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  • Writer's pictureDaria Bailey, CFCP

Beyond the baby blues: my post partum journey

Today's blog is a guest post submission.


I'm writing to you live from the trenches of post partum depression, in case my story could provide help or insight for someone else in the thick of it.


I'm not a first time mom. Sometimes I think this makes us moms feel like there aren't many things that can catch us off guard. We know what we're doing. By the time you've been through a few pregnancies you've taken a perinatal depression screening dozens of times. You know the symptoms. You're sick of being asked about them.


Around 10 weeks post partum I started feeling pretty overwhelmed with the demands of life. Each day felt like I was just barely hanging on and it didn't take much to set me off - yelling at my kids, my husband, breaking down crying. I decided that at 10 weeks post partum it was time to start taking better care of myself - getting in regular workouts, getting back into mindset journaling and getting my days and my schedule a little more organized. I was already taking several mood supporting supplements (after good communication with my doctor) - vitamin D, B vitamins, and omega 3s. So I was sure to be consistent about getting those in as well as drinking plenty of water, getting outside in the sunshine when I could, getting out of the house regularly- all those known mood and energy boosters.


With these changes things felt better for a week or so. But after a while, they stopped helping as much. I had my first postpartum panic attack one night after a couple of stressful events piled up. Still, I never thought about postpartum depression. I figured life was just stressful and it would get better. About a week later I had another one. I found myself crying every day, sometimes multiple times a day. My husband and my kids were tiptoeing around me, afraid to "set me off". I felt angry. Really angry. I would have really dark days, rally with my husband the next morning. Try to "get it together". Have a couple great days. Then crash and burn again. I started losing my appetite. No food sounded good or tasted good. I never felt like eating. Very unusual for me - especially while breastfeeding!


It wasn't until all of this had been going on for a month when one night I couldn't fall asleep because I just felt so miserable. The next day (I'm pretty sure this was prompted by the Holy Spirit) a question from all those perinatal depression screenings I've taken over the years popped into my head while driving in the car: "I have been so unhappy that I've had difficulty sleeping." Sounded familiar. As soon as I got home I did a google search for that screening and took one online. If you're not familiar with the screening tool, it's a series of 10 questions. It's scored 0-30 and anything over 10 is considered to be a high likelihood of postpartum depression. I scored an 18.


I messaged a Napro doctor that I worked with during my pregnancy. After speaking with me she prescribed progesterone injections. Many Napro doctors will use progesterone in the postpartum time before you're back in regular menstrual cycles as a treatment for postpartum depression. It has an excellent success rate. I was extremely nervous to have my husband give me an intramuscular injection at home. But I was more afraid to let my mood keep spiraling.


As of right now, I've had 3 doses of progesterone. My doctor prescribed me a double dose to start. And wow. I can honestly say I feel a world of difference. Life does not feel magically easier. As my husband joked - it's not that kind of drug! Ha! But I do feel lighter. I feel FAR more capable of managing the day to day craziness of life with lots of little kids without my emotions getting out of control. 24 hours after my first dose, I laughed effortlessly at a stupid joke. Then I realized - I haven't done that in weeks. I'm not crying every day. My appetite is slowly coming back.


This is a hard story to share. I'm sure everyone would prefer to keep the ugly parts of their lives behind the safety of closed doors. But I think there could be other women that need to hear this:

  • No matter how many risk factors you do or don't have, PPD can happen to any woman.

  • PPD can (and very often does) occur several weeks postpartum and not in the immediate aftermath of delivery.

  • Before your baby is born, have a plan with your spouse to check in on your mood and emotional well being regularly. PPD can look really different in different women and if you're not yourself, it worth taking a screening!

  • You can do all the "right" things to help your mood and still need medical support.

  • There IS a solution available that's not an antidepressant medication. I'm not bashing antidepressants. Not by a long shot. I believe they have their place in medicine and can really help people. But I also think that women feeling like their only choices are to "tough it out" or go on an antidepressant can be a barrier to seeking medical care.


Reasons it didn't occur to me that I was experiencing postpartum depression:

  • I felt great after my baby was born. I had an awesome delivery and for weeks I felt great. I had told so many people: "best postpartum ever".

  • My baby is an incredible sleeper. One of those perfect unicorn babies. I've experienced postpartum depression before but it was with a colicky baby that fussed all day and was up all night for months and months. I thought: how can someone getting an adequate amount of sleep get depressed?

  • I don't have any negative feelings toward my baby. To me (and in my experience) postpartum depression was synonymous with feelings of struggling to attach to or "like" my baby.

  • I had really good moments and lots of pretty good days. Again, I had this idea that "depressed people" are gloomy and down all the time. That wasn't me.

  • I attributed all of my struggles to a difficult season in life. I'm in a busy season. I have lots of young children and have lots of demands on my time and schedule and so I attributed my struggles for a long time to just being in a tough season.


Lastly, a few tips and tricks if you're like me and terrified to inject yourself at home:

  • In my experience, it actually really doesn't hurt. You'll look at that needle and think: "she's straight up lying to me." I spoke with other women that had experience with progesterone injections and they told me it didn't hurt and I definitely did not believe them. But my husband who has zero medical experience and has never given an injection in his life did mine and to my shock - it really didn't hurt.

  • Put ear buds in and turn on a great song and just turn it up and breathe deeply while whoever is giving your injection does their thing. A friend shared this advice with me and it helped a lot.

  • Be sure you're using the correct needles. If you're unsure, check with your physician's office or your FertilityCare Pracititoner.

  • If you think you could never inject yourself and that's a barrier to seeking care, please know that progesterone can also be taken orally or vaginally for PPD. You can talk with your doctor about your specific situation and what will be the best choice for you.


Consider this your encouragement - if you've had a baby in the last year and you're struggling, take this screening. Talk to your FertilityCare Practitioner. Talk to your Napro physician. There is hope that things can get better.

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