This guest post is part of our Moms Mental Health Series, published in partnership with a new resource in the Milwaukee area that we are incredibly excited about — Moms Mental Health Initiative. Founded by two local moms who dealt with their own perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, MMHI seeks to provide easy and professional resources for moms of the Milwaukee area who are suffering from emotional complications during pregnancy or after childbirth. If you or someone you know is struggling, the Moms Mental Health Initiative is a powerful first step toward recovery.
“tips for getting a newborn to sleep in crib”
“what to do if newborn won’t let me put her down”
“baby will only sleep in mamaroo”
“is it safe for baby to sleep in mamaroo swing”
Do these Google searches sound familiar? In those early days of being a worried, hurried, tired, wired new mom, I always joked, “If only you could see my search history…”
Sure, my worries probably weren’t unique, but it didn’t take long for me to realize something didn’t feel right.
It all started in the hospital. I was having difficulty nursing our new daughter, Cora. She would latch and feed a bit, but then become frantic and upset, which made me frantic and upset. Isn’t this supposed to be natural? And what is a nipple shield anyway?
And just as soon as we had gotten there, it was time to leave and go home to our new life. I initially felt relieved to be in our own environment, but it didn’t take long to start feeling like someone else’s house, unfamiliar to me. And I was inexplicably sad.
Yes, all the hormones. Yes, new moms can be weepy. We learned about it in the birthing class we diligently attended for weeks before welcoming our daughter into the world. But as the days went on, it started feeling less like sadness… and more like despair.
I didn’t want to see anyone, I didn’t want to eat and, unlike many other new parents I know,I didn’t even want to sleep (if that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is). The overwhelming sadness I was feeling quickly evolved into paralyzing anxiety –
“if I’m not going to nurse, what should I do?”
“how do you do formula again?”
“when does the milk come in?”
“how am I supposed to store all of this milk?”
When I say “paralyzing,” I mean it. My mom, who all but moved in with us the first few weeks, was completely stumped as to why I was having this much trouble navigating seemingly trivial things. It was unlike me to be so beside myself, so helpless. It started getting scary when I would have days where I would feel completely numb. I knew something was terribly wrong and I was desperate to fix it.
I called the OB nurse who had helped us in the days after the birth and cried. I don’t know what I was expecting her to do – I think I was secretly hoping she’d be able to give me the number of somewhere I could go that could make me feel better. After all, this wasn’t a headache – I couldn’t just pop an ibuprofen and make it go away.
“What else can I do here?” I was kicking myself for not paying better attention to the postpartum depression (PPD) discussion from our birthing class. Ingesting your placenta was one of the only things I remembered from that chapter….
“can ingesting your placenta really help with postpartum depression?”
“how quickly can placenta help with PPD?”
“how can I ingest placenta without tasting it?”
So I called our birthing class instructor. At 7pm. On a Saturday. While she was out to dinner with her family. To procure an emergency donor placenta.
Yes, I was “that mom.” But she was very sensitive and understanding and she did all of the legwork to find one for me. During that time, I also called my midwife’s office to see what other options I had and they prescribed me an antidepressant posthaste.
“can antidepressants make PPD worse?”
“can I take an antidepressant while breastfeeding?”
“how to stop breasts from producing milk”
I was leery of the antidepressant because I had never taken one before, but I was willing to try anything (hence, the placenta). Luckily, it worked quicker than I thought possible. Finally, relief.
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t have some guilt about how checked out I was in those first few weeks as a new mom. I’d be lying if I told you that it didn’t cross my mind that my daughter was colicky in her first 8 weeks because of the imbalance in my mood during that time.
But I would also be lying if I told you that I regret it, because I don’t.
It was one of the most difficult times in my life, but it made me that much more appreciative when I started feeling better. I didn’t get help right away because I was so fixated everything BUT my own wellbeing and this experience taught me that we are all our babies have and their wellbeing is directly tied to ours.
About the Author :: Erin Ramczyk is originally from Lake Geneva and currently lives in Burlington with her husband, Mike, 21-month-old daughter, Coraline, and fur babies, Olive and Ellie. She works full-time in digital marketing and is a writer at heart. She is endlessly entertained by her toddler daughter’s antics and loves that they can share a love of having dance parties to 90s hits. Her interests also include movies, cooking, traveling and spending quality time with family and friends. During her free time, you’ll find her swinging with Cora at the park, cleaning and organizing and sneaking off for the occasional pedicure. You can find her blogging over at Diaries of Rin.