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17 Confessions from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Survivors

By caseymullins |

PPD and PPA survivors at BlogHer '09

Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety — you either know it or you don’t. Before I had a baby, I remember hearing about new moms who shook their babies and wondered, “HOW COULD THEY?” However that first night home with my new baby, I suddenly understood. I never actually shook my baby or caused her any harm, but that doesn’t mean that the thoughts and fears didn’t find their way into my sleep deprived, chemically and hormonally imbalanced brain.

The scariest things about postpartum depression and anxiety are the macabre and horrifying thoughts that pass through a new mom’s mind, and how perfectly logical they seem to her. In retrospect you’re horrified that you could ever think anything like that towards your baby, but at the time … at the time you just want a release at any cost. I asked some of my closest friends, all survivors of postpartum depression or anxiety, what their darkest thought was when they were in the trenches. I started off by admitting mine, and as the answers poured in there was so much support and solidarity. Although we all had such different experiences, we all understood what it felt like to be defeated and tricked by our own minds.

It’s important to understand these are survivors, women who made it through to the other side of postpartum depression. As I talk to moms about their experiences with PPD/PPA one of the biggest regrets is the guilt they feel towards the involuntary thoughts that invaded their minds when they were at their weakest. To type out these confessions felt otherworldly for all of us, but if it helps even one more mom feel less alone then our vulnerability is worth it. These confessions come from moms of all ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and life circumstances, PPD/PPA is not selective in who it tries to ruin.

From one of the contributors:

Thank you so much for starting this thread. This is fascinating, gut wrenching, and cleansing. I am so grateful for the honest responses here, and all of you mamas floor me; I am in tears with love for you all.

If you’re currently struggling with postpartum depression, or think you may be, please visit Postpartum Progress for information on getting help, getting back and feeling better. Because you will feel better.

I promise.

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Confessions from Postpartum Depression

Robbed - Sarah M.

"I wanted to run away. I thought DH loved my DD so much that there was no longer any room for me. He wouldn't even realize if I were gone, nor would DD. I imagined slamming her head onto the coffee table after feeding. I wondered what would happen if I got a knife and cut her eye out — just the one because both eyes would be cruel. I wondered how much she would hurt herself if she rolled off the nappy change table. I wanted to give her up. I wanted life to go back to what it was before DD was in it and ruined it. I had no idea why people had kids and even more so, why they would have more than one. I'm not sure if I ever had suicidal thoughts, but I certainly felt defeated and didn't want to wake up.
I have never divulged this, ever. I feel both horrified and sad that I thought those things and cannot imagine ever thinking that about DS, which means I've come a long way. Intrusive thoughts are the absolute worst part of PPD. They rob you momentarily of your sanity and make you question your reality. And then there's the mask you put on the face of these gruesome thoughts."

Find more Casey on her blog, twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and facebook.

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About caseymullins

caseymullins

caseymullins

Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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34 thoughts on “17 Confessions from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Survivors

  1. Beth Anne says:

    Casey, you did beautifully with this. As always, thank you for helping break the stigma & encourage understanding & hope.

  2. This is amazing. Thank you for helping so many women and the stigmaM

  3. Rosstwinmom says:

    Ladies, you are so brave. Thanks for sharing and showing the world it’s not so uncommon.

    Remember that the #ppdchat Army is always waiting for you on Twitter.

  4. Kelley says:

    Thanks. I totally struggled with PPD with my 2nd child and definitely was the one screaming about hating her in private. I was totally afraid that someone would walk in and see how horrible I was and take my kids away, so I didn’t ask for help. It took 7 months and a COMPLETELY melt-down, but I’m slowly getting back to “me”. *hugs* to all of the contributors, it took guts to put this in words!

  5. Tristen Warner says:

    I had those horrible thoughts, they were disconnected in my head and they horrified me even then. I am not a superstitious person but it was like I had a demon in my head. I fought through it, I knew I wanted my baby, I had wanted him for years…I think thats the only thing that kept me connected.
    I want to thank all the women who were brave enough to speak up.

  6. Crystal says:

    I’m glad that I am not alone.

  7. Chrysta says:

    We have been trying to get pregnant with our fourth. PPD was so bad last time that my husband, although he desperately wants another baby like I do, has admitted to being terrified of PPD striking again. So am I. I’ve also decided to stay medicated during my next pregnancy if we’re lucky enough to have one. I think the risks of me (and my family – make no mistake that EVERYONE suffers) going through another such experience far outweigh the risks of continuing on my medications.

  8. Lindsay @lilloveandluck says:

    Casey, you amaze me with every post. You did this gracefully and you brought us all together to breathe a collective sigh of relief in solidarity. Thank you.

