Postpartum Depression: Signs & Symptoms

If you haven't already, read the intro post on my story with Postpartum Depression (PPD).

Note: These are my signs and symptoms. If you or your loved one for any reason has signs or symptoms that make you wonder if you or your loved one has PPD, contact your doctor immediately. PPD manifests itself differently in everyone. Don't wait... like I did.

When Moriah, my baby at the time, was 7 weeks old I turned to Chris and said, "I'm ready! Let's go ahead and try for baby #3!" Moriah was an easy baby (Karis, my oldest, was not so easy). A combo of a really chill and ridiculously happy baby with not having first time mom insecurity made for a blissful postpartum (yeah, I'd actually describe it as blissful. I know moms, so annoying.).

This is why when I started feeling "not like myself" around month 3, I never for a second considered Postpartum Depression.

Myth: Postpartum Depression hits just as the baby blues fade (a week or two after delivery). Fact: (According to my doctor) Postpartum Depression can manifest as far as 6 months after delivery, even in those that did not have the baby blues (which I did not).

So it started with "not feeling like myself." But I justified it with we had just moved and because Moriah had reflux we weren't allowed to start sleep training her. Which meant this mama wasn't sleeping much between unpacking and nursing a baby (which I'm not a mom who loves to nurse).

Then "not feeling like myself" turned into near total avoidance of everyone. And for me that's  BIG deal. I'm about as extroverted as they come. I LOVE people. So I made excuses (you can read excuses, but it bordered on lying, if not straight up lying) to friends and family to get out of any and every invitation and commitment. I pulled back as much as I could. But I could still pull it together when I was around others. At this point, I don't even know if Chris, my husband, really noticed. Chris is a strong introvert and was thinking I had finally started listening to his pleas to do less and be home more. But I justified it with the fact that we started potty training. And since the 3 day method took 263 days, I easily blamed it on that.

Well total avoidance of others but still able to fake it in person, turned to struggling to even fake it. When asked how I was I just answered "fine" flatly. Which for me is a big deal because I typically honestly answer the ordinary questions "How are you?" with a real answer. But I justified it with the fact that we had moved to the suburbs and switched churches and my social network was changing. As I said before I had pulled away from everyone, which came across as me not making an effort but really was me struggling and unable to ask for help. I was alone and lonely. But I justified the funk because I had no social interaction. But felt certain that would come as I met more people in our area and at our new church.

And then it got to where I couldn't finish projects and I'm a big time doer/achiever. Even laundry would take me days. I never responded to emails. Any volunteer jobs I had were getting about 10% effort from me. I found myself stuck on the couch and glued to Netflix (and I'm not a TV watcher). But I justified it with I'm just overwhelmed with trying to do things with 2 kids (one who has reflux and the other who was on day 200 of the 3 day potty training method).

Then all of that continued but add to it that I couldn't stop crying. I'm usually a happy person, genuinely see the glass half to all the way full. And I couldn't stop crying. And I'm not a crier. Before I had kids I could count on one hand the number of times I cried a year. I took everything personally and I'm not usually an insecure person (as I shared here).

And now I couldn't justify it. But I didn't know what it was. Around the same time one of my closest friends who had a baby a few months after me was diagnosed with PPD. For the first time, I had the thought: Could that be it? So like any former Seventeen Magazine subscriber, I took an online quiz. Results from all 10 quizzes: "You definitely have PPD. Contact a medical professional immediately." I was stunned. I couldn't believe it. I even tried to curb my answers so I didn't have it.

So I did the responsible thing and called my doctor. Only not really.

I told no one. More determined to handle this myself. If I was praying for relief and freedom before, I prayed stronger and more specifically. But the problem with depression is how defeating it is. I didn't believe God could or would heal me. I didn't even really believe there was something to heal, I still really believed I was in a funk I would snap out of. And since I had done a masterful job of pushing everyone out of my life, no one really noticed.

Until Chris finally said something.

(Side-note: In defense of my husband and closest friends, who wouldn't let me push them away during this time, they honestly wouldn't have known until towards the end. I am really good at pulling it together around others. Trust me, they were paying attention and I had everyone fooled, including myself.)

One night I was having, yet another, meltdown. And I said to him, "But it's OK, I'll be OK. I'm just in a funk. This will pass." And he said to me as loving as possible,

"Becky, this isn't a funk. This has been going on for a long time. I don't think it's going to pass. I think something else is going on."

When he said that I started sobbing. I told him about the quizzes and read some PPD sites with descriptions. And we decided that I had to do something. Soon. My baby was now 8 months old and we didn't want to waste another day.