October 3, 2016 Opinion

Written by:

Victoria Conrad is a stay at home mom to her 30-month-old “spirited” daughter, Colt McKinley. She can often be found pulling her hair out or someone else's. Her small stature is compensated by her sarcastic mouth. On a serious note, she would like to advocate positivity and acceptance towards PPD. Follow Victoria on Twitter

Have you ever thought of taking your own life?

Post Partum Depression Mom

It happened to me. It could happen to you.

Hush hush, we are in the South and aren’t supposed to talk about this sort of thing at all. Postpartum depression (PPD) grabs the life you once had and rips it apart, even though you’re supposed to care for this new baby you longed for and brought into the world. People don’t understand it, but it should be talked about because it’s happening to women everywhere.

Every day, I battle living with the effects of PPD such as lethargy, negative self-image, pushing away people you once loved, and the feeling like you can’t do anything right. Waking up itself is a chore when you battle depression, trying to fight an aching body and a brain craving extra sleep.

I was so sleepy and lethargic all the time and felt really down. I thought it was just because I was waking every hour or so to feed or rock my baby. But as every month passed I felt worse and worse.

Post Partum Depression PPD Mom
I was not a depressive person before pregnancy, but the hormones after pregnancy threw me out of whack. I first knew I had PPD when I got home from the hospital and didn’t feel bonded with my baby, which made me feel guilty sending me in a downward spiral. Some people refer to this as baby blues, but baby blues only lasts in the first three months postpartum.

After that, it’s called PPD for up to one year postpartum, then after the first year, you’re classified as clinically depressed. I’ve been battling PPD and clinical depression for almost two years now, trying every psychiatric medicine traditional (and nontraditional) under the sun, therapy, exercise, you name it, I’ve tried it. One depression medicine will work for a while, then it’ll just stop working, causing me to relapse.

It would be the most beautiful day outside, and all I wanted to do was sleep.

I could sleep and sleep for hours and still wake up not feeling rested, my face and lips so pale, my desire to do anything removed, even the need to take care of my new precious baby! The same baby that I wanted so much I underwent surgery and fertility procedures and treatment to get pregnant. Some days are better than others, but that dark cloud is always there, no matter how many times you wish it would go away.

Pretty Southern Mama PPD
The way that other people view us PPD women just sucks. So many people told me to snap out of depression. If I could just snap out of it, trust me, I would. Those are the people who don’t understand why, how, or what I could possibly be depressed about.

They just don’t get that it is truly a chemical imbalance that encompasses you.

Who loves female hormones? Not this girl. The other night I put on a full waterworks show! Could. Not. Stop. Crying. I started laughing, then boom, crying again. WTF! My poor husband Chris, held me, probably thinking, “How long is this one gonna last? Crazy coot!” But, he said nothing as he held me, and I did feel better after. I’m guessing I had a lot of pent up stress inside me that needed to come out. And out it did!

Pretty Southern Family
Yes, depression still kicks my ass every single day. It’s a battle, then I get back up and do it all again the next day. Why? I look at my perfect creation, my daughter, and I know it’s worth it. I know I’d go to the ends of the Earth for her. But, it doesn’t mean my PPD has lifted. It’s still there, it will always be there haunting and torturing me like a lost soul.

Please recognize the signs of PPD in yourself, and look to help other women.

I fight for my life every single day. I hope to help get the word out that it’s ok to have (and admit to having) postpartum depression. We are in this together, we women are strong, and we can fight this.

Editor’s Note: Part II in Victoria’s story will be posted soon

12 Responses to “Pretty Southern Mama Battles Postpartum Depression”

  1. Nikki

    Victoria,

    I am so proud of you for being brave enough to share your story publicly. Depression is a very difficult thing. I was depressed too. At about age 24, it just hit me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere. I got on medication, and went on and off for a few years. I found one that worked for me, Zoloft. I then went off of it to have my son, and then went back on it shortly after his birth. I thought that I would try to not take it again after he was born, but I had to. Now I had to wean off again, because I am pregnant with my second child. For some reason, I react very well to pregnancy hormones and almost feel like they replace my medication while pregnant. Once I have this child, I will definitely get back on my medicine. Also, what helped me has been lots of prayer and seeking God about it. Joyce Meyer wrote a book called, Battlefield of the Mind, that helped me tremendously. I hope you feel like your old self again soon.

    Reply
  2. Alexa Axon

    Love you so much !!! You’re amazing V inside and out. Keep your pretty little head up … positive vibes love you lots xoxo

    Reply
  3. Denise Gratzel

    My sweet sweet cousin , I am humbled by your truthfulness . And so proud of how very brave you are .
    I love you and wish healing and peace for you . Thank you for making your life a example for others to be helped by your pain . Please know that I am carrying you in my prayers and if you need me I am a call away

    Reply
  4. Heather

    You are right, in the south you are expected to suck it up and put on a big smile. I think you are so brave and your story may help someone else see the signs.

    Reply
  5. Jennifer Sanders

    Girl you are so amazing to be open. You have brought tears to my eyes. I know how you feel because of what I’ve gone through and so worried that I will have PPD. But you and I are beautiful strong women and we will make it. We both have great support systems and of course loving amazing mothers that help us so much! I’ll keep you and your beautiful family in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  6. Raleigh Elliott

    Victoria,
    So proud of you and your courage to discuss the situation. You were the best neighbor we’ve ever had. So caring, generous and open minded. Those traits are you and will be with you always. Stay true for yourself and of course Colt and Chris. You are their life and love.

    Reply
  7. Shawn Baggett

    So proud of you for speaking about this. In the South it’s definitely a frowned upon thing if you can’t keep up so to speak or can’t do everything that all the fabulous women from the old days did with 7 or 8 kids stay at home, wash cook clean take care of the hisband, etc. Well I can tell you this gal can’t keep up with that. And honestly it’s because we face so much more pressure and expectations than they did including working a full time job plus taking care of the family. I have not had PPD however I have had anxiety and still do and let me tell you it’s no joke. So I can imagine PPD is much worse. I like the comment above about continuously seeking God. It definitely does help. It’s amazing the relief you can get. It may not take it completely away bit ask His guidance for the right mess and pray constantly and just have faith He will continue to get you through. Love you girl. And you can call me anytime you need to talk. Prayers going up for you.

    Reply
  8. Rose Marie Robbins

    Victoria, I am so sorry that you have had to travel this journey. However, I am so proud and thankful that you are brave enough to share your story in order to help other women.
    God is using you now and in the future. Ask for his guidance, strength, and peace everyday.. He will be there to help you along the way.
    You know that you were always special to me!
    Hugs and love.

    Reply
  9. Kristen Horne

    I am so proud of you, Victoria! Your story is so inspiring and I know that it will touch many women that are going through this ornhave gone through it in the past. I am so glad to know that you are doing better and your sweet , sweet daughter is perfect. Love you!!!

    Reply
  10. Lee Conrad

    My dear daughter in law,
    I feel your pain. I too suffered from PPD for 10 years until I got the proper medications. it took awhile and I tried everything in the books. I had hyperthyroidism which made me angry and resentful. I wanted to sleep all day. I went into therapy to get my masters in chemical and substance abuse and that’s how I found out I had PPD. thankfully I am on good meds which seem to work. I pray you find the ones for you, but never give up. You are so precious to me. I may not be here enough for you, but you know I will come home anytime to help you. You are a special lady and you will get through this and find peace. Much Love, Lee

    Reply
  11. Lee Conrad

    this was so wonderfully written and heartbreaking, too. You will survive and get stronger.

    Reply

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