That Thing That No One Talks About (Christine)

Age: 27
Number of pregnancies/births: 1 of 1.
Months PP: Almost 5.

As I write this, I am really unsure of how to start or properly address the issue at hand. I suppose the best I can do is to start at the beginning and work my way to the present. It would probably be the best solution.

The story starts with my decision to stop taking birth control. I had been on various forms here and there for eight or more years and I felt it necessary to stop as I was no longer reaping any additional benefits. My periods were long and heavy. Oftentimes, painful. They were still eight days long. I felt that no matter which form I chose, I was still hormonally messed up. I hadn’t been really happy in eight years and at first, I had just attributed it to the stress of college, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it might be the BC, so I wanted to discontinue. Well, that was a big giant mistake from the get go.

My husband had been sent on an IA (independent augmentee) to Guantanamo Bay and I had not seen him for a year. Well, you can imagine what happens when soldiers come home from a long absence. Unfortunately, even though I had informed my husband of my decision and had told him that he needed to use back up contraceptives, he disregarded my wishes in his excitement and by the time I realized it, it was too late.

It was never in my life’s plan to have a child. Ever since I was 14, I can recall sitting in sex ed class and being mortified at the video they showed us. It was called “The Miracle of Life”. Miracle of life, my butt. All that video was was one giant, bloody and painful mess. There was no ‘miracle’ there in my eyes. So needless to say, I was scarred for life from that video and was very diligent all through my college career and up until I married to be sure to engage in safe sexual practices. And for 8 years, it never steered me wrong.

My unplanned (and unwanted) pregnancy could not have come at a worse time. Because my husband was returning from a year long absence, we were in the process of moving.. overseas.. to Japan. I was trying to organize our household goods to be shipped across the way and trying to get everything done to ensure that our two cats (my furry children) could come along. You would not believe all the rules, regulations and general crap you have to go through to get an animal into this country. Needless to say, I spent the next nine months of my life being miserable some days and okay the other days. The one thing that never changed (and still hasn’t changed) is how much I resent my husband, but I will get to that in a minute.

The earthquakes that happened here in Japan last year around the same time of year put a stop temporarily to our move.. and so we had to sit.. and wait. And because my husband was still part of a command, he had to travel 1600 miles back to Virginia Beach to go to work every day. And they didn’t compensate him one bit for any of that. So even though he was back stateside, we were still separated for the better part of a month.. me sitting alone and pregnant and wondering how we were going to do this and him being angry and resentful at his former command for all the crap they put us through (which I’m not going to go into).

Eventually, it worked itself out and we proceeded with the move. We finally got to Japan in late May of 2011 and I really started to enjoy my time here. It is actually a very nice place. His new command, unfortunately was a sea rotation command, so that meant he would be gone three months and back for a month, maybe two.. if I was lucky. When it was just me and the cats, I never really minded. I just went about my business like normal and found things to occupy my time. I was very independent.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy arguing with my husband because I was resentful and hateful of what he had done to me. I was conflicted on whether or not I could love this child like he deserved to be loved because of said resentment. It was a pretty vicious cycle.

Anyway, here in Japan because the military base lacks certain healthcare benefits, after 20 weeks into your pregnancy they send you out in town amongst the Japanese OBs to finish out your pregnancy. So at 20 weeks, I started seeing an OB that was a little ways from my home.. and boy, is it different there than here in the states. For one thing, you will wait for hours and it is normal. No one told me that I would be waiting two hours past my appointment time (after arriving thirty minutes early) on an empty stomach, slowly getting more and more vehement. No one told me that you pretty much take your own vitals and hand it over to the nurse or that the exam was so invasive and alienating. It’s pretty bad when you go in for your annual exam and the doctor is digging around down there with equipment and talking to you.. it’s even worse when they strap you into a chair straight out of a science fiction movie, that swivels around and spreads your legs apart while the bottom part of you is exposed and you can’t see your doctors because they are on the other side of a curtain. Oh, and did I mention that you can see inside yourself via the giant television monitor they have on your side of the curtain? Believe me, it was horrifying and I never felt so completely violated.

My appointments were pretty much clockwork up until 26 weeks. That’s when it went to hell. The Japanese doctor I was seeing stated that he could not visualize my son’s stomach at that point (and hadn’t been able to) and that I was retaining a lot of amniotic fluid. So he pronounced me with polyhydramnios and a possible EA for my son. And because of that diagnosis, I was forced to go back to the states.. away from my husband. Thankfully, I didn’t have to pay for it and I was able to stay with my father and some of my friends for five months, but at the end.. I was still separated from my husband and cats for five or more months.

So I get back stateside and see a specialist. He sees nothing wrong. There was never any problem with my son.. and he didn’t understand why they diagnosed me with severe polyhydramnios. So I came back for no reason.

