My Experience with Postpartum Depression: Part 1

I'd be willing to bet a good deal of mamas who read this have battled with Postpartum Mood Disorder in some form or another. Even though PMD is experienced by many women, all of our experiences are unique, and our healing processes are unique as well. My story is not your story, and what ended up helping me may not work for you–I share my experience though, in hopes that reading this might guide those who are also struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety find the healing that will work for them.

November 2012. Joshua was barely two months old.

PMD has come to visit me after the birth of each of my children–three separate times. My experience each time was so different from the others that I was completely blindsided every time it hit me.

The first time, the keyword was RAGE.

After Joshua was born, I felt like I would have a pretty good handle on motherhood. I had done so much reading and research about caring for a baby, and had made sure I had read about what to expect postpartum as well. I knew about the possibility of postpartum depression, and had resolved not to be one of "those moms" who didn't get the help she needed if I did start feeling depressed. And since sadness and despondency never hit me, I thought I was in the clear.

Only, I wasn't in the clear. Not at all. I was experiencing powerful, irrational emotion that felt completely beyond my control. I spent much of the first year of Joshua's life in a state of rage. I would snap at the smallest things. Sometimes I had to physically walk away from my screaming baby to make sure I didn't do anything stupid in a fit of anger–and that scared the absolute hell out of me, plus made me feel guilty beyond all reason. "What mom can't handle her baby crying a little?" is what I thought. The anger I felt, the emotional damage I did to my poor husband in my fits of rage, and the distance the angry feelings put between me and forming a bond with my firstborn made me feel utterly worthless and incapable as a mother, and as a human being.

But did I ask for help? No! Because rage is a facet of postpartum depression no one talked about. I had no idea what I was experiencing was a result of my whacked out hormones. I had no idea I was completely normal, and that it was well within reason to call my doctor and talk to him about my treatment options for the ugly feelings of rage that were plaguing me–and honestly, the few times I thought about possibly talking to someone about my situation, I pushed it out of my mind. Because rage was the emotion I experienced most frequently, I was worried that if I admitted what was happening to me, someone was going to label me a danger to my baby, swoop in, and take him away.

April of 2013. Joshua is 6 months old here.

Eventually, after Joshua turned one, my hormones evened out and the rage was left behind. In the midst of a more normal level of emotions, I learned how to better cope with my stresses. Of course I still got angry sometimes, as we all do, but the anger was manageable, and no longer put me in a place where I questioned my sanity, nor my ability to care for my child.

It wasn't until almost a year later, when Joshua was about to turn two that I stumbled across an article that talked about rage in the postpartum period, and I nearly wept after reading it. If only I had known. If only someone in my circle, either my family, friends, or someone I followed on social media was talking more openly about PMD. If only that rage aspect had been more common knowledge.

I felt a little bit jaded for a few days after reading that article. I felt like PMD and the lack of openness about the subject had robbed me of the joy I should have experienced in becoming a mother. I felt like I could have had this whole other life with my son that would have played out very differently if I had just known that postpartum rage was a normal, treatable thing and that what I was experiencing had no reflection on my worth as a mother.

I eventually put it behind me and realized what was past was past. When I became pregnant with our sweet Felicity girl, I knew very well what could be waiting for me after her birth, and this time I resolved for things to be different–and they definitely were. Just not in the way that I had hoped.

36 weeks pregnant with Felicity here, in May of 2015.

Part two of my journey with postpartum depression is coming tomorrow, so watch for that. And if you can relate to my experience, I implore you to SHARE. Share your experience for your sake in getting the help you need, and for the sake of others who may not be aware that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and that they can find healing. That there are people who will support them and help them find the joy the so desperately want to have in motherhood. SHARE.

Read part two of my PMD journey here

Have you ever experienced postpartum rage? 

No comments