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Tammi is an amazing woman. She is a wife and mother. She writes the blog, Momma’s Meals, which combines food and stories of motherhood. Today she is sharing a brave story that maybe you can relate to or it can help you get through your current struggles in life.
I’ve always been a pretty happy person, I had a good childhood, was a good kid (for the most part) J I have heard of depression before, it’s in my family, I’ve witnessed it, but when it consumed me, I had no clue what it was, where it came from, or when it reared it’s ugliness upon me.
Let me rewind a little and fill you on how I got to be where I am today, a thirty something year old mother, wife, daughter, sister, cousin, best friend who suffers from postpartum depression.
When I was 23 I lost my father to lung cancer, watching him fade away for 9 mths was by far the worst time in my life, however it was also the best time in my life…..yes you heard me correctly. I loved it because I got to know my father in a way that I never thought was possible. Life wasn’t really all that easy after that, not because of the loss that I had suffered but because I feel like I turned into an adult over night! I destroyed my relationship; I went from job to job, trying desperately to “find myself” I thought all my childhood life that I would just stay home and be a mommy, that’s what my mom did, why couldn’t I have that? I wanted that.
I spent years doing what every twenty something year old does, drinks, parties, date after date, stayed up until 4am gossiping with my girlfriends, bought endless amount of clothes and shoes that I didn’t need. As the end of my twenties neared I had to accept that maybe being a “mommy” just wasn’t in the cards for me because I had yet to make any relationship work. I had yet to meet the one. I even thought at times, maybe I had met the one but I was just too damaged to actually make it work so my punishment in life would just have to be …..being that career, single gal I desperately did NOT want to be.
Then November of 2005 came, I figured why not give it one more try so I signed up for an on-line dating site. (UGH yes I resorted to that) I swore after my first date when I thought I was going to have to be the one to tell this guy, nice as he was, that woman were probably not what he preferred! I then starting talking to someone but hesitated, one because I was just coming out of a relationship and two because, well I say I was damaged but in reality I was just scared. Scared of being disappointed again, scared of being hurt again, scared of losing that man in my life again, eh such is life right.
Well I gave in and met him, seven years later he is my husband and the father of my beautiful daughter. Now it wasn’t all fun and good times during those seven years however it brought me to where I am today so to me, it is part of my journey. The day Andy proposed to me was by the far the happiest day of my life, until the day I became his wife, until the day I became a mother.
We did try having a family as soon as we got married because well we were getting older! We wanted at least two kids if not more! Well months went by with disappointment after disappointed. My heart broke every month we found out we had not conceived. I thought I was being punished again, I thought maybe I was made to have the love of my life after all but by gosh Tammi don’t push it by having the family you’ve always wanted (my husband says this is the negative in me) however I can’t help it, I am who I am. We fought, we stressed, we cried, in February of 2010, nine months after we were married my dream came true.
When people tell you that you just need to relax and have fun, go with it, don’t stress, well they are right, because that’s exactly what we did. I had again, thought that was the happiest day of my life. I had a fantastic pregnancy, I never got morning sickness, I think the worst thing I really had was one week of heartburn and an uncomfortable last month, but hey anyone carrying another human being that big for that long is bound to get uncomfortable. My husband said I was a changed person, that since I was finally getting what I wanted I was positive, I was happy, I felt the glow, that old saying when they say a pregnant woman glows, I truly felt it.
BECOMING A MOTHER
October 27, 2010 the most amazing thing happened to me, after 24 hours of labor and three hours of pushing, I held my baby girl for the first time. I never in my life thought that I could love a human being more than I loved her at that moment….here was a little piece of both of us, how much better could life really get?!!
Yes, people warn you that your life is never the same. Yes, people tell you that your time is never yours again. Yes, friends gossip with you about how you’ll never sleep again, but these were all things I was willing to give up. These were all things that didn’t matter to me because I finally had the one thing I always wanted, a loving husband, a healthy happy baby girl, and knowing I could stay home and raise her.
Well I had heard of baby blues, I knew that your hormone drive crashes, how could it not, I was on a 9 month high; it had to crash at some point. I acted happy on the outside because it’s what you naturally do, I was too afraid of what people would say if I told them I was so down all the time, that it bothered me to no end when my baby cried, that I cried all the time. I had a supporting loving husband, a good baby, she was a great sleeper, a happy baby, I didn’t want to complain, and I didn’t want to be selfish. So I trudged on. The summer was a bit easier, I was around family and friends all summer at our camp, the sun is out all the time, it’s just a happier time of the year. The summer ended, and I fell apart again. I assumed that one day I’d just snap out of it and I’d just be happy with everything I had one day, that once my daughter passed a certain stage, the next one would be better, it had to be. But it wasn’t. I went to my local mommy group as much as I could, just for the support, people say that being around other mother’s makes you feel so “not alone” and it helped.