I passed those five months by knitting and talking to my friends. I got out and about and went to festivals, the movies and shopping. I tried my best to stay active.. but by the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 45 lbs. That was devastating because I have never been of a regular weight for my height and prior to my pregnancy, I had worked very hard (to no avail) to lose weight. The lowest I have ever weighed at a height of 5’9″ is 165.. which is still overweight. So I was very unhappy that I gained so much weight. However, I was spared most of the problems ladies have during the last trimester. My back really never did hurt and I was able to walk around even though everyone kept thinking I was having twins (which just reinforced that I was fat in my mind). The only problem I really developed was that my hip started popping out of its socket when I would roll over to sleep. So I had to be very careful about turning over at night.

At 39 weeks, the OB (who was wonderful, by the way) stated that she would ‘rather me be not pregnant sooner rather than later” because apparently for the last two or three weeks of my pregnancy, I had been leaking amniotic fluid and had never noticed. So they sent me to be induced on 11/10/2011. My son was born the next day (11/11/11) at 11:26 AM. My labor was super fast once it showed up. I had severe pain for about two hours before he was born (those pesky contractions), but I managed the two hours without pain medications or an epidural. When he was born, he was kind of lethargic and not interested in eating, so that signaled something was up. Thankfully, it just turned out that he had a pretty bad bout of jaundice and since he was not ready to be birthed into the world, preferred to sleep.

I had nurses waking me up every three hours to go feed a baby that did not want to eat (who would want to when you have them hooked up to sugar water and under a nice warm heat lamp all day?), so I was severely sleep deprived. When I wasn’t doing that, I was constantly having to entertain my family. So needless to say, my sleep deprivation started early in.

What no one told me while I was pregnant (and what this post is really about) is that sometimes, you can be so overjoyed about the life you have helped to create (and decided to keep) and yet so miserable that you see no point in living. I was already upset about a pregnancy I didn’t want and well.. about three weeks after he was born I started imagining that he was out to get me. That he was waking up to make my life miserable. I never got to sleep because I couldn’t sleep when he was sleeping (my body just doesn’t work like that) and when I would try to sleep (at night) he was waking me up and crying inconsolably. I never could figure out what he wanted.. I was frustrated and alone. My husband never got to see my son being born. His command wouldn’t let him come home and there was no Skype available on ship.. and the hospital wouldn’t have allowed it anyway. So he never got to see the ONLY CHILD he is going to get being born.

The OB stuck me on Zoloft and apparently people noticed a difference, but I really didn’t. I just attributed it to finally having help (my husband came to get me a few weeks after he was born). But then we moved back here to Japan.. away from friends and family.. and because I left when I did, I never had a chance to establish any friends here. And I was okay when my husband was around. Still resentful and having difficulties, but it was manageable. Well, unfortunately, he got called away on ship one day before my 27th birthday and has been gone since. I cry inconsolably almost every day. I went to the doctor on base and they stuck me on Wellbutrin.. which just makes all the things I am experiencing 10 times worse. I have thoughts of committing suicide or harming my son. My anger is off the charts.. and it is over nothing. I haven’t slept decently in a week because of the Wellbutrin (which I stopped taking today). I know they meant well by giving me this anti-depressant, but it most definitely is not working. And I understand that some people have a paradoxical effect that occurs when they take certain anti-depressants.

Anyway, when I went to see the doctor about this issue (because I have no desire to hurt my son as he did nothing wrong and I hate that he is the only person I really have to communicate with), he suggested that I take the medication in conjunction with talking to someone about this because it is obvious that I am having a lot of difficulty adjusting to this change. He suggested FFSC (Fleet and Family Support Center), but when I called them up, they refused to see me because I had been diagnosed by three different doctors at that point with PPD. So I set up an appointment with the only psychologist on base (who is unfortunately a stand-in). I came away from that meeting knowing I would never be able to talk to her about the problems I am having. She strongly encouraged me to file an FAP against my husband (that’s a Family Advocacy Plan). That’s something you only do if you are in an abusive relationship.. or your military member is irresponsible with their money or habits. My husband is a good person. I wouldn’t have married him if he weren’t. I am the victim of rape and abuse by two different men, so I am quite aware of what those things are. While I do feel that my husband disregarded my wishes (which led to my son being born), I do not feel that he raped or abused me. So I walked away from her realizing I could never talk to her or open up to her.. which leaves me with no one to talk to about this issue. I have no support and no real friends to speak of here in Japan. And while I love being here, I hate what I have become.

I hate that I feel that I can’t leave my house because my son doesn’t have a consistent nap schedule.. and that he gets cranky really often when we go out. I don’t like that he can’t play by himself and that I don’t have the energy every day to play with and interact with him. I hate that I sit here alone and crying and that when I try to reach out for help, the military has proven itself completely useless. I hate that my being miserable is affecting my husband and his work. I hate that I resent my husband and sometimes my son, too. I hate being this weak, sniveling and completely dependent person when once upon a time I was independent and resilient. I hate that I cry at the stupidest things now. I hate so much about my life right now that it is really hard to keep going. And what I hate the most is that my son is taking the brunt of this problem because he is the only person I have to communicate with.

