experience and that if my daughter or even generations after that go through this, my story will be there for them...

Then there's my mother always asking the question, "When are you going to have the second one?" I just shrug and walk away thinking to myself ..."if she only knew."

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