While I was their one day I saw a brochure for Postpartum Depression group that was at the nearby hospital in town. I contacted the woman that runs it and told her I wasn’t sure if I had PPD, I hadn’t been diagnosed with it however I felt like I did since I was still so down 10 months after giving birth. She told me I was welcome to join their meetings and their on-line group. In the mean time I went to my PCP and told her my symptoms, not only was I depressed, just not happy, and extremely lethargic, I had severe anxiety, it was starting to consume me, I told her I was canceling on my friends, bailing on my family, staying in because it was easier, I fought with my husband over random things that were just absurd! She then wrote me a prescription for Paxil.
I was so against medicine, I hated the thought of a pill making me happy however what I was trying to accept was that PPD is something that you can’t help, you can’t control it, the pill wasn’t going to “make” me happy it was going to “help”. At first I felt fantastic, I fought less with my husband (even he noticed!), I didn’t “flip” out over stupid things, my anxiety was at a low, and I was getting out more. About 10 weeks into I started feeling really tired all the time, I started napping when my daughter napped, I would get tired walking up the stairs, I stopped working out, something wasn’t right, and I guess I should have noticed that I was gaining weight but whenever I stepped on the scale and saw that I weighed more than I did the day I delivered, I sat on the floor and cried. My daughter wobbled her way over to me and sat down next to me. It was the sweetest gesture, I cried even more. I didn’t want her to see me like this, I didn’t want to miss out on the happy times, I didn’t want to wish my life away waiting for the next stage to be over, this medicine wasn’t working. I tried desperately to get a hold of my PCP, I even went in and saw someone else because she was out of town, this doctor told me that he didn’t feel comfortable changing my meds, I’d have to wait. The morning that I heard my baby girl crying and I had to literally drag myself out of bed to care for her was the day I decided that enough was enough. This was absurd. I’ve read that you can’t just stop taking Paxil; you need to gradually come off of it so I decided to start weaning myself off of it. It took me a little over a month and all was good, I felt fine until 48 hours after I had taken my last pill.
I can’t even describe to you the way I was feeling, I still have such a hard time talking about those next 72 hours because it was the first time in my life I had to reach out for help (if you know me you know that I don’t ask for help.) I finally got in to see my PCP and she told me the way I was feeling was NOT a part of withdrawals from the Paxil, that it was just another issue. I was devastated, I couldn’t go another day feeling like that, my husband had to stay home from work to help take care of my daughter. Then I decided to contact the director that ran the PPD group at the local hospital, I never did go to a group session however I talk to these woman on line every day. I explained the way that I was feeling, and she assured me that the way I was feeling was due to withdrawals. That I may want to think about taking a very low dosage of the Paxil again just to take away the symptoms I was feeling. She also got me in touch with a therapist that could talk to me about certain medication and options for me; she assured me that there was help out there for me. Within 24 hours of taking a low dosage of Paxil I instantly felt better again. I also had started seeing a therapist that specialized in PPD and motherhood. I then got an apt with the specialist that could talk to me about other medication.
I was so scared, I never wanted to take another drug in my life, and I never wanted to go through that again. She assured me that Paxil was very different than other medications and that I probably should never had gone it (yeah 25 pounds later I find out!!) UGH….
The therapist convinced me to try another medication so I did. I see my regular therapist every other week and I’m now eight weeks into a new medication. I have my energy back, I’m more active, I go out more with my daughter, I’ve discovered a new love, cooking and blogging!! I feel great! I sit back and watch my daughter laugh, I watch her grow and discover the world.
I sometimes regret that I didn’t reach out for help sooner, but I can’t go back in time I can only learn from it, I can only share my story and let others that are suffering that they are not alone and that there is help out there. I recently attended a convention on PPD and Awareness, I was moved, sometimes I just think that people don’t have the knowledge about PPD, they don’t have the right people to turn to. Doctors, nurses, therapists don’t know the signs and symptoms enough. This convention was all about what to look for, what to ask, what to expect, I suffered for a year because I didn’t know!
I’m not embarrassed anymore to tell my story. I’m not ashamed to say I needed help. I’m proud that I reached out because now my daughter has the very best of me. Her Mother.
Visit me at http://www.mommasmeals.wordpress.com/ for more mommy stories, don’t worry they will make you laugh!! Also check out some great recipes from your favorite places!! Thank you Carol for allowing me to do a guest post, I look forward to staying in touch and having you over on my site soon!
Follow Tammi’s adventures on motherhood on her blog, Momma’s Meals.