No one talks about what it is like to live with this kind of depression. Or tells you that it might last for months.. or years. No one tells you that the anti-depressants that are supposed to help you may actually hinder you because they react negatively with you. I don’t sleep (I wake up after only three hours of sleep and cannot go back to sleep.. and my son sleeps all night (12 hours)). I barely eat. I have lost 6 lbs since he left.. and most of it is because I haven’t eaten well. I don’t have time to cook because my son is kind of in a needy phase and I have no one to help out.

And what’s really sad is that most of you that come to this site (not all) complain about the weight you have to lose (I gained 45lbs and am still working on losing it.. I am about 6lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.. which is still overweight) or how you are having difficulties coping with your new body. And I am not belittling those concerns or problems, because they most definitely contribute to a person’s well-being. I just find it so very funny that most of you complain about the stretch marks you have or the extra weight you gained.. and I know I should possibly care about those things (because I received a bunch of new stretchmarks from this pregnancy), but I find that I don’t have the energy to care. I could care less what I look like.. how much fat I have, etc. And that’s not because I didn’t care before (I am very obsessive about my weight and have been my entire life due to emotional abuse I sustained when I was younger), but it’s because I am so overwhelmingly depressed and cannot for the life of me get the help that I know I need that is creating this lack of concern for anything.

I feel I could sleep forever and not care. I wouldn’t care about whether or not my son needed me.. and I know that’s horrible, but it’s very true right now. I do love my son, but I find that this dark cloud (for lack of a better term) is so poisonous and so belittling that I can’t enjoy connecting with my son. I can’t enjoy what should be the most enjoyable part of our lives. Sure, I have some bright days where I connect really well with my son, but most of the time, I am a big ole’ ball of rage and resentment. And at this point, it really doesn’t seem like there is a silver lining or a bright spot.

Maybe one day, I will post a follow-up post with pictures of my weight loss (I am still losing and that’s great, although I would prefer it to be because I was exercising (like I was before)) and how I finally beat this thing, but right now.. I just feel like I’m going to get lost in the void. I want to crawl out.. I want to survive, but what do you do when you can’t get any help from programs that are supposed to be put in place to help you.. and the people and places that can help you are more than 3000 miles away??

39 thoughts on “That Thing That No One Talks About (Christine)

  • Monday, April 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    I wish I knew more about how the US military mental health services work so I could tell you how and where to get help because you need it so badly. Is it possible you could come back state side and get help here while staying with your family or friends until you’re back on track?

    I had a terrible time after the birth of my son in 2008 and everything that you’ve written sounds so familiar. I wish there was something I could say or do to fix it for you.

  • Monday, April 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Dear Christine, this sounds terrible! I feel so sorry and hope that you can get some relief soon. It sounds awful to be so alone with such a young baby. Do you have any friends or family able to come and see you? Are there any support groups you could join on or near your base? There has got to be someone you can reach out to other than your doctor.
    As someone who has struggled with depression through most of my twenties, I know how difficult it can be to deal with psychiatrists and medications. I tried several before I found a drug and dosage level that worked for me. The key is to stay on the meds for at least a month before you decide whether they are working for you. When you do decide to stop a medication, you should always taper slowly. You can either get a smaller dose, or chop up the pills yourself to slowly lower the daily dose. Otherwise, you can ‘crash’ and feel even more depressed or physically sick. My current medication has worked for me for about a year, but I’m starting to feel that the effects are wearing off. I’m starting to get a sense that I will always struggle with depression, but that I can learn to recognize the signs, control my reactions to some extent, and continually fine-tune my medications to optimize their effects. It is better than giving up!
    Like you, I’ve also struggled with negative reactions to birth control. Right now, I’m using the Nuva-Ring, which has helped immensely, both with the heaviness of my periods and my overall mood. I would recommend talking to your doctor about the Nuva-Ring or some form of IUD. There are lots of options out there, and you don’t want to get pregnant again!!
    Good luck! Please update us on your progress. I’ll be thinking of you!

  • Monday, April 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm


    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I feel for you…I feel for you so much. I am so sorry that you don’t have the support system needed to help you through this difficult time. I am a mother too who at times feels very alone and needing someone to talk to (family also lives in a different country). If you ever need someone, maybe a pen pal or someone to vent to, you can email me at I am hoping you soon find yourself in a better place. Praying for you!!

  • Monday, April 16, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    I always read the submissions on this site, but I’ve never commented until now. My daughter is one month older than your son and let me tell you this parenting thing is hard! I was so moved by what you wrote. You are SO STRONG. I know you might feel weak but you are getting through this second by second. No one tells you how hard it is to be a parent (rather, they do but it all sounds so cliche we just brush it off.) No one tells you that you have no time for ANYTHING, yet even though you have no time you still feel bored. No one tells you about the stress, the unending anxiety that comes from first time motherhood. I am not exactly in your situation but please know that you are not alone. Every time you feel frustrated, exhausted, angry, trapped, know that there are new moms all over the world feeling the exact same in that exact moment. You can do it, you are strong.

