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PORTIA, A New Mother’s Story

From day one I had problems sleeping. No matter how tired I was I couldn’t nap when the baby did. At about ten weeks postpartum, I honestly did not sleep for two weeks. I got to the point where I was scared to bother going to bed at night because I knew I would not sleep and would be absolutely frantic by morning. The baby’s sleeping was not an issue at all. She was doing thirteen to fourteen hours a night!

Everyone around me was scared to say or do the wrong thing, whatever that may be, and they walked on eggshells. I now know the power of hormones and how, when they are grossly imbalanced, they can do amazing things to your brain affecting how it functions.

A lot of times I felt like I was asleep and my head was on automatic pilot-but the pilot was some sick, demented, cruel thing running the show (my brain). At my lowest-when I hadn’t slept for two weeks-I begged my husband to take me to the hospital so they could put me to sleep with drugs. I thought I’d be put in a psychiatric hospital and that my baby wouldn’t know me. My mind just would not shut down-not relax for one second. My brain was in overdrive and it was so scary, not having control over it no matter how hard I tried. I was not the same person anymore. I just wanted so badly to be myself again. But no matter how bad I got, I knew I would not hurt my baby.

I went to a psychologist and antidepressants were prescribed. After about two weeks, the drugs helped and in eight weeks I started feeling much better. I was finally becoming rational enough that I could start to write thoughts in a journal. The good days began to outnumber the bad. I relied on my husband, my mother, and mother-in-law, and definitely the medication. It took six more months until I recovered.

Now That I’ve Recovered
I had never been so scared in my life. But with PPD, I thought I might never have myself back. Now I am stronger for having gone through this and surviving it. I don’t take anything for granted now: family, friends, clean air, nature, love, food, our home, even our mental health.