2 weeks after I got married, I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I was 20 years old. My husband was to be deployed for a 15 month tour with the US army in 6 months, at that time. He left for Iraq when I was just under 6 months pregnant. He thankfully got to come home for the birth. He surprised me when I was at work, on my last day before I was to go on maternity leave. I went into labor a week later. September 10th, 2008 I was in labor for 12 hours. I pushed for 2 hours and the doctor decided that the baby needed some help coming out. He used forceps to get the baby out. I ended up with fourth degree tears. Labor was extremely traumatic for me, afterwards I felt like I had been raped (I know that sounds bad, but true). I was so thankful to have my husband by my side at the time, nothing else mattered after I got over the initial shock. But he had to go back to the war in Iraq, our baby was only 12 days old.
9 weeks postpartum, I was still in pain from the birth. I got checked out and the doctor said I had a hole in my vagina! I freaked out. He “fixed” the hole the best he could and told me to give it 6 weeks to heal. 6 weeks later, any time I was on my feet for more then a half hour, it felt like I needed to push out a bowling ball from my vagina (I know! So not fun).I went to see the doctor again. The doctor gave me a look like, “your looked for drugs, aren’t you”. I did not want drugs, I just did not want my vagina to be “broken” anymore. He gave me three options, to have him re-cut me open and stich me back up (no thank you), give me a nerve-killer shot in my vagina to numb me forever (HECK no!), or to deal with. I choice to deal with it.
16 weeks postpartum, I was still in pain. I just figured this was the way it was going to be the rest of my life. I was just glad I didn’t have to deal with my husband wanting sex, since he was still in Iraq. I thought I would go into liver failure with all the Tylenol I was taking just to survive each day. I was not happy. I was in pain everyday, I was dealing with a colicky baby by myself, and I was not getting much sleep at all worrying about my husband and everything else on my plate.
18 weeks postpartum, I decided to stop breast feeding. I wasn’t making enough milk to feed the baby because I wasn’t eating enough. I was miserable. I missed my husband, and life sucked at this point.
One night I was home, putting the baby to sleep like normal. I heard voices in my head as I rocked him that told me to just knock my sons head on the wall and just get it over with. I was hearing voices that told me to kill my son. I panicked. I put him to sleep and I just cried. How could I think like that? I looked at the bottle of pills that was so familiar to me, Tylenol. I thought, I need to end my life if I was thinking about taking my childs life. I took a few pills and I knew I needed help. I called my mom and told her I needed to go to the hospital immediately. I was admitted to the psych ward of a hospital for a 5 day stay for severe postpartum depression. My husband came home from Iraq for emergency leave. I was too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened, so I told them I fell and hit my head. My husband was home for 10 days to help me back on my feet. I got support for my immediate family and they all helped me a lot.
Today, my husbands 15 month tour in Iraq ends in 3 months. I have a beautiful almost 9 month old son. I am fully recovered and not on any meds anymore. I just wanted to share my story to tell everyone that postpartum depression is real and it can be really scary. Just ask for help when you need it, with the baby or just for yourself, if you don’t you will make yourself crazy like I did. Nobody can do it alone, and nobody should.
1st photo is me 8 months pregnant
2nd photo is my husband and I getting our son baptisted when he was 11 days old the day before my husband left to go back to Iraq
3rd photo is my son now (8 1/2 months)