Wednesday, August 7, 2013


For the past few days I’ve had a nagging feeling that I need to write about my experience with postpartum.  I don’t know why.  It’s not something that I ever meant to share with anyone, let alone family and strangers alike.  And yet, here I am.  Maybe there’s someone out there that needs to know they are not alone. 

That being said, I hope that by sharing my experiences I will not become the target of any harsh words or unkind remarks in regards to this very real situation.  It is a very real and sometimes very scary place to be within yourself. 

When I first found out that Anthony and I were expecting our first baby we were over the moon about it!  I admit that I was nervous.  I knew that starting a family with him meant there was no turning back.  And by that I mean this….

…There was a time in the beginning of our courtship and marriage that I was, admittedly, in love with someone else.  This someone else had gone on an LDS mission, I met Anthony a very short time later, ping ponged my feelings back and forth between the two of them and finally realized at some point that Anthony was the one that I was supposed to marry.  I know others in my family saw it very differently but this is the truth.  {More on that when I start on our Love Story}

Knowing that I was supposed to be with Anthony didn’t make it easy to write the Dear John letter to the missionary.  It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life and even as a married woman, I had an extremely hard time letting go of those feelings.  Any time that I was upset with Anthony for whatever reason, my mind would race back to the missionary.  Sometimes I would even create reasons to be upset with him.  There was actually a time that I thought about divorcing Anthony in the hopes that I would still have a chance with the other guy. 

I thought having a baby would fix all of this.  All the old feelings for the other guy would magically disappear and life would be perfect.  It was my point-of-no-return. 

It doesn’t quite work that way, as I found out. 

I was thrilled to be pregnant!  It was exciting to be starting a family of our own.  And Anthony couldn’t have been more ecstatic!  He had always wanted to be a daddy.  He had written about his desire to be a father in his journal during his mission. 

Postpartum depression wasn’t something that I ever thought about until my birthing class when they talked about it a little bit.  Now, I’m not one to feel invincible.  I am very much aware that something… ANYTHING could happen to me or someone that I love at any time.  And I often worry that something will happen.  I’m pretty much just one giant ball of worry at any given moment.  I’m always thinking of the worst case scenarios.  However, I never really worried too much about postpartum.  I didn’t consider myself at risk for depression… at least not then. 

Now, when I look back, I think that I was already at high risk because of the emotional conflictions I was having within myself at the time. 

So, baby was born, everything went beautifully, she was perfect, and we were elated!  I went through the normal ‘baby blues’ kind of thing, got the nursing thing down after a couple of weeks, and we were just happy. 

Except that I wasn’t. 

Just before having my beautiful baby girl was when Andrea Yates (sp?) had drowned her 5 beautiful children in their bathtub.  Do you remember this in the news?  I remember looking at my perfect daughter and realizing something… this child is completely, 100% dependent on me.  For everything!

I realized that I could do anything… and she would be powerless to stop me. 

It was an overwhelming feeling.  This feeling of being 100% responsible for another human being was just too much.  It’s not that I wanted to hurt her, I loved her!  I just knew I was in complete control.  

At first, I thought this was all just part of the baby blues.  But when it went on for more than just a couple of weeks I knew something was wrong.  I tried to hide it until I just couldn’t anymore. 

Finally, I told Anthony.  He immediately gave me the first of many priesthood blessings for this issue. 

When another week or so went by and things hadn’t changed much I decided to call my doctor.  The nurse told me she didn’t think I had postpartum after explaining things to her.  But I knew better.  I tried to believe her but I knew…

There came a point that when I was upset with Anthony in the early weeks of my daughter’s life that I would think, I should just scratch her to make him mad. 

Please don’t judge… I was in a place that wasn’t right for me.  I absolutely knew that wasn’t the right thing to do and yet, I just wanted to get through to him.  I knew that hurting her would get his attention… FAST!  Thankfully, I never followed through with the thought. 

{{Please know that I never, ever did anything to hurt my daughter.}}

He loved that little girl in a way that I didn’t know a father could love his daughter.  It was truly magical to see in those moments that my head was in the right place.  But in those moments that I wanted his attention all on me, it was all I could do not to throw a fit!

Things continued this way for several more weeks and I received a few more priesthood blessings from Anthony over that time.  Those blessings helped me to realize something… I was jealous!  Jealous… of a sweet, tiny little baby.  A baby that I brought into this world.  A baby that I love and adore!  I believe the blessings absolutely worked the way that they were supposed to and I was able to recover without the help of medications.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t think they are necessary.  

In one of the blessings I remember being told in one of the blessings to ‘not be idle’.  I talked to Anthony about it afterwards and we decided together that I needed a hobby.  Something to make me think happy thoughts.  Something that kept my mind on the positive… not dwelling on the negative and allowing idle thoughts to enter my mind.  So, I began scrapbooking… again.  I fell in love with it and Miss K is the only one that has a scrapbook.  Once I had two kids I was far too busy to scrapbook.  :)  (I was never going to be THAT mom!  But I totally am…)

Please, please, please if you are struggling with postpartum, PLEASE seek help from a professional.  I wholeheartedly believe that the nurse I spoke with was wrong in telling me I wasn’t suffering.  And yes, I was able to overcome it without medication but looking back, I think it really could have helped. 

There is absolutely NO SHAME in confiding in your doctor about any postpartum issues.  Ask questions, be aware, be HONEST! 

I’ve been lucky to have not had any postpartum issues with any of the other babies.  The chances of suffering it a second time are pretty high.  So please seek help if you have any signs at all.  Remember… NO SHAME! 



Kay said...

I know this took a lot of courage to share. Postpartum is very real and people need to know it doesn't make you a bad person or mother. I was warned that even adopting mom's can suffer from postpartum. I have had my share of feelings of being overwhelmed or so sleep deprived I just cry. Luckily I have been able to get past it.
Its a very big change to have a baby. Physically and emotionally. Thanks for sharing. You are one of the best mothers I know!

LeShel said...

Love you and your honesty. Postpartum is nasty. I've been exhausted with it after multiple children. It showed itself in a different way with me but it was miserable.

Christine said...

Brooke, thank you for sharing. I remember the day my daughter wouldn't stop crying and the only thought that I had in my head was that I wanted to smother her with a pillow because she wouldn't stop any other way. That was when I started on depression meds, and I'm grateful I figured out that was just the postpartum talking and not me. It's very important to recognize it and get help.