From a young age, I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks. As a child, I merely dealt with them, not really knowing what they were, and went on with my life. As an adult, despite being able to finally affix a label to what I had been experiencing, I found myself with more questions than answers.
I had wanted a child for so long. My husband and I tried for several years to have a baby, and we had practically given up. So when we found out that I was pregnant we were overjoyed and taken by complete surprise. I prepared thoroughly for every step of my journey ahead. I read up on everything. It was wonderful. But no one prepared me for what it would be like to actually be a mom.
There was a specific, glowing image in my mind of how the hours following my son’s birth would go. He would be placed tenderly on my stomach and the midwife and nurses would leave the room while my husband and I bonded with our new baby. The baby would begin to nurse and we would look on in total awe and wonderment at the beautiful creature we created.
The birth of my first child, Charlotte, was picture-perfect, and I was an anomaly of postpartum recovery. Less than a week after she was born, I was cleaning house, getting up early to see her, and walking every day while pushing her in the stroller. Things couldn’t have gone any better, which is why I was so caught off guard by the challenges I faced the second time around.
It took two severe postpartum depressions to get me to where I am today, which is a very good place. In both cases I thought I would never recover and feared things would end badly. I thought I was lost for good. Each episode lasted over a year and I was hospitalized both times.