  • Monday, April 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Oh mama I don’t even know where to begin. You are an incredibly strong woman for posting such a vulnerable story, I know what it is like having PPD.. and your story, and your words hit home for me, and probably many of us, who do not want to acknowledge that dark corner of loathing and resentment that PPD keeps us in. I’m sorry that you are going through all this. I found that though I was unable to connect with people in real life, the internet, and parenting/mommy boards are a great way to vent and just talk to other parents who know exactly what you are going through.

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I was in the same boat as you now. I strongly suggest you to go back to states and your family. Because it is difficult to cope with the depression without family, friends in a foreign country. I gave birth to my son in South Korea. When he was 4 month old I came back to my homeland. My mother helped me so much… She took care of my baby at nights and I was able to sleep and not worrying that I must feed baby, change diapers. Little by little i felt myself better, i was able to sleep all night, sometimes i went out with friends, sometimes i went shopping. If you know other mothers with little babies take a walk together with them everyday. It really helped me because i realized that i am not alone, there is many women who went through such a hard times. We walked together with our babies actually we organized our mommy’club. Don’t keep all your pain inside, speak to people. Most of women don’t speak about ppd but they understand what is this. It is normal to share your problems with other people who are close to you. It is normal. And remember please there is always a light at the end of the dark tunnel. Don’t give up! Ask for help if you need it. You need somebody to help you with baby. You need your private free time to rest.

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 2:06 am

    Your story really touched me, though i have never experienced depression and i pray i never will.

    Is there no way you can move back home ? For how long are you supposed to stay in Japan? Is there no way your husband can get stationed back home? Mind you, i am not american, i live in Europe and i have no idea how these things work.
    I really feel for you , and frankly, you are doing no good to your child feeling this way and you need help asap.
    Take care.

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I don’t really have words for you. I remember sobbing every day at 1pm the first year of my sons life. I remember begging my husband to find me a therapist who ended up clearly disliking me. (That was something I never thought happened… She snapped at me a number of times that I was concerned with meaningless stuff like art and public transportation.) But I had my husband there and my parents. My dad was a big help to me – like it sounds like your dad is. I can tell that the challenges shift and your son won’t be this monotonous, needy responsibility for much longer. He will perk up and engage with you – but you need adult connections. I really hope you furiously keep fighting to find the help you need for your sake and your sons sake. Remember that regardless of anything you are feeling, he loves you so, so much. I know he needs you and that can be so very exhausting but even when he is crying (and later, at 18 months, smacking at you) he loves loves loves you. Good luck with everything – I hope you do post an update soon

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Oh honey. Talk to your Dr. Tell him the Wellbutrin isn’t working, maybe try another. Could you leave, come back here if it’s really not working? That may be the best option for you, right now, especially if your husband is gone and gong to be frequently.
    Most babies put themselves on a nap schedule at 8-9 months, but not necessarily before. Could you find any kind of Mom’s group there? Tht would give you a place to go, even if only on the days/ times he’s not napping.
    The first is hard. It just is. It gets easier….

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I feel for you. Email stephaniebertiauxatgmaildotcom if you want to chat.

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    You have my sympathy for enduring a very difficult situation. The only thought I had was about your sleep; couldn’t you get some type of sleep medication? I know for ANYONE, sleeping as little as you are would make them nuts. Perhaps if the sleep part is attended to everything else will begin to fall into place. Good luck to you.

  • Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I think you have likely helped others as well as yourself by writing this so frankly. You have a husband who has been gone for a lot of your marriage (not by his own choice), and you’ve been left with lots of responsibility to handle alone. It’s completely fair for you to feel overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities you have. I wish you had access to some help. All I can recommend is to keep talking…and sometimes talking helps lead to solutions (believe it or not…you might make a connection with someone you can partner up with for some help you can trade or something…you never know). Good luck.

  • Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Having suffered from ‘bog-standard’ depression in the past, one of my great fears is that I’ll also suffer from PPD. However, I think that people who’ve had depression in the past are possibly better equipped to deal with it! I’ve had a lot of help with my depression and now have a lot of techniques in hand to help me deal with the negative thinking/feeling cycle that it can cause. It sounds to me like you aren’t getting any of that help and that it’s just being written off by doctors as ‘the blues’, which you should snap out of, rather than being recognised as a form of clinical depression. I guess that’s something you should bear in mind – you have a *clinical illness*. You are not being selfish, useless, lazy, unloving, or a bad person for feeling the way you do. Depression is still a sort of taboo topic so not everyone appreciates that in many ways it requires a similar approach to a bad physical illness – patience, from both the sufferer and their loved ones, time, and a great deal of care.

