My name is Danielle. I'm 38 years old and the proud mother of a beautiful almost 3 year old and 17 month old. I love them more than I can put into words. I never quite understood when people told me about how they would give their lives for their children. I get it now. There's a lot I get now. But it's taken me a long time to get here. Back up about a year ago and I was crying on the couch of some doctor that I had just met 5 minutes ago. For me, I had hit rock bottom. I was being evaluated for medication for postpartum depression. At the time, I thought that was the most disgraceful, shameful and pathetic thing I could be doing. I don't think that now. As I said, there's a lot I get now.
I was diagnosed with post-partum depression over a year ago--after the birth of my son, my second child. Looking back, I had signs of it with my daughter but it wasn't as severe and I could easily ignore it or write it off to sleep deprivation or the like. But with my son, I was miserable. I didn't like him, I didn't like me, I didn't like anything. But my depression didn't rear its ugly head in the normal fashion. When I think of someone being depressed, I think of not being able to get out of bed, lethargic, lack of appetite, a somewhat disconnect with the world. Not me. I had no issue sleeping, getting up, eating, taking care of the kids. My problem was my anger. I got mad. And when I got mad, heaven help what object was around. I broke a window with a sippy cup. I made a hole in a wall with a mop handle. I tore a doll apart. I broke toys by throwing them against the floor. I explained to my therapist it was as if I were the Incredible Hulk. I remember watching that show as a kid. Bill Bixby turned into Lou Ferrigno whenever he got angry. That's what I felt like. There was this rage inside of me that would take over and I would take it out on whatever inanimate object was around me. I would like to say this never happened in front of my children. I would be lying if I said that was true.
I was lucky though. I had family that recognized I was going through something that wasn't normal. They didn't say I had PPD but they knew that I wasn't myself. They urged me to seek help. They wanted me to get better. They knew that this wasn't the normal baby blues that women get after giving birth. It took me a while but at my six week post-delivery appointment, I asked my OB/GYN for the name of a therapist. I started to see one and when she wasn't a good fit, I found another. At the insistence of my family, I asked about whether going on an anti-depressant would be the right thing for me. A year later and I can say it was.
Asking for help was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. And were it not at the gentle pushing of my family to get help, I might still be fighting this fight alone. And no one has to do that. I've learned so much in my journey with PPD. I know that it is nothing to be ashamed of--that so many women are afflicted with this and there are so many more that are afraid to ask for help. I am a better mother, wife and person because I asked for help. I'm not perfect. I can tell you that most days my kids drive me batty at some point. But the difference is that I know how to handle it. And some days I excel and some days I fail. But I think that just makes me a normal Mom. A normal Mom that is in remission from postpartum depression; one that just ran a marathon; is moving in to a new home; and delights at her children's smile every day.