To say I lived in fear of PPD would be an understatement. The possibility of going through PPD for a second time was almost reason enough for me to never get pregnant again. But I knew that no matter what happened, it was only temporary and that it could and would be treated. I am one of the “lucky” ones who not only went through PPD the first time around, I also suffered from antenatal depression, meaning while I was pregnant. I have a long and sordid history with mental illness but antenatal depression may just take the proverbial cake of misery and doom. Sure if you find a way to manage it or have your baby, you are still staring down the barrel of postpartum depression, an entirely different beast.
So when antenatal depression blindsided me again this time around, it was only made worse with the anxiety over the imminent arrival of postpartum depression.
Only, surprise! Postpartum depression never hit me.
Not one single bit. And you know why?
I have no idea.
Maybe it’s the medication I started during pregnancy, maybe it was because I prayed so much, maybe it’s because I had so many people praying for me, maybe it’s because I stuck with my breastfeeding attempt for so long, maybe it’s because my labor went so much better, maybe it’s because I’m older, maybe it’s because I did something wrong the first time, maybe it’s because I’m in such a better place in life or maybe it just plain old didn’t happen this time.
Regardless of the whys, I am thankful everyday that I am able to be fully present and involved in the lives of my girls and our life together as a family. I’m thankful I don’t have to walk through the dark, overwhelming cloud of depression this time around, yet I am still very mindful of my friends and those around me who weren’t so fortunate the second time around.
People told me that they didn’t experience PPD the second time around, however I just couldn’t believe them. I had to go for worst case scenario for my own twisted peace of mind. Prepare for the worst and be surprised when it isn’t as awful as you expected.
If you are going through PPD, or you question adding to your family for fear of PPD returning, I get you. I’ve been there. There is a certain empowerment that comes from knowing you survived once and you could survive again if you had to. There is also this silver lining that you could come out of this again unscathed and more thankful than ever to have a chemically balanced brain.
Whatever you’re going through or wherever you’re at…there are so many who have walked this road before you, or who are walking it now. I can promise you that you are not alone, and on that day when the fog clears and you’re once again the you that you remember being?
Everything becomes sweeter.