  9. Jessica Punk Rock Momma says:

    wow thank you so much for these stories. I too experienced the onset of cryng and worrying all the time thinkng something bad was going to happen. With my daughter i would envision someone kidnapping her and because of that i slept in the only room in the house without a window and with her on top of my chest. with my last child i developed a fear of leaving my house and a fear of driving i envisioned car accidents taking place right in front of me and me not being able to stop the sequence of events put me in full on panic mode… I would cry non stop and couldnt leave my house. Its been three years now and i still have these symptoms but im on a medicine regimen that helps with it. I will never be 100% better but im working on living my life. My youngest starts school in August and im so afraid to leave him for the 8 hours that he will be without me. Im worried that something will happen and i wont be their to comfort him. He has only been away from me a few times and only over night like three times and he is almost four. He is never gone long from my side and he stll sleeps with me. I fear for the unknown and constantly worry that he is going to die in his sleep. I read a story about a three yr old dieing in his sleep resently and told my hubby that he was out of luck getting the baby out of our bed cause after reading that he will not be allowed to sleep in his own bed. I have two other kids that live with me and i worry constantly about them but not as much as the baby. Im not sure where it comes from but i know i could not survive if something happened to one of my kids.

  10. Jessica says:

    It’s amazing how your mind tricks you into thinking you’re the only one to feel this way. This is a wonderful post. Thanks to all the brave women for sharing!

  11. Brandi says:

    i thought there were just some difficult times…apparantly I have had and do suffer from ppd somewhat. This has helped me put certain thoughts into perspective. Thank you.

  12. Erin says:

    I have felt so ashamed by the thoughts that I suffer from. I recently sorbet timer in the hospital for ppd. I’m absolutely terrified of these thoughts and I wish I didn’t have them. I do love my DS more than anything in this world. I can’t believe the thoughts I have, our the words I hear come out of my mouth. I know I don’t mean them, but it hurts that they happen.
    Thanks for this article

  13. Sarah says:

    I just wanted to say that it is very generous of all these women to bravely type their worst nightmare out to share for everyone’s benefit. Having survived ppd I know the fear in even revealing the torture that we endured at hands of this disease. To any other mom’s who read this and relate, please talk to your doctor and have a close friend/family member read PostPartumProgress with you. Post partum psychosis is diff from PPD. Its Unlike OCD, where the sufferer never acts on their compulsive thoughts.

  14. Paula B. says:

    I totally understand how Haley C. feels. I’m still going through this today with my five month old.

  15. Melissa says:

    This is the most powerful thing I’ve read in months and I can’t even express how grateful I am for me and my friends who suffered from this and the millions more who are currently suffering. There is hope, everyone.

  16. Anna says:

    Wow. Thanks so much for this. I got PPD with all three of my kids, but was never diagnosed or treated because at first I thought that’s how all new moms feel, and then later, I was just ashamed and didn’t want to admit it. I used to hate hearing other new moms say how “blissful” their lives were, how their new baby made them so happy. Because for me, it was just weeks of misery. Intrusive thoughts of throwing my baby to the floor, finding myself thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad if we were in a car accident and the baby died, thinking that if they died of SIDS, I would finally get a good night sleep for once. With each of them, I have distinct memories of sitting up with them late at night while they cried, telling them I didn’t love them and wished they hadn’t been born. I kind of hate myself when I remember these things. Thank you so much for helping me finally see this for what it was, and that I wasn’t alone.

  17. Tracy says:

    I don’t understand as I’ve never been through this. BUT I don’t judge either. And no one else should either. Unless you have been through it, you are in no position to judge how someone mentally handles themselves. In the same way that I found out that I wasn’t alone in my fertility struggles or miscarriage, women should know they are not alone in dark, scary thoughts and there is comfort in knowing they are not alone. Just because you yourself have never had a dark thought about harming your child doesn’t mean that you are a better mother than someone who has. Kudos to the women stepping up and admitting their darkest moments and take comfort in the fact that you might have helped someone going through the same thing!

  18. Jess says:

    Oh my goodness, this is so brave, and honest, and real. Thank you thank you thank you for posting. I suffered severe PPD with number two and oh the terrible thoughts. Dark times. To know (even after) how NOT alone I was is beyond refreshing.

