My cancer diagnosis began a whirlwind struggle. Word came in March, I had surgery in August, and I got the “all clear” from my doctor in September.
The week my son was born, I knew that something was wrong. My husband had to return to work the next morning and I was up every hour trying to breastfeed. I was so exhausted, and when my son slept or napped I couldn’t rest. My mind raced and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t turn it off. I lay in bed thinking my son would never be satisfied and I would never to be able to sleep again. I was up for almost forty-eight hours before I called my OB to see if he could prescribe any medication to help me sleep.
Giving birth was like being peeled apart from myself. The pregnancy was far from what I had imagined. High blood pressure made the last weeks a constant trip to the doctor’s office, and my body retained so much fluid that I couldn’t fit into my husband’s shoes, let alone my own.
It’s been nine years since I first had postpartum depression. Today life is great and feels real again, but it was a struggle to get there. I had to fight for it. Now I can appreciate the good and the bad, the elation and the devastation, and everything else that comes with the journey. But it wasn’t always that way.
My son was born on a Friday morning. On Saturday morning, my husband went home to feed our dogs and shower, and I decided to take my first postpartum shower. As I got in the shower, I began to sob. It came out of nowhere, like someone had turned on a switch. I have no idea why. I sobbed as hard as I have ever sobbed in my life, and I couldn’t stop. My sob session lasted at least fifteen minutes.
The events leading up to the birth of my second child set the stage for the perfect storm that occurred after he arrived. Around the time I found out I was pregnant, I was offered a rare opportunity to buy the physical therapy practice where I had been working for the past five years. The owner was terminally ill and could no longer maintain an ownership stake. The sale occurred when I was seven-months pregnant.