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One of the best things about the online world is meeting other amazing women and hearing their stories of strength, love, and passion. This is one of those stories. Meet Yasmin, mama of two sweet boys and mental health advocate on Instagram (@mylifewithppd)
“No, you just have the baby blues” was what I was told when I hysterically called my OB’s office at 2 weeks postpartum. I had summoned up the courage to finally call and ask for help and I got pushed aside and put in the same basket as everyone else.
I called through tears and said “I think I have postpartum depression,” which is hard enough to admit as it is. The receptionist transferred my phone call to the intake nurse where she proceeded to ask a bunch of standard questions to ascertain if I was a risk to myself or others.
I distinctly remember her asking if I was having thoughts of harming myself and or others. Too ashamed to admit I actually was having thoughts of harming myself, I quietly said no. She then proceeded to tell me that it was NOT postpartum depression because I wasn’t suicidal.
She told me that I should try to calm down as much as I can because the stress can pass into my breastmilk and upset my two week old baby’s stomach, as if I wasn’t feeling guilty enough. She told me to run out to the store and buy essential oils.
Feeling so incredibly misunderstood and dismissed I just said okay. She told me that if I was feeling like this again to call and “she’d talk me off the ledge”.
I hung up the phone and couldn’t breathe from crying so much; I felt like I was talking and everyone around me was deaf. I said to my husband that this is why we lose SO MANY women during the postpartum period.
We find the courage to come forward and ask for help and we get ignored. I didn’t give up, I called five days later and said I absolutely need an appointment to see my doctor, I got one the next morning and I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and borderline psychosis.
You see, this wasn’t my first rodeo, I had an older son born in January 2018. I got pregnant at 7 months postpartum; my babies are 16 months apart. I knew this wasn’t just the baby blues because I had suffered with that when I had my first and it lasted only 2 weeks. However, being more educated now I definitely am now aware that I did suffer from undiagnosed postpartum anxiety after my oldest was born.
I put it down to being a first time mother and being on the neurotic side but now I know better. I had all these terrifying thoughts of what could happen to him; I never really let anyone hold him, and the only time I left him was when I had my second son.
My anxiety became so bad that I then developed obsessive compulsive disorder which meant I had to do and say the same things to him at night more specifically or I feared the worst would happen. I only allowed him to wear the same pajamas because I was petrified of SIDS. I found myself googling every little thing that I noticed he did; it became an obsession.
I loved being a mother so much; it was all I ever wanted and I am also a stay at home mother. But I just wished I was more relaxed; nonetheless, I accepted this was how I would mother.
Fast forward to September 2018 when I found out I was 4 weeks pregnant; I had never felt so terrified in all my life. I felt every single emotion you could think of. I remember saying to myself “okay you have 9 whole months to adjust, come May you’ll be ready.”
Well, to my shock, in March 2019 when I was roughly 30 weeks pregnant, I begun feeling emotions that I had NEVER had in my whole life. I put it down to feeling overwhelmed while looking after a clingy toddler, a shift working husband, and being a stay at home mom which meant no break.
However, the pivotal moment for me was when I was home with my toddler, heavily pregnant, holding my son, and I got up because my dog wouldn’t stop barking. It triggered something I have never experienced: intense rage. I was so mad, I smashed the window of our door all while holding my son. I immediately called my husband and told him; I was so ashamed to admit the truth. I knew right then and there something wasn’t right with me.
I went to my OB at my 30 week appointment and told him that I thought I was suffering from depression. He told me to have the baby first and see how I went. Those last 10 weeks were hell, and I cried every single day; I resented the baby growing inside of me. I wanted to leave him at the hospital. I didn’t want him; it was seen as a chore rather than an exciting addition to our family.
I was too afraid to talk about it and I was even afraid to tell my husband because I was so incredibly ashamed for my thoughts. I was petrified if anyone were to catch on to my thoughts that I’d get my babies taken away from me. I knew I wasn’t crazy but what I was thinking was crazy. Fast forward to May 2019 I delivered a healthy baby boy, but that’s when it got worse.
After I was diagnosed with postpartum depression I went on Zoloft and into therapy. After 3.5 months of therapy and Zoloft, I realized I had seen absolutely no improvement. I decided to take myself out of therapy and focus on finding a therapist or place that specialized in postpartum mood disorders. Easier said than done, of course.
I ran into issues with my insurance not covering these places and also these places not accepting my insurance so I would have to pay out of pocket which as a single income family with 2 children, it’s almost impossible to do that.
I became very close to a wonderful lady from 2020mom which is an advocacy group and she quickly became my confidant. She advocated for me every day until I finally found a postpartum psychologist.
It took me MONTHS AND MONTHS to be seen, which meant the postpartum depression had an opportunity to manifest. As I am writing this, I have seen my psychologist 3 times. I am feeling hopeful and that I am heading in the right direction but it should never have taken THIS long. I have been suffering with this for 9 months; 9 months I can’t get back; 9 months my family can’t get back.
To anyone suffering from any type of postpartum mood disorders, I see you. I know how isolating it is but you mustn’t give up. Your babies and husband are never better off without you.
Advocate for yourself, don’t give up.
Yasmin is currently advocating for other mom’s battling PPD and postpartum mood disorders, all while continuing her own fight against mental illness, raising her sons, and giving a voice to those not strong enough to speak for themselves. Follow her on Instagram at @mylifewithppd.
If you feel that yourself or a loved one is suffering from postpartum depression or anxiety, do not hesitate to ask a professional for help and do not back down until that help is given. Postpartum depression is an extremely serious postpartum condition that is very hard to recognize and admit to because of feelings of shame and fear. No mother should suffer alone, and no mother should feel shame for suffering with a mental illness.
It is OKAY to ask for help. It is OKAY to be angry, sad, or hopeless. It is OKAY to feel overwhelmed with motherhood. It is OKAY to need medication and therapy.
Read about the symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety which can include intense feelings of hopelessness, sadness, emptiness, fear, panic, obsession, anger, and rage.
You are special. You are loved. You are needed, mama.