A few months ago, I wrote about my postpartum depression struggles and how they impacted my life. Now that birth is creeping every closer to being reality, the idea of postpartum depression is weighing heavily on my mind. Will I be able to identify it this time? Will I have the strength to reach out for help? Will I even suffer from PPD this time around?
I’ve finally sat down and listed out the things that will help me prevent and/or deal with PPD. On a personal level, I’ve found that if I put things “out there” where I know others will read, I’m more likely to stick to the plan instead of deviating from the set path.
I am already on a therapeutic dosage of Zoloft and actually have been since half way through the 1st trimester. Very low dosage in the grand scheme of things, but it’s enough to keep me mentally stable while still experiencing the normal emotional ups and downs of pregnancy. There’s something about the way my body’s chemistry changed this pregnancy that caused me to have almost debilitating anxiety issues that mimicked PPD so closely, I knew I needed help if I wanted to even have a fighting chance during the postpartum period.
A friend of mine has offered to keep tabs on me and drop by my house on occasion without calling before hand (not during nap time, though!) to make sure I’m *really* doing okay. It’s one thing to put on a happy face when on the phone or emailing or even getting together on a regular basis with friends. It’s something quite different to force a facade when someone caring just shows up on your doorstep.
I have the phone numbers of a few friends who are regular night owls or insomniacs and are regularly up around 2am. I found that 2am was the hardest time for me and they have graciously offered to hold my hand over the phone if I have a melt down.
On Tuesdays, I will be making a point of leaving the house. Every Tuesday, no exceptions unless the snow is so bad that Aaron feels it’s unsafe since I don’t trust my judgment based on my past experiences. In our town, there are a lot of kid friendly things to do on Tuesdays. There is a nursing mother’s group that meets just across the street from us, our church has brunch and fellowship for moms with childcare provided, and the local Borders bookstore has story time.
The same friend who has offered to stop by the house has also offered for me to come to her house in the morning on Thursdays so her daughter and Ella can play and I can have some adult conversation with someone else holding Miles.
Aaron is very supportive of me taking a few hours once a week to get out of the house with just Miles as a break from reality, so to speak. I think Panera’s will be our haunt of choice. Last Saturday was my last day of work and I didn’t realize how much I looked forward to getting out of the house and having no child responsibilities until it was no long an option! One of the key items missing from my last postpartum period was taking time to be just me and meet my own emotional needs. I’m hoping that by having a predeclared day and time to do my own thing will help meet my own personal needs.
And of course, this time I have so many more supportive friends that don’t just live in my computer. They are available for face to face gatherings and have experienced similar struggles. Having online resources and connections is important for me and is one of the few things that pulled me through last time. However, real life interaction is even more important and I am so thankful I have that available this time.
Having written that all out helps me feel like life will be manageable this time. I won’t drown. I won’t loose a chunk of my children’s life again. I will enjoy the early days of my son’s life and cherish watching my daughter become the big sister I know she will be.