I am Olga, 28 y.old, mom to an 8 months old Alek. I am originally from Russia.
I have never been depressed in my life. I have always been the most cheerful person in any company - college, work, holiday camps... My friends often came to me for reassurance in their hard times, and I knew I was appreciated for my ability to be an optimist no matter what. When I moved here, I easily assimilated, even though I think back now and marvel at it - culture shock is a pretty bad thing.
When my husband had a back surgery and went through a very hard time, I could easily manage our business (a hotel) and take care of him, never complained, never felt it was hard at all, never lost my feeling of well-being.
I really wanted a child. It took a lot of convincing my husband. I did not know why I wanted it so much, just knew (and told DH so) that without a child I will never be happy. Just felt unfulfilled, like something was missing in my life. So we got pregnant.
I was a very happy preggo! Enjoyed every moment of it. Even the morning sickness was OK, I was telling myself - I am hugging the toilet because there is a baby in me, I should be happy about it, it means - I AM PREGNANT!! I had gestational diabetes, and had to go on a diet, check my blood sugar 4 times a day, which HURTS! But it gave me a purpose, I was thinking of my son inside, how it is important for me to be healthy for him. We went to all possible classes, read books and articles, and had a marvelous birth experience. I was induced with Pitocin, and still went un-mediated. I felt like a Goddess, 8 feet tall, omnipotent! God, was I happy the day after he was born!
When Alek was 11 days old, on Mother's Day of all days :) - I started crying. For no reason at all. "Just tired" - I told myself. But I could not stop crying for days at a time. It was getting worse and worse. I called it "IT". It was either here or not. In the morning I would wake up and know: it came. I tried to fight it, but nothing at all helped. The only thing I wanted to do was cry. And at the same time I wanted to stop crying so much!! It bothered me to not be able to control it, not to be able to "take myself in my own hands", shake it off. As many of you, I've heard the advise of well-meaning friends: "Come on, just be strong! Exercise, go out, live! It made me feel only worse - I wanted so much to go out, I wanted to live my life, but hell, WITHOUT the baby!
I wished so much for him not to be here ! I did not want this particular baby to disappear (die, get adopted aso), but I wished I had never gotten pregnant. I looked at the lives of our childless friends and envied them to the point of screaming out loud. I kept asking myself: what was it that I missed in my perfect little life, why did I have to screw it all up? In my sick mind I knew, I had no doubt, I am permanently unhappy now. I will never smile again, my marriage is ruined, my friends do not understand me, and, honestly, who would want to be with such a dark, crying, deadly-unhappy person?
And yet, between the attacks I was OK. I loved Alek and had fun. I hoped IT will never come back. But IT always did.
The only thing I wanted to do with the baby was feed him. I did not want him to die, so he had to eat. Since DH's back is that bad, he could not relieve me of Alek, he could not pick him up and carry around. So I could never leave home without him. I had to always be near him, and I did not want to see or hear him. Even the little happy noises he made were like metal-on-glass for me. I wished my eyes did not see him. Even when I got to go out alone, when friends baby-sat, the feeling that something is heavy on my heart, that there is a tragedy weighing on my life, never left me. I truly considered the birth of my child a tragedy, and grieved the loss of my life. "Life will never be the same" - I was told by friends while I was pregnant. The terrible meaning of it fell upon me.
I cried, and cried, and wailed, and screamed. And hit my head on the wall. And went to the park, laid on the grass and yelled in pain, harder even then at childbirth.
And I could not understand, how can all these happy families in the park be happy. Why isn't everybody in despair as me? Are they stupid, don't they see what they have done to their lives? I started hating the happy mothers. My DH was amazingly strong through all that. He did all the housework, cleaning and getting food, his back allowing. He drove me places to distract me a little. And he held me, and listened to my unstopping sobs, and went to the psychiatrist with me. He is just a "golden" man!
For 2 months I was seeing the doctor and refused to consider drugs - just hoped it would go away by itself. I am very glad she helped me change my mind. Thank God, Zoloft worked for me immediately. I started it in mid-September and had not cried once since. And I can relax when Alek is asleep, just watch TV or do whatever. I am a happy mother now, love him tremendously, enjoy my time with him. Even miss him when he goes to bed. I am afraid to stop Zoloft though, what if IT comes back?