My daughter was the surprise of the century. I could count the days I had been married. I had glimpses of excitement during the pregnancy, mostly when I worked on the nursery, but for the majority of the time, I was scared.
When she came I feel like I went through the normal hormonal whirlwind all mothers go through at the beginning (especially confused first time moms). I read about the "baby blues" for all moms during the first two weeks and heavily identified with that title, except, where the articles said it should start to wear off as I bonded more with my baby, I felt things were getting worse, more hopeless. And where was that bond? I felt every instinct to keep her alive and safe, but it was more like a panic of "is her surroundings perfect?", "I read the fan should be on", "should I play baby music to make her smart?" There was no natural reaction to simply love her, hold her, and be thankful for this beautiful girl. I didn't understand the posts I saw on Facebook. A friend of mine, in love with her new baby said, "no one ever told me I could feel like this." I had the exact same thought, but drastically different emotions behind it.
I had had no education on postpartum depression. I had never met a friend that was open about their experience. I was even confronted by a family member and told to "be stronger". My family saw me breaking down. Finally, one day I read a post from a college acquaintance. She wrote out her experience of being diagnosed with postpartum depression and was posting it in case it could help any struggling, questioning mom out there. It was everything for me. Her words were describing me perfectly, and reassured me it wasn't my fault. I wasn't a selfish person who was a failure at parenting. This wasn't a choice. Something inside me was wrong and needed fixing. At 7 weeks postpartum I called my doctor. Through sobs, I told her I felt like a robot without emotions, programmed to care for this baby. I hid in a bathroom making the phone call so no one could actually hear me talk about the lack of feelings I had towards my baby.
I started Zoloft the next day. I remember walking out of my bedroom a week later, looking at my house and thinking, "someone opened the blinds to me." I could still see the newborn challenge in front of me, but I had been navigating in darkness. After another week, I was able to feel the bond between me and my daughter. I started holding and kissing her for my own joy. Medication wasn't the "happy pill" that made everything easy. It took off a terrifying element that was keeping me from bonding with my daughter.
I would have never known something was actually wrong inside of me if it hadn't been for reading someone else's story. I hope that this can shed light on someone else's situation and help them move forward to seeking help, healing, and a true understanding that what's happening inside of you isn't your fault. Better days are ahead.