My Story of Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression
My postpartum depression (PPD) didn’t start right away. It crept up on me about a month after my son was born. I kept telling myself I was feeling the normal “new mother” amount of anxious and terrified. I told myself, “Get it together, woman! You’ll be fine.”
I wasn’t fine. I was getting worse week by week until I realized my anxiety and stress were spiraling out of control. I constantly worried about everything that could go wrong, especially when it came to breastfeeding. I was overly worried he wasn’t eating enough or latching properly. I worried myself into full panic attacks. I put on a brave face for my family and friends, but on the inside I was an utter mess. I wanted nothing more than to say, “Oh, hey, panic attack, now really isn’t a good time for me. Can you come back later?”
Thankfully, I have an amazingly supportive husband and understanding women in my life who have been in my shoes. My sister encouraged me to seek help because she’s had her own battle with PPD. My dear friend was in the same boat as me, our sons being only four days apart, but she decided to seek help sooner. She made me feel normal and like it was okay to ask for help. My mother encouraged me to continue breastfeeding and not to give up.
They all just wanted me to feel better. Thank God for these women. Thank God for my husband who literally and figuratively held me up some days. Without these people I know I wouldn’t have gotten help. I think about the new mothers who don’t have supportive family, and it makes me cringe thinking of the inner battle they are suffering through alone.
I hope a new mother or expectant mother reads this and remembers that it’s okay to seek help. It’s normal to have these strange and unfamiliar feelings racing through your body and mind. You’ve created and delivered life, and you’re stronger than you’ll ever know. It can take an amazing amount of will and perseverance to breastfeed, and to add postpartum depression makes it seem insurmountable when you’re in the thick of it. It helped me to look ahead and to remember all of the benefits and positive reasons to continue breastfeeding through the storm.
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