Love & Relationships

‘Having Postpartum Depression At 21’: A Letter To All Young Mothers

I’m not too sure why discussing postpartum depression seems taboo. When I had my first child in 2012, call me naïve, I had no idea what postpartum depression was, nor was it ever taught to me. I had heard about it, but I was under this preconceived notion that it was something that people went through when they didn’t want their child. I know, it was an ignorant thought. I was barely 21 when I had my first. Postpartum depression was always a hot topic, but for some reason, it was never truly discussed with complete raw honesty.

I was diagnosed with postpartum depression before I even knew what it was. To make things worse, I started having full-blown panic attacks at the same time and was diagnosed with panic disorder shortly after. As a young adult, it was also something I had never heard of, and I admitted myself to the hospital thinking that I was dying. I had no idea that panic attacks could make you feel like your throat is closing, you were going to pass out, and give you heart palpitations all at the same time. It took a few years before I realized that I wasn’t having heart attacks; it was just panic. I wish I had someone to talk to about all of this at the time I was at my worst.

It’s hard to admit that you are struggling with postpartum depression, especially when everyone you know is congratulating you for this beautiful life you just spent so many hours bringing into the world. You look at this little person and smile, thinking how amazing it is that you created this little human in your own body. So why do you feel so down and empty?

Postpartum depression can differ from person to person. No matter what you’re feeling, it should be taken very seriously, and you should always seek medical help if you have symptoms. Listen to your body and mind. What took me so long to realize was that doctors are there to help you, not hurt you. If I could give any advice, the first thing would be to talk to a medical professional as soon as you feel symptoms. I wish I had done that so much earlier.

Symptoms of PD include feeling unable or unfit to be a mother, guilt, not feeling bonded to your baby, feeling as though you’re going crazy, irritation or anger, an emptiness or numbness, extreme sadness, loss of appetite or binge eating, insomnia, inability to focus, or even feelings of abandoning your family. And for some reason, we all feel like terrible people for admitting this. Do not ever feel ashamed of it. Up to 15% of women go through postpartum depression. I was someone that got hit hard with it, despite having a happy pregnancy. My pregnancy was filled with quite a few scares and medical problems, but other than that I was happy. After I had my baby I felt like I was glowing for roughly a week before this feeling of absolute misery and anxiety hit.

Again, I felt like I was dying. Like I was losing my mind and I was completely disconnected from the outside world. I lost touch with everyone- friends, family, neighbors, I just didn’t care. I had thoughts of leaving my child with loving family and getting away for a few months just to breathe. Even now I feel terrible saying this. I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore.

Fortunately, I ended up not only speaking to a doctor but I also spoke with a close relative who was going through the same thing at the same time; Well, roughly the same time. Her child came a few months after mine did but we were able to help each other and talk to each other through restless nights of feeling different levels of depression. I ended up spending five years in therapy (mine was that severe and other past events were triggered), and all of this ended up saving my life. If I hadn’t sought help, I’m afraid that I might not be alive today. Whether you are feeling postpartum depression, anxiety, or both, there is help out there and you should never feel embarrassed to seek it.

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About The Author: Natalie is a published article writer who has traveled the world and now resides in a small town in Kentucky enjoying the outdoors and family.

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