Sharing Your Voice: Welcome Visiting PPD Survivor Funky Bird Mama

I was recently talking to another Postpartum Depression survivor about doing a guest post here, she apologized for taking a while to respond to me about sharing her story. I told her no worries, that from my experience with both Congenital Heart Defect and Postpartum Depression Moms, that we are all a bunch of mess, and that eventually we pull though. I was hoping to start my Mondays with my new Sharing Your Voice feature, written by other PPD survivors willing to share their stories…but here I am squeezing it in at the end of my day, lol. Here I am though, at the end of my day, pulling through and finally getting it published.

My first post was written by a fabulous Mama who has been a wonderful blogging buddy for almost a year. I love the way she writes and her somewhat snarkey disposition, and that is probably why I find her so refreshing. Her name is Funky Bird Mama, and she is sooo funky! And simple enough, you can find her blog over at Funky Bird Mama.

When I look back at the end of my pregnancy and the first few months of my son’s life, I realize now that it was really the perfect storm. At 33 weeks pregnant, I was told that both my baby and I could die. I heard the words, but emotionally I just shut down. In fact, the first words out of my mouth upon hearing how bad my condition was were, “When can I go home?” I spent the rest of my pregnancy disassociating from the baby inside me. Looking back, I think I didn’t want to bond with him any more in case he didn’t make it.
Despite the odds, Gunne Bear was born right on time and with few medical complications. Watching my blue baby be put on my chest, I didn’t feel anything at all. I was curious about him, but that was it. I moved entirely on instinct and faked it for everyone around me. Inside, I was dead.
A few hours after he was born, I was told to try feeding him. He was tiny and blue and on oxygen, and some people felt that nutrition would help him maintain his body temperature. I obliged and put him on my breast. Minutes later I had a full blown panic attack. I’m talking screaming, yelling, throwing things and insisting to anyone that would listen that they needed to get the baby away from me. The episode was chalked up to my seeming inability to breast feed him. I was told to give him a bottle and everything would be fine.
I went home with my baby, a case of formula and a growing horror of what was happening to me. Instead of being numb, I was incredibly anxious. What was worse, I felt nothing for the baby. I went on instinct alone, and for some reason, despite the fact that I didn’t feel bonded to him in the slightest I felt the need to hover over him at every second. I was convinced that if I relaxed my guard that he would die. It was a confusing and exhausting time for me as I struggled to remain normal on the outside while wondering why I couldn’t relax and enjoy my baby like everyone was telling me to.

The problems kept getting worse. Those panic attacks started happening more often, and I just wanted to get away from my baby who I was convinced was going to suffer some horrible fate at my hands. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I was absolutely convinced that I would.

The worst moment came in the middle of the night after yet another feeding. I woke my husband up and told him that I wanted to die. He asked me how and I explained that I had a lot of pain killers that had been prescribed while I was pregnant. He got up and took them out of the house. The next day, he called the doctor for me.Until that night, everyone kept telling me that what I was feeling was normal. That it would go away. That I had to relax. I had never heard of post partum anxiety before, and my doctor’s checklist only screened for depression.

It took weeks on Zoloft before I began to feel like myself again. During this time, I finally began to bond to my baby. Today, he and I are so bonded we’re practically symbiotic, but a year ago? I wasn’t sure I could ever love him. I was too afraid to. Too afraid I would damage him somehow. I regret those missing weeks at the start of his life, when I couldn’t admit to anyone what was going on and no one seemed to think that a new mother terrified that her baby would die at her hands was something abnormal.

I’ve since written essays on post partum anxiety to help educate other mothers who may not be aware of this sometimes overlooked syndrome. I hope that by telling my story someone else might recognize themselves, and realize that it isn’t normal and that help is available.


If you are a Postpartum Depression Survivor, and wish to share your story, you can find all the details at The Nut House Community

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3 Responses to Sharing Your Voice: Welcome Visiting PPD Survivor Funky Bird Mama

  1. Hazel Nut on September 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you so much Funky Bird Mama for sharing your story!

  2. falen aka thundercat on September 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I don’t know what it’s like to suffer from PPD but I give props to anyone who has made it through the struggle! That stuff is not joke!

  3. liz on September 6, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    This is a terrific, honest post, Betsy. Having gone through PPD myself, I know exactly what it feels like and you did a tremendous job putting it into words.

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