Hi, My name is Brittany and I’m a first time mom to a beautiful baby girl! I live with my (common law) husband of 5 years, our 4 year old rescue dog, Luna, and of course our daughter, Claire. I have a full time job with the City of Saskatoon that I will be returning to in September. In my (very little) free time I enjoy video games, board games, and Netflix. I live for coffee and craft beer. I enjoy cooking and baking but don’t have nearly as much time for meal prep as I’d like. Being a parent is both the most exhausting thing I’ve ever done in my entire life and also the most fulfilling. I can’t wait to share my experiences – good or bad.
For as long as I can remember I’ve been anxious. My feelings go way back to my teen years so I prepared as much as possible for my daughter coming into the world. My husband and I talked over every minor insignificant detail, I spent all my therapy sessions during pregnancy discussing coping strategies and how to be a good mother. After she was born I continued practicing mindfulness and things were good. I finally got myself to a point where I genuinely believe that I am an excellent wife, friend, and mother.
When my daughter had her last huge developmental leap, and I started to struggle with my anxiety again, I felt like a failure. I’ve been doing the steps! I’ve spent hours and hours talking through my insecurities and doubts, and now suddenly I can’t hold myself together? Why am I having anxiety attacks in the middle of the day? Why am I yelling at my dog or screaming into a pillow? Why can’t I keep it all together and be a better mom? I know objectively that my fears and insecurities are baseless but somehow I’d convince myself of the very worst. If my daughter was crying and I couldn’t calm her down it was because I was a terrible mother and she deserved better. I’d hold her as I cried, repeating over and over, “I’m sorry I’m not a better mom. Please forgive me.” It took a major toll on me.
I think the main problem is that many of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression are also signs and symptoms of just being a new parent. Irritableness, short temper, anger, sadness, and crying can all be signs of sleep deprivation. I was, at first, very hesitant to look into any sort of medication. I believed like many do that I should be able to just do it. I should be able to push through and be a parent. It wasn’t until I had a breakdown that I finally convinced myself there was nothing wrong with seeking an additional form of help. There is no shame in me having a prescription for my eyesight because my eyes don’t work, so why should there be shame in having a prescription for my mental health because my brain doesn’t work?
It’s been a few months now since my therapist, doctor, and I collectively made the decision to start me on anti-depressants. Already it is like the fog has lifted. I am more calm and patient, I don’t feel pressure in my chest when days are hard, and I’m a more attentive mother. My husband has noticed a considerable difference in my moods and how I interact with the people around me. This was a hard choice for me to make but I am already so glad that I made it. I have hope again.
However, it is very important to stress that my experience is my own. Do not take my story as medical advice. If you are experiencing depression or anxiety symptoms please seek professional help.