Welcome to a new week of #youarenotalone posts. Today, we have my good friend Author Sylvia Stein with us. She wanted to share her story about postpartum depression with you all today and how it was a scary time for her.
Remember, you can share your story with us through the rest of April by signing up here.
First and foremost, I wanted to thank Emerald Barnes for giving me this platform to speak about the issue of postpartum today. Over the years Emerald Barnes has not only been a fellow author, colleague but has also become a dear friend and I wanted to thank her for doing the #Youarenotalone posts on her blog this month of April.
I wanted to write this post to bring awareness to the debilitating factors that come with having postpartum depression. The main reason I know is because this is something that happened to me back in 2007.
One of the joys of my life is being able to say that I have been blessed with having three amazing children, Paul 11, Michael 9, and Consuelo (Connie) 6. However as much as I love my children nothing could have prepared me for the dark cloud that was looming over me back in 2007.
Looking back at it now, it seems like a life time ago. But during those 6 months which seemed like years everything became scary and unfamiliar. This is my story.
I remember the feeling of holding my son Paul for the first time in February 14, 2005 and crying because I was just so blessed that my husband Jeremy who had been serving in Iraq for about 10 months was back in time to share in this amazing moment. As both my husband and I held our son and shared in the joy with my mom and dad (My husband’s parents who live in NC. All I thought at that moment was this was just bliss and I could hold my son for hours.
When I had Paul although I knew things were changing I was happy my husband was there to lend a hand and I could get things done with more ease having them around. It did become busier for us and at the time I was a Spanish Teacher for my Catholic School and having to go back and leave my son at home was tough. Luckily, Jeremy was able to say home the next few months since he had earned some money in the time he was overseas so he decided to stay home and this made it easier for me.
Time passed and there were many amazing things that year but shortly after I had my son I had to fly back home to Texas and say Goodbye to my dad who passed away from Cancer.
Little did I know that slowly but surely all of this things were adding up and what I thought was anxiety due to stress may have been one of the triggers of my postpartum or what led to it.
One of the things I was not expecting is to come to the news that I was having another baby so soon after my son Paul. It was about 15 months after and I was a bit surprised we were pregnant again.
Not to say we were not happy. But this time we knew that the two-bedroom apartment we had was not going to be enough.
Soon after our beautiful son Michael was born on April 16, 2006 at 4 a.m. in the morning. This say was Easter Sunday. We felt very blessed and we embraced in our growing family. By this time my husband Jeremy was working as a Heating Air Tech he was already out of the service and had enrolled at Wake Tech Community College the year before and had earned his certificate to begin working in the field as a tech.
My career stalled when I had Michael and soon after he was born I decided to not return to teach since I wanted to be home to take care of my two children.
At first things seemed manageable but by the time we moved to the town house in 2007 I slowly began to feel very overwhelmed. With My husband constantly being busy and coming home later in the day. It seemed like I was doing everything for my boys. Off course I know my husband always helped when he got home. However, I think in my emotional state I began to just struggle to get the house in order. No matter how much I tried to do I always thought it was not enough. The boys tended to be fuzzy a lot which made me want to break down and cry with them.
I did want to hold my children. That was not something I struggled with. But as soon as they cried or threw a tantrum I began to shut down and I felt anxious.
It was a feeling like no other. I did not understand how to go about it. My anxiety levels seemed to increase within every moment. Little task such as balancing my overall house duties became hard to do. When my husband asked what was wrong. I would just cry and let him hold me.
After a month he began to grow more concern. He saw that I was getting little rest from taking care of two boys. He looked at me and asked if maybe I could talk to my doctor about what was going on.
I agreed. I just wanted to get back to my normal routine.
My boys meant everything to me. I had never known this type of feeling. I felt alone more than ever. I did not want to feel like this since I knew my husband was there for me. I needed help. Once I set it aloud I felt relief.
The next morning, I called to set up my appointment my regular doctor. I already had a routine appointment so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to talk to her about everything that was going on with me.
After I went in to see the doctor and she examined me. I can still remember the doctor asking me if I was sleeping well or if I was having any other problems.
This was the moment. I could not hold my tears. I began to sob and broke down. I told her I was feeling overwhelmed and was having trouble just getting myself together in the morning to do everyday tasks.
After I stopped crying. She got close and said. “It is okay.” It looks like you may be experiencing post partum and we are going to work on how to get you back to your old self.
The doctor reminded me how I just had two babies back to back “It is not easy to have two babies and handle it all.”. She recommended a low dosage antidepressant to help and try out to see how it would go. I agreed to try it out.
After about a few months I began noticing the difference. The doctor recommended I begin daily exercise by walking and taking my boys with me and then playing in a local park.
I also began getting more into a routine with them and wrote a schedule down of different activities to add to each day.
After about 6 months I felt normal and I did not depend on my medication. As I said looking back at it now it seems like so long ago. However, that period in my life was a scary one. Although I was able to see the signs and got help early I know there are many women out there that will not get any help. Talk to someone if you begin feeling more overwhelmed than normal after having a child, when you find it hard to get out of bed or get on to the daily routines in your life. There is help and know you are not alone.
I thank God for my wonderful supportive husband and my three amazing children, I am happy to say that when I had my daughter Connie 4 in 2009 I never experienced that feeling again. But I think it was recognizing that something was not right within me and getting the help early on is what also helped me. Also never be afraid to let someone know about this issue. Make sure to get help. I have posted some links on how to recognize the signs and also a hotline for Postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression Hotline:
Sylvia Stein is an indie published author with several anthologies with her Writer’s group 750 on linked in. Stein obtained a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing and English from Southern New Hampshire University this past July 2015. She is a mother of three beautiful children Paul 10, Michael 9 and Consuelo 6. She resides in the city of Fuquay Varina with her amazing husband Jeremy. Stein has also published two solo books one was her first novella Closure which she worked on while attending SNHU and published in July of 2014 and the other her first YA Chasing Clarity was published this past October 2015 and it was created during National Novel Month (Nano) in 2013. She is currently working on her prequel to Closure which is due out in April 2016. When she is not writing she enjoys time with her children and husband. Her latest work will be out this summer 2016. A Prequel to Closure entitled, “ The Diary of a Broken Father.”