In 2007 I was a full time employee of a non-profit organization that provided me with frequent
contact with my local maternal child programs. I also became pregnant with my first child. I
continued to work through my pregnancy and since I was working in public health I had access
to a ton of resources. I learned so much about so many things including signs of postpartum
depression. What I didn’t learn about was how to live with it.
Jump forward to 2008, my son was born, I had 8 weeks of maternity leave and lots of family all
lining up to help with my new little man. Then it hit. One night, when my son was between two
and three weeks old he was incredibly fussy. Nursing was a tremendous challenge, I was
exhausted and home alone with him for the first time.
The only thing that seemed to calm him was to put him in the stroller and pace the house
pushing him in it. He finally fell asleep and I left him to use the bathroom. As I closed the door
and looked over towards the tub I had my first horrific vision. I imagined placing my baby in the
tub, turning the faucet on and walking away. I was horrified. The fact that such an image could
even enter my mind made me feel sick.
I called my husband in a panic. I told him I was scared, that our baby would be taken away from
me. He asked if there was a reason why I would think that. I didn’t give him the full image but I
let him know something was not right. He opted to take time away from work to help me, I was
afraid to be alone with my baby. I was afraid to even hold him for fear the terrifying images
would become more than just visions. I resorted to avoidance. I only touched my son to care for
his basic needs such as feeding, diapers, baths. I could not just sit and hold my baby for fear of
what was in my head. I felt like the most awful undeserving mother ever.
My husband could not take much time away from work so when my son was four weeks old I
made an early postpartum follow up with my doctor. I didn’t give all the details but I shared I
had noticed several signs of severe depression and felt I needed help. He gave me a
prescription and that was it. At the pharmacy I noticed the medicine I picked up had big
warning stickers “Do not take this while pregnant or breast feeding”. Again the feeling of failure.
The one time I really felt like a great mom was when nursing was going well (and often it was
rough) and I gained a sense of peace. Nursing soothed me and the monstrous things in my
head. Now I had to choose to stop nursing or continue living the nightmare. I choose to keep try
to nurse and fight the madness. By the time my son was 4 months old, I was still not very
attached to him at all. I liked him some days but not the over the top love a mother expects to
feel. I had begun binge eating and excessively sleeping or over volunteering to keep my mind
busy. A friend finally sat me down for a painful chat, she had seen the warning signs and was
not going to let me go down the dark path she had also once walked alone.
I was too afraid of my coworkers, friends or family learning of my struggle so I opted to take the
medication and quit nursing, blaming our latch issues and my work schedule. Finally by the
time my son was six months old I could say I really began to bond with him. It was a slow and
uphill battle but I refused to give up. Finally when my son was 18 months old, I came off all
medications. I don’t know how things would have been if I had gotten help sooner but I have a
pretty scary idea of what would have happened had I not.
I have had the baby blues with my other children since. I even struggled with some PTSD after
my fourth. But I worked too hard to come out of that darkness to go back. I want other moms
to know that they are not alone. You are not a bad mom or terrible person. You can get through
this and I promise to do my best to offer a safe place for you to share without judgement.
I was one of the seventh moms, and I will stand with you, together we will support all the
seventh moms out there.
Each walk is different, but we walk together, and that makes all the