  19. Cariss says:

    I remember with my DS having ppd. It lasted for months. The day after he was born, I had this god awful feeling that I wished I could take everything back and not even get pregnant. I never had thoughts of harming him or of him dying, but the anxiety and the fear of something happening to him, like SIDS, was overwhelming. I cried ALL the time for weeks. I thought I had lost my mind and i’m pretty sure my husband did too. The crying then turned into constant irritability towards my husband and the dogs who always seemed to be in the way. I felt guilty for changing everyone’s lives for the worst, and I felt SO awful knowing I felt like my child had ruined my life, taken away my body and my freedom and my happiness, and that it was all his fault I would never be happy again.

    Hormones do stupid things to people and the stress of birth and the first few weeks postpartum is horrendous. Multiple times I drove myself to the hospital with the intention of asking them to put me in the psych ward, only to sit in the parking lot too afraid to get out.

    To all of you women who spoke out, you are the bravest women I have ever heard of. This subject is STILL so unspoken of. And it shouldn’t be. I am a firm believer that post-partum depression and anxiety would not be nearly as bad for the mother if the person suffering from it wouldn’t feel judged by society as crazy or weak. If these women felt it was more acceptable to suffer from this, they would be a lot more apt to seek help.

    I have to say, i’m terrified what the next pregnancy and baby will bring. The thought of going through it again is what has kept me from having another baby thus far, but at least I know now that I’m not alone.

  20. Deidra says:

    Babble I commend you for this amazing story. Not often do we speak openly and mindfully about PPD/PPA. This peice of writing hit close to home. I remember the darkest moments of my life. I remember those terrible thoughts. I remember those so vividly. I fought those battles and I pray I never have to go through them ever again. Thank you for bringing this up. Hugs to all the women!

  21. Deb says:

    I commend all of you for your raw honesty. I suffered from PPD/PPA too and didn’t know it at the time.. until when my 3 yr old was 8 months old- I broke down in tears at my doctor’s office saying I hadn’t slept since she was born and was a mess. Sleep medication and an antidepressant saved me. I never had thoughts of actually harming her but did envision running away, not waking up, and what my life was like before her. I was extraordinarly overwhelmed and cried every day. Now I also have a 6 month old and thankfully was spared the second time. I also knew what to look for and so did my husband. Somehow I managed to hide it from EVERYONE else the first time, including my mother who is a midwife! Thanks for helping me feel not alone. :) xo

  22. Roslynn says:

    Thank you to these brave women who shared their most internal thoughts and feelings. I could have written some of those stories myself and am so thankful to them for sharing. Knowing I’m not alone in how I felt and that I’m not alone in choosing to stay medicated through my second pregnancy is a huge relief. This post should be shared a thousand times over.

  23. Dana says:

    I had PPD with my DS. I was terrified because I had 2 miscarriages before I got pregnant with him and I wanted him so bad. Then he was born jaundiced and I had to carry this machine around everywhere we went and he was on a 3 foot “leash” attached to it for 2 weeks. He cried all the time and I never slept. I was hanging curtains one day and there was a hammer on the coffee table. He was supposed to be having tummy time on the floor but kept fussing and I thought if that hammer fell on him he’d be quiet. The next night after I finally got him back to sleep for the 4th or 5th time I thought if I just put a pillow over his face I might get some sleep. Immediately I took myself downstairs and told my DH that he had to take care of him because I couldn’t trust myself. It was horrible and I was disgusted with myself. First thing in the morning I called and made an appt with a psychologist and had my Dr put me on some meds. Within about a month I felt better but it was the most harrowing experience of my life. Ironically I was also constantly afraid of SIDS and since I worked early my DH had to call me when my DS woke up. If he forgot I freaked out. That lasted nearly a year. It is nice to know that other moms feel these things too. Thanks for posting this thread.

  24. sandra says:

    Thank you to all who shared. I had PPD with both my children, although with the first it was much worse. I prepared myself and the doctor in case it happened again with the second, which it it did. With my son, it took me 4 months and 3 different meds before the last kicked in. It was rough though, I would sit for hours in a recliner and hold him because I felt that if I didn’t move anywhere then I wouldn’t hurt him. I was so sad that I didn’t get the joy that most mothers feel at the birth of their babies, I just want him to go away, but at the same time I kept telling myself how much he was wanted before these feelings came. So I would hold him, to not hurt him but also to let him feel warmth from a mother who couldn’t seem to find love for him. I was also terrified of telling anyone, that as I washed dishes I wondered what would happen if I stuck a knife through his fontanel, or upstairs in his room, what if I just through him out the window. Horrific thoughts that would then cause panic attacks. Please know that you are not alone, let your doctors know, they will understand and get you the help you need. With my second, my daughter I was feeling better by the 3rd week on Zoloft. I also was blessed in that PPD didn’t rear its ugly head until 1 day after her birth so I had that goo-goo love fest that most mothers experience at the borth of their babies. With my son, my panic attacks started before his borth so when they placed him on my belly after his birth I felt nothing, I cried but felt like a fraud because I wasn’t feeling it at all. God Bless you all, thank you for sharing.

