I have postpartum depression/rage and anxiety. I was first diagnosed after I had my twins and after I had a massive panic attack in my father’s car. I was scared of being in cars with the babies… I had this irrational fear that we would crash and die or the tires would come off the car and we would crash and die… Basically I was afraid of crashing and dying… I was also scared to feed them food… The squirts would not eat purees like normal babies. So I had to do a smooshy version of baby led weaning. Scared the crap out of me!!! I always thought they would choke and die. Catching onto my postpartum theme… lol… I was a mess… lol.
So I called a postpartum organization and started talk therapy in a group setting. It was great. It was nice not to feel alone and hear other moms, plus they offered child minding! Thank You!!! Once a week I would go and listen and talk and be child-free for 2 hours. It was amazing.
By the time the girls were 1, I thought I was over it, cured! Greg and I were fighting because he was inconsiderate and mean and never listens to me. Not because there was something wrong with me… Of course not! I was NOT oversensitive and I did NOT freak out over nothing or have a hair trigger temper!
He was wrong… I was right! Right?
Just after the girls turned 1 we made the huge decision to move across the country to Nova Scotia to be close to Greg’s parents. It was scary for me; I was leaving everything and everybody I knew. I was leaving my life behind to start a new one. It was also kind of exciting. I have never done anything this adventurous. I’ve never traveled; I lived in a bubble and liked the comfort I had within it. So when June 2015 came and it was time to leave my protective bubble I was very scared but I pretended that this was 100% what I wanted. I put on my brave face and big girl panties and said goodbye to my life…
When I first moved I was in tears and cried at least twice a day for a month… Leaving my parents was the hardest. I still get weepy when I think of me and my dad’s goodbye. My dad and I couldn’t even talk to each other for 2 weeks or we would cry; it was too tough.
Anyway, here I was in Nova Scotia. Staying with my in-laws who are lovely and I am blessed that they are very kind, loving and generous. They live in the country with dirt roads and bugs… lots and lots of bugs… I also don’t have a driver’s license and we didn’t have a car at the time. So we were pretty much home bound.
Did I mention the obscene amount of bugs? So… many…bugs!
Coming from Vancouver I was used to a certain amount of hustle and I went for a walk almost every day with the girls. But here there was nowhere to walk to and I was getting attacked by flies… giant flesh eating flies! I didn’t want to go outside… I was starting to feel isolated and lonely. I was feeling like I/we had made the wrong decision.
Greg was working hard to find a job. It didn’t take him too long. September 1st Greg got a job offer and we found out that I was miraculously pregnant. I say miraculous because I am/was infertile. We used egg donor for the twins (my sister eggs… I will elaborate in a later blog) so I was shocked. Also a bit upset. We were done. We were a family of 4 and that was great. I was also 39… I was pretty sure I didn’t want to have a baby at 40.
Fast forward through a hellish pregnancy, where I am sick and angry at the world and everyone in it… I am constantly yelling and crying at my children and my husband. Again it is all their fault, not mine… Never mine.
Then Charlie came… the sweetest baby… I was instantly in love. But for some reason I was still freaking angry! The final straw for me was that one day I almost hurt my daughter.
I almost really hurt Nora.
I had this RAGE! I could no longer control it. I could no longer be alone with my children. (Thankfully my sister was here followed by my mom and then my dad). I called mental health right away. I was truthful. I didn’t hide anything. No one came to take away my kids; No one treated me like I was a villain. They got me help right away. In a matter of days I was with a therapist. Within a week I saw a psychiatrist. After 2 or so weeks I was starting Zoloft…. oh Zoloft… What can I say about you…. I LOVE YOU!!!!
It took a few months to get my dosage right but when it was right, it was right! I can see things clearly now. The depression-rage cloud is gone and I can breathe. I feel almost like it did before children. My marriage is 100% better. I’m a better mother to my kids. I can control my emotions way better… I still get angry; I just don’t flip out…. I can still cry… they haven’t made me a zombie… They have made me me again (oh there’s the grammar we know and love). I want to stay on them forever!
I can also look back at the past 2 years and realize I have been dealing with this all along and it never went away and I was angry, crazy, and always ready for a fight.
I can also see that even though my children love me they don’t 100% trust me. It hurts, but I understand it and am working very hard to regain their trust. I’m sure the same goes for my husband. When I was raging I said some pretty mean things and I’m sure they are hard to forget. Even though he knows it really wasn’t me and that I couldn’t help it or see it. It still probably hurt and for that I am so sorry.
I also know that our move was the right decision. Being an SAHM is something Greg and I both want for our family and it can happen more easily here. Seeing things clearly is such a relief (insert cheesy 90’s song here…. we all know the one).
Being medicated doesn’t take away all my crazy… I’m still a total nut bar… I’m still afraid that my children will choke and die, so much so that they are never alone while eating. (I should tell you that my children do seem to choke a lot… probably because when they eat, they think that they will NEVER EAT AGAIN and stuff their faces till there is no room… I have no idea how to stop that… AND sometimes they forget to chew and try to swallow things whole.) I’m still ruled by my emotions which my logical minded husband just loves.
I guess what I’m trying to say in this long winded ramble is, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid of what people may think. There is nothing wrong with you. You have to do what’s best for you and your family. Post Partum Depression/Rage/Anxiety are not dirty words and is very serious. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Talking about it normalizes it.
I am constantly talking about PPD and about being medicated. I talk about it seriously, I make jokes. I put it out there so it will no longer be a topic that makes everyone uncomfortable. I know meds are not for everyone, I’m not saying run to the drug store… But for me, they saved my life…. I LOVE MY HAPPY PILLS.
If you or someone you know needs help, please refer to 1800ppdmoms.com for guidance and support.
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About the Writer
Deanna Crawford is MomCraze, a stay-at-home mom of 2.5-year-old twin girls and a 6-month old boy living in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada. She started to write her thoughts as a way of keeping sane and hopes her contribution makes other mothers laugh and feel a sense of solidarity. Originally from Vancouver, Deanna spent her pre-child years singing in bands, staying up late and staying in bed until at least 10am. Deanna loves to laugh, drink wine with friends and really loves the idea of sewing – though she has yet to try it. Follow MomCraze on Twitter and Facebook!