Monday, September 1, 2008

Helen's Story Continues

Helen is the contributing editor for Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. She also covers Postpartum Depression. She writes daily at Everyday Stranger where she also chronicles life with her twins, Nick and Nora.

I went through five rounds of IVF, over a duration of five years. We were reaching the end of the IVF ladder when lo and behold, on what was possibly our last cycle the RE transferred two “meh” quality embryos and 8 months later I gave birth to tiny preemie jaundiced babies. And they were fabulous. Even the one with jaundice who screamed 18 hours a day. But despite having my Christmas come early, I started to falter.

I felt overwhelmed with stress. I couldn’t handle any situation outside of the babies. I was angry and difficult. I felt like I was drowning. I shouted at people. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat. The weight I gained while pregnant fell off and took many other pounds with it, as I just couldn’t get the energy to eat. I almost literally couldn’t hold still – when the babies were napping and I should have been napping I would be going crazy cleaning or scrubbing or crying. Most of the time it was all three. I couldn’t concentrate and couldn’t talk and my relationship was falling apart and showering was exhausting and I swore I didn’t have post-partum depression.

But I did.

10 months after the birth of the twins I am still on medication to help get me through this. Postpartum depression (called post-natal depression on my side of the pond) has, like other aspects of mental illness such negative connotations. When people hear about PPD/PND they think that you’re dangerous. If you have it you may be the kind of person to drown your kids. Maybe you’re being selfish and not getting out of bed. Really, we must just be ungrateful, crap mothers.

PPD/PNT comes in many forms. It can be depression so dark you can’t breathe. It may be anxiety so severe you prematurely age yourself by the second. It can be both. Regardless of how it manifests itself you feel very isolated and alone, particularly so if you’ve had fertility treatment – you finally got pregnant! You should be celebrating, not depressed!

Suffering from PPD/PNT is awful. If you have it, you are not alone.

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