  25. Teresa says:

    I hope you are all feeling better!

  26. Cambryn Smiith says:

    I to have been through the utmost suffering. I had my first baby 11 years ago and never had any problems, so it came as quite a shock to me that with my second, I literally shut down. And I’m still shut down. Some days I find that I’m afraid to even pick him up, much less be alone with him. I jealous of the relationship my seven month old has with his daddy, and I feel I’m no longer number one. I’ve been to psychiatrists, counseling and still some days I can’t even pull myself out of bed to walk five feet to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I’ve contemplated suicide, but I don’t have the guts, plus I hold on to the faith that this affliction will eventually end. Will it?

  27. Lindsey says:

    The brutally honesty in this article and confidence of these ladies is so beautiful. It truly makes me proud to be a Mama. Look at what you.. we’ve overcome!

  28. Damien Woody says:

    Xanax 1 mg (Alprazolam) is a tranquilizer used in the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or the treatment of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder is marked by unrealistic worry or excessive fears and concerns. Anxiety associated with depression is also responsive to Xanax. Some doctors prescribe Xanax to treat alcohol withdrawal, fear of open spaces and strangers, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome.

    Damien Woody
    Antianxiety-drugs.com

  29. Samantha says:

    I didn’t realize that the way I was feeling was more than BabyBlues until month 4 when everyone would tell me how much I must love my daughter and I totally didn’t. I had no emotions towards her. I was going through the motions, doing what I was supposed to do but was completely numb. As soon as I started seeing a therapist and got on some meds I felt so much better and like a cloud was clearing. For me, I didnt “meet” my baby until she was 6 months old. I recommend to anyone struggling yo find a professional to talk to and get help. Because it can and will get better if you just take the steps.

  30. Shannon says:

    Thank you! I wish more mothers would share these experiences. I suffered PPA. I was horrified by thoughts of harming my infant son. I knew I needed help when I envisioned throwing him off of a pier as we were sightseeing. I felt such a strong urge to throw him that I gave him to my husband and walked away from them so that I wouldn’t do it. I didn’t understand how I could be having these thoughts. I felt like a monster. Fortunately, once the therapist explained intrusive thoughts to me and how common they were they had less power over me. I continued to experience them on occasion, but they were fleeting and I no longer felt the horror, confusion and shame or obsessed over them as I had before. It was so hard to admit to my husband what I was going through and seek help from a therapist, but it was such a relief to get the help I desparately needed.

  31. ab says:

    I also suffered from PPD/PPA and feel that Lexapro saved my life. I know that drugs are controversial (to this day my husband still isn’t really supportive of me taking them), but for me it was HANDS DOWN the best thing that I ever did for myself and my family. Within a week of the first dose the cloud had lifted and I was able to function like a normal human being. Like Samantha, I felt like I was meeting my son for the first time. If you are suffering like the mothers in this article then please consider the option of taking medications. (By the way, I continued to breastfeed while on the medication.)

  32. Cat says:

    I am very relieved to know that I am not alone. I suffered from ppd/ppa after my second child. I still suffer from it till this day and I am very afraid of what is going to happen because I am pregnant again. I have took myself off my meds and the hormones are crazy right now. I hope that after I give birth that I will be ok and not get any worse than what I already am. Thank you ladies for putting yourselves out there and helping me to realize that it can get better I just have to keep fighting.

  33. Amy says:

    I read this and began to cry. In my car. While I was waiting for my mother who is incredibly controlling to bring my daughter back to me after spending some time with her. When I first had my daughter I thought that my life would get better. My relationship is awful and my parents are ass holes sometimes. Nothing got better, and I blamed my daughter. I resented her because my life just got infinitely better and worse at the same time. I honestly don’t know if I suffered only ppd after giving birth… And it’s horrible because some feelings remain. I love my daughter but I do everything alone and am under this microscope of judgement from my family about what I do wrong and what not. My bf would rather play games than spend time with either of us (daughter and me). Then the obsession about how I am going to screw up my child and she’d be better off with just my memory hit hard and I felt so so alone. I still do and she’s almost 16 months now. Reading this has helped because although the situations don’t seem similar the obsession is there and that feeling that you are just fucking nuts is something I can relate to.

  34. Ralynna says:

    Thank you so much for haveing this thread I just spent 5 days in a psychiatic intake facility due to postpardum and anxiety never knew that there were so many women out there thinking the same things :) Thank you ladies

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