    I guess one big problem is that you’re isolated from possible ‘face to face’ programmes that could help you. However, there are a lot of materials available online that could help you. I’ll do do some searches for the best websites I’ve used in the past and post them here late. There are a couple of websites that provide blogging space for people suffering from depression which I think is a very helpful tool — one of the worst things (I find) about depression is the sheer loneliness of it, and reaching out with words, as you already have done, can really help you feel less alone. Reading other people’s experiences can also help in a similar way.

    I’d also suggest, if you could buy such a book via amazon or somesuch, getting a book about depression and, possibly, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). The latter isn’t for everyone, but I found it immensely helpful – it’s basically all about slowing down the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings to the point that you can understand where they’ve come from. And just any book written by an informed psychologist can help you to understand the mechanics of depression and are often written in a very sympathetic and (I find) comforting style.

    Wishing you all the very best — you will come out of this, I know it!

  • Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    My son was born 11/1/11. :) Being a new mama is really hard, even on those who aren’t depressed. The change was so hard when my first child, a daughter, was born in 2006. My prayer for you is that you will feel better. Do you have a church you can attend so you can start making positive social contacts? Do what you must to get better! Perhaps you can move home for a while until you are better. If all else fails, find online support systems, women you can talk to and share with. Find ways to get out, take photographs of Japan and your son, start a blog to post those photos… I know you’re concerned about your son getting upset if you go out, but if you get out and let him get upset a little bit when he’s in the stroller, soon enough he’ll get used to being out and about and will be more content, letting you get some air! :)

    Hey, our boys will be 6 months old soon! Right now, my husband started a new job and I’m stuck indoors in a new city (it never stops raining, plus it’s a questionable neighborhood and I have no license or car… blah). I’ve been feeling down, myself, lately. I try to stay busy with baking and blogging and photography. My next project is to start making pureed fruits and veggies and grains and freezing them in ice cube trays, then putting the cubes in freezer bags for the little man when he starts eating solids.

    Many blessings to a new mama!

  • Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Here is a link that may be of use to you:

    I am so sorry to hear that you are dealing with such severe depression. As a navy spouse of 15 years, I know how challenging the crazy schedules can be.

    Have you looked into counseling options (phone or in person) from military one source? They are separate from Fleet and Family support and have amazing options. Please check out their website–they have ways to contact them, including options for international help.

    I wish you the very best as you continue to heal-

  • Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I struggle w PPD too- my husband is always travel. for work. It is a lonely place I know it well. email if u ever need a friend to talk to:

  • Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Hi there,
    I have read your story. I am so sorry. I have three children too, and know how you feel, but cannot imagine going through it alone in a foreign land. I just want to say one thing: there is a benefit to being in Japan. Try to find an acupuncturist. I am an acupuncturist here in the states. I have no idea of price there, but do know that it is very common in Japan. Find a woman, if you can. Acupuncture cannot hurt you, and Asians have recognized for centuries that pregnancy,childbirth, and the post partum phase are extremely difficult on the mother’s body, and this long term depletion can cause or exacerbate depression. If they use herbs in their practice, take herbs as well. I treat this in my practice often.
    Best of luck,

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 2:21 pm




  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    I have fought with depression my whole life, and I was raped when I was 14 yrs old. I had PPD with my first child severely. I cried all the time, didn’t want to get up to take care of him and on top of that I had a C-section and had gained over 50 lbs. Unless you have had severe depression you have no idea. Unfortunately, it was years before I got help, counseling and the right medication. I almost destroyed my marriage and was angry most of the time. It only got worse as I got older. One of the most important lessons I learned during my counseling was that victims of rape can end up doing many things unconsciously to hurt themselves or sabotage their happiness because of the guilt and worthlessness they still feel due to the trauma. You need to get help and you need to do it now. I think you need to go back to the states and find a doctor that can help you. You need more than just anti depressants, you need therapy. Do it now before you waste years of your life being miserable like I did. I was a good mother overall but did do some things I would take back if I could. I could have been a much better mother and wife had I received the help I needed earlier. After I got on the right meds and had therapy, I felt like a new person. I interacted differently with people, and I laughed so much more. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE go get help. I guarantee you are on the path to a divorce if you continue on the road you are on, or possibly something much worse. The resentment will not subside on its own. My guess is, it is not just your husband you resent, it is men because of what happened to you. Get yourself together and take you and your son back to the states. Tell you husband you have to do this to save yourself and your marriage. In the long run, it will be worth it a hundred times over. Good luck and God bless.

