If you have read my previous posts, you might have gathered that I seem to be finding myself confronting a bit of Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Stress Syndrome. I am not having difficulty with depression but am experiencing the other symptoms connected with PPD or PPSS. Since the birth of our daughter, I've been coping with insomnia, anxiety, intense guilt, and uncontrollable anger.
I've written about my experiences with insomnia and anger in previous posts and have done quite a bit of research on the subject. As we live 2.5 hours away from the nearest city and are on a very tight budget, I am not currently able to seek therapy or see a doctor for anti-depressants (which I don't want anyway).
My husband and I are trying to cope with things on our own at the moment. I think it is important to note that I am not angry or disconnected from my baby AT ALL. If that were the case, I would seek help from a professional regardless of cost. Coping with things on our own hasn't necessarily been the easiest or best way to handle the situation. Until last night, it wasn't even us coping with this; it was just me. Therein, lies point of this post. I've discovered a key element of successfully coping with PPD. One absolutely must have a solid support system.
Last night was a breaking point for me. My husband and I got into a huge fight over the behavior I didn't even realize I was exhibiting, which led to a long discussion. Communication is important in any relationship but a MUST after bringing a new baby into the family. Our hormones of out of whack and do crazy things to our minds. We need to communicate our feelings to our partners. They aren't mind-readers (especially if they're men). The brains of men and women do not work the same way. We can use clues and behavior to decipher what our male partners might be feeling or what they might need, but they can't do this for us. We have to spell it out and thoroughly explain what we need from them. That's just the way it is, and it isn't something to be upset about. Men and women are just wired differently. Sooo... after arguing, lots of talking, and lots of crying (while trying to hold it back), my husband got the message. I need support in this.
At my absolute worst point last night, he forcibly held me (because I was so full of anger and so tense that I refused to be touched), and let me cry. I finally, FINALLY relaxed and just let go. I don't think I've ever cried like that in my life. I needed that support; I needed to know it was OK to express my feelings; I needed him to attempt to understand.
I have an amazing husband. As terrible as last night was, emotionally, he really helped me take a step forward. It might be a very small step, but it's a step.
If you think you might be dealing with PPD or PSS, try to find some sort of support system for yourself. Communicate with someone you trust, and don't be ashamed of what is happening inside your head. It's more common than you might think. If you would like to read more about PPD, visit the links below and/or talk to your doctor.
By the way, music helps me a great deal. My favorite right now? Tracy Chapman, "I'm Ready". I've loved this song for years and find it particularly calming now.
"Is Anger a Sign of Postpartum Depression?"
Postpartum Depression (BabyCenter)
Postpartum Depression Health Center
Managing Postpartum Depression (read through the tab options)