I started taking anti-depressants when my son was 9 months old. I did not start taking them because of post-partum depression and anxiety. I started taking them because I had a traumatic birth and was having a difficult time coping. All of a sudden I started having panic attacks, fits of unexplainable rage, and lows where I would barely leave my house or interact with other people. I was a very social person and craved human interaction but I would stay at home. I was getting mad at my husband. I was not doing housework, or managing our money. I would go days without personal care. I would stay up all night cleaning the house because I couldn’t take the mess anymore. I would try to sleep when the baby slept but couldn’t. I would isolate myself from friends and families. I was chronically late for engagements because of the anxiety associated with going out. I was eating, and gaining weight. I struggled with nursing. I struggled with managing my life and relationships. I knew that there was something wrong, but it couldn’t be post-partum, not me. I had a background in counselling, and was emotionally “stable”. I had an amazing husband, a semi-supportive family, and great friends that were on maternity leave with me. I just couldn’t have post-partum depression.
So now, 2 ½ years after the birth of my son, I can say “I had post-partum depression and anxiety”. I can also say that I am strong, a survivor, a good mother, a great wife and I did everything I could to heal through my experience. Today, I have stopped taking my anti-depressants and I am feeling great! It hasn’t come easy and I have hit a few bumps in the road, but I made it. I went through counselling, some very intense counselling. I reached out to support groups and found amazing friends. I took medication to help manage my moods. I started trying to eat healthier and exercise (still working on that one). I knew that I needed help and looked everywhere for it.
Through my journey I have learned so much about post-partum depression, anxiety, and other post-partum mood disorders. I have learned that it can affect anyone; women, men, women with 3 babies, women having their first baby, women that had no history of depression, and women with a history of mental illness, women from every socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Post-partum depression does not discriminate. I have also learned that we have some great resources that can help with Post-Partum Depression. I have learned that it sometimes just takes that one friend, that one counsellor, or that one resource to help. I have learned that sometimes it takes a whole village to help.
Post-Partum is hard. Having a baby is hard. Reaching out and asking for help is hard. Knowing that I wasn’t alone in this process, helped me. Knowing that other women had suffered and survived helped. Knowing that I can help other women identify with having post-partum depression and get help, helps.
A couple of resources that have helped me are:
- Post-Partum Counsellor at AHS Mental Health
- Post-Partum Group (Mindful Connections) FSCA
- Watching “When the Bough Breaks” on Netflix
- VBAC Awareness Support Group of Red Deer and Central Alberta
- Connecting with a Birth Trauma Counsellor
- Finding a supportive family doctor that helped manage my medications
- Reaching out to safe Family and Friends
- Accessing trusted information online
Use the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to help assess for post-partum depression. Alternate languages can be found on this website as well.
For more information about Baby blues, Post-Partum Depression and Post-Partum Psychosis
Written by an FSCA staff member