I received an e-mail from a mom named Peggy who shared her PPD experience with me. I was so touched by her story that I asked her if I could share it on my blog, and she said sure. I'm always so grateful when other moms share their stories because it not only helps build our growing PPD Prevention community, but it also helps other women who are suffering realize they're not alone.
Here's Peggy's message:
"Hi, I think you're doing great talking about your experience. I was so emotionally impressed with your site. I have also suffered from PPD after my second child, and I must say it was a nighmare. Five months i was running around like a zombie. I couldnt sleep i was so anxious that when it came to go to bed, i was convinced that i wouldn't sleep. I only sweated thru the night. I dont know why but i worried over every silly thing. In the morning I had no appetite to eat, and i was a frequent visitor to the toilet with diarrhea. I lost ten pounds and had ups/downs every second. I don't have to tell you how terrible this is. I kept running from doctor to nutritionist and I was almost a vitamin cabinet. Until one day i went to a chiropracter and he told me that his wife had the same thing and she went to a physiciatrist. I THOUGHT HE WAS INSANE. Me to a physiciatrist -- I'm not mentally ill. I felt physically ill. I felt like I was having the flu since my baby was born. After all, my supportive husband made me go, and I must say that that day changed my life. When i found out about PPD i was so relieved that it was only this! He put me on zoloft. I was on it for 18 months and I had an easy weaning. Thank god that I'm over with this and I definitely became stronger in nature and confidence. One thing that still bothers me is that I have a phobia of getting pregnant again. My baby is almost 3 years now, I would eventually want another baby. Besides that I still have times that i can't sleep and my anxiety, mood, eating disorder, returns, and it takes me time to bounce back, which makes me happy to see that i can do it on my own, But will this ever fade away? i hate when the down days come. My mind keeps nudging and racing that i'm falling back and maybe i'll need medication again. I feel sick of it. Again thanks for your support and keep up your good work." PEGGY
I wrote Peggy back and let her know how great I think she's doing with handling her "down" times. I imagine that much of that comes just from the natural stress of having kids to raise and all of the daily physical, mental and emotional work that it involves nearly every minute.
I remember all too well the times after I had recovered from PPD when I still would feel occasional feelings of sinking down. They weren't that bad, compared to when I had full-blown depression, and I was always able to "get back up," but it was still troubling and made me nervous and a little scared, just like how Peggy describes. When I had those times, I tried to remember what my psychologist at the time would tell me: to be gentle on myself, not to panic or beat myself up over not feeling good, and to know that I would get through those stressful moments and that that's all they were -- a response to stress.
And, like Peggy, I also had such a fear about a future pregnancy and was terrified when I became pregnant with my fourth child. But I knew what to expect -- I'd already been through the worst, and was careful to educate myself on how to prevent PPD. And it worked! It's amazing and empowering to know that you can actually choose to avoid the PPD hell that you've experienced before.
Anyway, many kudos to Peggy for sharing her story!!! Peggy, you're an incredibly strong woman!