The first two weeks after bringing my son home were rough. I believe I had a form of postpartum symptoms called postpartum blues. I don't think I ever got to the point of depression, but I may have been borderline. I did not think of harming anyone, but I do not think I was necessarily happy those first two weeks. My life had literally just changed forever. I had deep stitches where no woman should ever have to deal with such pain. I was tired, in pain, engorged and exhausted. My son was so small I was terrified of picking him up because I did not want to accidentally hurt him. Those first two weeks were so hard, but they got better.
Eventually, I became more confident in holding him and feeding him and started to enjoy having a newborn; the nights were still so incredibly difficult. The postpartum blues went away and were replaced by postpartum anxiety. I had irrational fears of something terrible happening to my baby. I did not trust anyone to watch him, not even my husband. These fears had no basis but felt so very real to me, and I hated that I could not get rid of them. These thoughts continued past my maternity leave and into my return to work. I would be in tears on my way to work because I hated leaving him for 12+ hours while I was working. I always had to FaceTime whoever was watching him several times during the day to check in because I needed to know he was okay. I would panic if I texted or called whoever was watching him and they didn't answer because my mind would automatically go to the worst-case scenarios. I hated when people told me I was too worried and needed to relax; I felt invalidated. I felt lonely, I felt crazy, and I was angry that no one cared about my feelings. The anxiety became so crippling that I requested a leave of absence from work.
After six months of struggling, I realized I needed professional help. As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer and the power of the scriptures, so it was important for my therapist to be a Christian woman as well. When I saw my PCP, she prescribed me anti-anxiety medication. I felt ashamed that I had gotten to the point of needing medication but after three months of therapy and still dealing with these feelings decided it was worth a try. Contrary to people's beliefs, starting medication and going to therapy is not something to feel ashamed about. Eventually, I began to feel empowered that I was able to recognize my need for these resources and was proud of myself for taking the time to care for myself. Becoming a mother has shown me that taking care of myself is not selfish or a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and helps me to be the best mother and wife that I can be.