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    I wanted to let you know I think you are very strong. Too often women dont talk about how hard it is starting out as a new mom. It took me some time to be able to appreciate this miracle my body created. My son is now one and I can tell you it gets easier. PPD is difficult to navigate, my grandmother suffered through it with four children, she told me to only focus on getting through the next hour, then the next one and so on. When I made my goals smaller it got me through the day. It’s not easy, it’s really hard and overwhelming. Give yourself some credit that you have been able to endure so much. That means you can fight, and keep fighting until you get the results you want. It’s all about the journey and you do have the power to bring about change in your life. Be kind to yourself too, even if it is just in your thinking. Meditation, 20 min to myself, twice a day alone in a dark room with a candle brought me great peace. If I miss a session with myself things go haywire real fast so I accept that I need that. It’s not about trying to have the perfect mothering experience for me anymore. My son taught me perfect doesn’t exist. It’s about being unique and learning what is really inside me. Having him helped to show me that as he pushed me beyond what I thought were my limits I can do more. Took a year to get here and have a positive reflection. You are not alone, I genuinely hope that you find something that works for you, that’s yours and make you feel as if you have power.
    Sending you lots of good energy. Wishing you nothing but the best. Remember small baby steps :)

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    My son is a month younger than yours. A resource I was given at the hospital is

    I hope you can find the strength to keep looking for help.

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    I rarely respond to posts on SOAM but your story touched my heart. I am sorry you are feeling this way, I suffered from PPD but I can only imagine it being 1000 times worse when you are in a foreign country..isolated away from friends and family. Is there any support network that can help you, are there fellow military moms to lean on? Can you find a support network via the internet? I hope you find the help and support you need.

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm


    I am not a mother so I have never had postpartum depression, but I have lived with depression for 6 years now. I know there must be some differences, but I still feel like I know your pain. The shame of not having a ‘good reason’ for your suffering makes it ten times worse. I don’t ever want to have children because I am afraid that what happened to you would happen to me. Btw I also had a similar reaction to ‘The Miracle of Life’ in high school – it must have scarred generations of us, why do they show it to young girls??

    I am so sorry that you are in the depths of the darkness right now. It can get better, but you MUST get help. You love your son. You must do it for him. In my own experience, you need to combine several things at once to make a difference – medication, talk therapy, diet & exercise, lifestyle change, etc. At the very least you need to find an English-speaking therapist that you trust, and a psychiatrist, too, who can help you find the right medication – it can take many tries before you find the right one, but when you do it can be life-changing.

    I also understand your anger. I once was walking across a field at Christmas time, and I was seething with anger for no reason. I saw this snowman, so I ran over to it and absolutely demolished it. I attacked that thing so hard that I broke several nails and sprained an ankle. The poor kids who made it! But I was so furious with the world, I couldn’t stop myself.

    Your situation in Japan, being so isolated and lacking in a support system of family and friends, this worries me. I hope that if you continue to experience hopeless and suicidal feelings that you will seriously consider going home to your family, at least for a while. I know it might seem like abandoning your husband, but it sounds like he is not able to offer much support because of his job – and you desperately need support from people who love you and whom you trust. You know who those people are. If it gets bad, go to them. Your husband will understand.

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 4:39 am

    Everything you say about how you feel is just how I felt when I had my daughter. Hang on in there, I promise you it won’t be like this forever, it does get better – this was drummed into me by a friend that had also had severe PND, and guess what? She was right, I didn’t believe it at the time, I thought she couldn’t possibly have felt as bad as I did, but I guess she did, and she really was right. Your time will come, one day at a time, one hour at a time, keep going, you will get there:………much love x

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Dear Christine,
    A large number of women around the world are sending you love right now. I, too, raised my infant sons in Japan many years ago and struggled with sleep deprivation. I was very much helped by women in the La Leche League; besides giving me support for breastfeeding they helped me with emotional support when I was very vulnerable. I hope you can find a way to connect with an English speaking community outside of the military. I will be holding you in my arms as you do your best to heal and nurture yourself and your child. Thank you for reaching out — that was very brave. I am rooting for you.

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Coercive pregnancy is a form of rape and control, even if the sex was consensual. It is very real and has recently been recognized as a type of abuse.

    Please read these:

    And please please please consider finding a counselor. I had thoughts of suicide after my third was born, and my therapist literally saved my life, my marriage and my children. Please.

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Words can not really make it better, but if i were to try, i would be sending you lots of big snuggly hugs!!!!!! We dont hug enough now adays.. I was slighly depressed with my first born and i found skin on skin (even now) helped a lot with her… Well done for sharing your story and i hope you found it cathartic to write it down. I hope you find the help you need… Good luck xx

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    It is very difficult to live with severe depression, but you already have done that. You are far stronger than you feel.

    I can’t offer much advice, as I feel everyone finds their own way out. But in case it helps you, I tried to take every small step on its own and not to think of the over-whelming. Also just try the pills and any therapy you can, because you never really know what might help. And in the end, remember everyone deserves to be happy x

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    I didn’t enjoy being pregnant, child birth was unbelievably painful both I dealt with, however your right nothing prepares a woman for motherhood. It’s a lonely job & one you don’t get a break from. I have two boys first born 2009 & second 2011 being a mother has mind me a stronger woman (one that still cries over everything!) motherhood has shown me the dark side & the happiest I have ever been.

