*I am not a professional and everything stated is my own opinion and not to be taken as medical advice*
I’ve had three healthy pregnancies and deliveries.
There were never any complications with any of them (aside from the twins coming early, but that was expected).
Regardless of health after every pregnancy, I suffered from postpartum depression.
It didn’t matter if I was happy during the pregnancy, stressed, etc. – the outcome was always the same.
Now, I’m not a doctor or someone with some fancy degree, but I truly believe that my postpartum depression had everything to do with my delivery.
I’ll tell you why:
Tranquil Versus Traumatic Births
My First Birth Was Traumatic
When my first son was born, I was 17 and terrified.
He was born in a hospital and, in all honesty, I would say that I was taken advantage of.
I wanted an unmedicated birth and I knew that my body knew what it was doing even at the age of 17, but I had no tools. I hadn’t done any research and I wasn’t aware that epidurals were heavily pushed in hospitals.
By the time my son was born I was not even aware of what was going on. The nurses had talked me into taking some pain reliever on top of the epidural because they were mistaking my panic as an intolerance to pain.
The worst part is that I hardly remember the labor and delivery because of it.
When my son was born, I cried like most moms do – but I kept crying.
At first it was the normal baby blues. My body was adjusting to the hormones and I was struggling to breastfeed but with every failure I fell deeper and deeper into this sadness.
I felt alone and I felt like no one was there to help me.
It started with my failure to have a natural birth then the failure to breastfeed. I just felt like a failure all around.
I suffered from postpartum depression for two years before I finally got the help I needed.
My Second Birth Was Tranquil
My second pregnancy was healthy like the first, but the labor and delivery was so much different.
It was a tranquil experience. I had him within 45 minutes of arriving at the birthing center.
I gave birth in a birthing pool. My then 3-year-old son and husband were with me and it was just amazing.
I had awful back labor but I had no pain medication like I planned and I could do immediate skin to skin, delayed cord clamping, etc. It was the best experience I could ask for.
I had no feelings of failure after having my second son. I did deal with some baby blues which is to be expected due to hormone fluctuations after having a baby, but within a week or two I was myself again.
I was crazy tired and a little overwhelmed from juggling two kids, but I was happy.
Now, the traumatic vs tranquil regarding postpartum depression never really occurred to me until I had my twins. I thought maybe it was just hit or miss, but now I just don’t think so.
The Birth of My Twins Was Traumatic
I had been slowly leaking amniotic fluid for almost a week before I went into labor at 34 weeks. My OB didn’t believe that I was leaking fluid because it wasn’t constant and the care I needed was neglected.
I should have known better and I should have gone to the labor and delivery department at the hospital, but I didn’t. I didn’t even believe I was truly in labor.
I walked into the hospital at 9 centimeters dilated. Everyone was shocked. I had been leaking amniotic fluid as well like I had suspected and according to the hospital staff for more than a few days.
I delivered my twins in the next 45 minutes. I was in an OR room, bright lights everywhere. I was terrified.
The worst part was that my husband wasn’t even there. It was my fault again, how could I not know I was in labor? Because of this I didn’t give him enough time to even make it to the hospital.
I had both twins before he arrived at the hospital, but thankfully he was there in time to head back with the twins to the NICU.
I still feel guilty 5 months later. What if I hadn’t been so, I don’t know, negligent? Maybe they wouldn’t have been born so early.
They spent two weeks in the NICU and have struggled so much with their immune system. They’ve had RSV and countless upper respiratory infections.
Plus, I feel like we live at the doctors.
My postpartum depression has been eating me alive these past 5 months and I truly feel like it has to do with the traumatic experience I had during their birth.
I really wish I could just flip a switch and be happy. Or maybe if I had been more prepared before my twins were born, I wouldn’t be struggling as much. But it’s hard.
Postpartum Depression is Hard, But Normal
I have dealt with postpartum depression twice. I can’t take medication for unrelated reasons and so I have to slowly heal myself.
It’s important for me to take time for myself and that’s hard to do with kids. It’s hard to do with constant guilt that I could have done something differently about the birth of my children. But I can’t.
As much as I wish it wasn’t, postpartum depression is something that occurs more often than not after having a baby. I truly feel it has to do with the unrealistic expectations we set for our labor and delivery due to societal pressures.
Make sure you do this, this, and this, but DON’T do this. It feels like no matter what, something is going to fail.
That feeling of failure when your hormones are all jumbled after a birth is so intense and long lasting. It’s my opinion that this is what manifests a lot of the postpartum depression that us women experience.
Probably not all of us, but definitely some of us. And it’s so important to know that we’re not alone in this.