Guest post by Charity Cole
Three and a half years ago, I brought home my third daughter. Patrice was beautiful and perfect. And oh so sweet. Three kids in four years, had me pretty confident in my mothering skills.
I threw myself into life with my three girls. The baby blues hit, but they had the other two times as well, so I just kept moving. I was in touch with my wonderful midwife, but I wasn’t slowing down for the tears and fears.
Three was my magic number. I had three beautiful girls, and at three weeks, the baby blues and all the sadness lifted.
I was living the dream. For a week.
Then I stopped sleeping. The baby slept, as well as babies do, but mommy didn’t. I would lay there watching her sleep and the anxiety would build.
“I have to sleep. The baby is going to wake up to eat again. The big girls are going to wake up and they are going to need me. I need to sleep so I can function. I need to sleep. What ridiculousness is this? The baby is sleeping and I am not.”
The tension built. It spilled into the daytime. But I kept going, and going, and going. I couldn’t stop, but it worked out for the girls. We went to the park, we went to the library, we went to indoor play places. I made up for those months during pregnancy when I was just a beached whale.
The tears came, but I didn’t want to scare or upset my girls, so I just cried in the bathroom or the basement. After a while, the tears would come unbidden, all I had to do was walk into those rooms.
My midwife and I knew things weren’t right, so we tried an antidepressant. It helped a little, so we upped the dose. That didn’t help. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop moving. I cleaned my entire house, including all the cloth diapers, in 6 hours.
That was the breaking point.
Early the next morning, I packed the three girls up and went to my midwife. I didn’t have an appointment, but she saw me. She saw me sob hysterically as I begged her to take my girls home and love them so I could disappear.
She didn’t take my girls, but she did get the older ones out of the room so they didn’t get scared and she called my husband to come from work to her office.
What came next were rough days of being hospitalized, finding a doctor who specialized in postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety. One of the biggest resources I found, during this time, was the non—profit online foundation Postpartum Progress, www.postpartumprogress.org. Katherine provided information, support and encouragement. From there I found another resource on twitter, #ppdchat, an online community of mothers who were in various stages of fighting postpartum mood disorders (PPMD), which include, but are not limited to postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder and postpartum psychosis. Both do so much for so many.
This year, I am helping with one of the Postpartum Progress outreaches. Climb Out of the Darkness is an International event held on June 21 at locations throughout the United States, Canada and around the world. The event is held to provide information and support to families and to raise funding so the work of Postpartum Progress can continue.
I will be leading a walk June 21 at Independence Oaks in Clarkston from 1-3 pm.
I am looking for people to join me in the climb, approximately 2-3 miles, help me get the word out and help me raise funds for Postpartum Progress. https://www.crowdrise.com/charitycole-cotd2014/fundraiser/charitycole
Please contact me at the above site, via my blog, http://gigglesandgrimaces.com or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional walks in Michigan can be found at http://postpartumprogress.org/climb-out-of-the-darkness/find-a-climb/