    I can honestly say the way you feel now will pass & you will have your happy days, your son’s personality will shine & make you smile again. Give yourself a break your an amazing woman & your doing an amazing job. Start with the small things long walks, look up at the sky, sing & dance around the house. It might sound silly but it helped me. Enjoy your journey.

    P.S. be kind to yourself

  • Saturday, April 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    First of all, i admire your courage and willingness to speak up. Even though you might be 1000’s of miles away from where i live in NC, you got a virtual supporter(s) in your corner.

    I’ve always been someone who felt like I had an organized life, household and some might say be a perfectionist. I was 15 yo when my oldest brother was born and I remember feeling so nervous, that somehow I was going to hurt him or drop him…it was such a scary feeling that for years I had decided I was not going to have any children. I never told my parents about my feelings, but I never forgot…when my husband and I decided to have a child (34yo) I knew there would be emotional challenges…I ended up being aweful sick the first 17 weeks, preclampsia, painful c section, not too different from many other Mom’s experience, but once we got home I cried every night, felt inadequate, would hear crying when there wasn’t any, etc. I finally spoke to my doc after a night where my daughter seemed to keep crying and nothing I did seem to console her…I yelled out to my husband, ” if she doesn’t stop crying I feel like I could throw her down the stairs…” then I started crying because I was so ashamed and scared I would say something like that…

    At first when I told my doc how I was feeling, he said no worries it’s the baby blues…I knew I was not being totally honest because of fear that I would sound like an emergency, out of control and he would call protective services. But I finally remember choking up and telling him what I had said out loud…I got more support and understanding than I could have ever imagined. I am still taking low dosages of Wellbutrin and over the last year started taking a low dosage anti-anxiety pill and it has helped balance me. I didn’t want to rely on meds alone so I joined a “new Mom’s group” and did some soul searching on how I could adjust my own way of thinking. I am pregnant again now (wasnt planned and I blame Rite Aid, long story) and I was anxious and upset (said I was one n done) but now with some experience and newer found support I feel more mentally prepared.

    You can find the inner balance, it can take some time and through a combination of resources, but you are not alone. I’ll say a prayer for your ongoing strength and courage.

  • Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Believe me when I say that things will get MUCH better within the next month. Your little one is getting older and hopefully more steady. If you still find you cannot console him or he isn’t sleeping regularly, these 2 books (The Happiest Baby on the Block, The Baby Whisperer solves all your problems) will fix that in as early as a week. There is even a quick fix on how to soothe any crying baby within seconds on a single page spread! These two books were a Godsend for me after I had my little man and practically raised him by myself with no family/friend support and barely even my husband.
    My pregnancy was such a sad and hard time for me (stay tuned for a post on it) and post baby was as bad if not worse! People and doctors seem to like skating over the slippery bits of PPD, but it is a serious illness that deserves more support. You are being incredibly strong and you must take pride in that. The fact that you know to do all you can to keep your son safe is half the battle. If you cannot move back home to the states with your son, please email all of us who have offered our help, including me. We care about you and your success. We will all win by helping you through this.
    I felt so hopeless at times and thus felt guilty that my sweet little son isn’t getting 100% of his mommy that he deserves. I felt ashamed. And the worst part is that I kept these feelings to myself, allowing them to poison any happy thoughts. One thing that really helped was buying a stroller and taking my son out for walks. The babies love the bumpy vibrations of the street, so they calm down and some even fall asleep. I realised by going on walks that I needed time to myself. I needed private time where I can unwind and feel at peace and do something that makes ME feel better. I was so busy worrying about my baby and even silly things like my husband’s lunch that I forgot to treasure myself.
    Remember, the mother is the rock of the family. She is the glue that holds the family together and gives strength when the others are weak. She gives love when the others are down. She calms the storms and she weathers the worst. In order to be that rock, you need to cherish yourself and put yourself first too. You deserve to be taken care of and you deserve to come first. Do what you need to do to become the best. Your son need’s to see that happy and proud woman. And babies are so much smarter and in tune than people give them credit for. Your son will notice your change, and he will feed off your energy. You WILL see a happier baby.
    My email that was made over a decade ago and is painfully embaressing is thisbeautifulstranger at hotmail dot com. The other ladies and myself are here for you. Trust us <3
    It only gets better from here, and the saddest thing would be to have all these sweet memories passing you by because you're so unhappy.



  • Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I too have a military husband away and am struggling with a 19 month old but am fortunate to have family come to help me every couple of weeks. My little girl has never been a good sleeper and didn’t have a consistent nap schedule so I decided to try and put her in one. I looked up what Gina Ford recommended for her age and at 10 and 2 every day I left her to sleep.I was so amazed when she just fell into it. It may not work,but give it a try. It made a big difference to me. I know its only a tiny thing but a routine may help. I will be praying for you.

  • Monday, April 23, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I feel for you so much. I am suffering from recently diagnosed depression but have been suffering for 18 months. I finally went and asked for help and was handed a prescription for anti depressants and put on the waiting list for CBT. I decided against the anti depressants once I read the side effects and started 5-htp instead, which in clinical trials has as good results. You cant use it with anti depressants and you can’t suddenly stop adps but it might be an alternative that may help you. 5-htp is a precursor for serotonin. I’m not against medical treatment but I think the drugs mask the problem and stop you dealing with the underlying issues. You have to get therapy to get better.
    I hope you find someone who actually helps you. Ask the angels for help they are there, they just need permission to step in.

  • Monday, April 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    You need to contact Military One Source if the treatment your doctor isn’t working quite right for you. They can help you find someone to talk to. Just being able to talk to someone made a HUGE difference for me with my PPD. I’ve been a Marine wife for over decade. My husband has never seen any of his children’s births, but thats ok. He makes up for it with love. It gets better. Just give your baby all of the love and affection you can possibly muster and soon it’ll all fall into place.

  • Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    As an Army wife with a husband who has been depolyed alot I understand where you are coming from.
    I am also a victim of rape and abuse.
    I also suffered from depression over a pregancy that was not in my life plans.

    Some women will tell you that given time it will just go away but for some women especially women who have suffered a lot in life or are isolated it does not go away quickly or without help.
    I was married 6 weeks when I found out I was pregnant. At 4 months pregant we found out it was twins and that the boy twin was missing his hand on one side. my husband and I were both soldiers but I knew one of us had to stay home, we fought fiercly over who would give up their career to stay home. In the end it was me, they were born premature with some complications, they were too weak to nurse and it was a month before they came home. I feel sometimes that really hurt my bond with them.
    I spend alot of time to this day resenting my husband for making me take the heavier burden, while he was depolyed to Iraq he joked he got more sleep which was true, I was so irrate that I gave up my career, my body and my life as I knew it for HIS children that I contacted a divorce lawyer the next day, eventually my counselor talked me out of it.
    Yes you do need a counselor but nowing tricare as I do, you probly will have to return to the states before you get a decent one.
    I understand what it feels like to resent your husband and love him at the same time. I understand what it feels like to love your child but also see them as the person who striped you of your life and sanity, it is really hard to love someone you created so much and still see them as a theif. Please email me if you need someone to talk to or skype with.
    My hubby is gone to Korea so I need a friend too and maybe we can help each other out.
    Sometimes when people who have their life together as great moms try to help me I spend to much time envying their ease at motherhood to fully except their help. I still struggle with the same feelings as you, though my twins are 5 years old. I would love to skype or email sometime. my email is

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Hey, I just wanted to say that if you want to email me maybe we can chat. I just finished my psychology studies and became a mum, so I’m not working but fully qualified if you want a pen friend who might be able to offer some perspective and advice. I have a 4 month old daughter and my partner is in the military too but I’m in Australia.
    Good luck.

  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Dear Christine,

    it was so brave of you to post your story – doing that is a huge step forward. I understand that feeling of having a dark cloud hanging over you and over a baby who is completely blameless, and I understand how scary it can be to feel as though you are completely isolated on those long wakeful nights. But you are not alone. If you ever want to talk please email me!


  • Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    you need to do what’s best for you and that baby. If you have thoughts of harming him, and they military facilities won’t help, GO HOME. It’s okay to admit you need help. My husband and I were both military (he still is), and I understand the stresses they put you through, but what matters is your safety and that babies safety. If the situation is only getting worse, then get out of the situation. Time doesnt make all thing easier, especially when you arent able to work through the feelings you have, and you feel worse and worse as the days go by. I have two children 2 and 17months. My husband and I have talked about when we pcs, and me not going with him depending on where he goes and when a deployment might be at the new station. While its important to be with family, at the same time, military families are different and have to adjust accordingly. I will never put myself in an isolating situation, it’s just not healthy, and with him being gone all the time training, I need my families support (they live just a four hour drive away). He supports this and understands. I seriously suggest going home and getting a counselor to help you work through your pain, anger, and resentment.

  • Monday, June 4, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    You need to sit down with your husband the next time he is home and talk to him about this. I have three children and never had severe depression until my third child. She was born 11/9/11. Most days I would just sit on the couch and take care of her. Nothing more. I felt like I was just taking up space and just existing, not living. It was very hard for me, but I did speak to my Dr. I am now on Welbutrin and doing much better. You need people around you who love you and support you on a daily basis. If you are not getting that in Japan, who have to do what’s best for you and your son.
    And as far as the comments on this site about physical changes and how we cope with them…this is theshapeofamother. The founder of this site shared her story on why she started this. It was for the physical changes a mother goes through after having children. BUT the shape of a mother is even more important on the inside, especially when you feel inadequate and alone. I myself have posted on how my depression has come from how I feel about myself physically and I got positive feedback from it. We all have our trials and one is not less important than the other. PLEASE (I cannot stress this enough), do what is best for you and your son. He needs you and when you look back on this, you’ll realize how much you needed him. Have the courage to put your life and your son’s life in your hands and make a change. God bless

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