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"I started fantasizing about my own death. It seemed like the only means of permanent escape."
Life with two kids was great – at first
For the first three months of my daughter's life, I was on cloud nine. I was so happy to be taking care of my 18-month-old boy and a new baby girl.
My son was very taken with his little sister, and I loved watching them interact. I enjoyed nursing, which I hadn't been able to do with my son. My family felt complete and perfect to me.
But when my little one was 4 months old, I started having a bad day here and there, just crying, all day and all night. Then those days started to come more and more frequently. Before long, all I wanted to do was cry and sleep.
I completely lost interest in spending time with my husband and kids, and instead I spent a lot of time trying to escape them. I'd hide in the bathroom and cry; I’d scroll through my phone for hours on end.
I met my kids' physical needs, but I didn't play with them or enjoy them. When my husband came home from work, I'd go to our room and sleep.
After about two months of living that way, I started fantasizing about my own death. It seemed like the only means of permanent escape. The idea of it felt so freeing. That's when I knew I needed to get help.
What helped me when I was depressed
My husband noticed that I was having a hard time and was instrumental in encouraging me to see a doctor. He even held my hand as I made the appointment.
My OB diagnosed me with postpartum depression [PPD] and put me on an antidepressant. It took about four weeks for it to kick in, and I feel so much better now.
Going on medicine has completely turned my life around, and I'm so thankful that it's allowed me to go back to cherishing all aspects of being with my kids, spending time with my husband, and doing activities that I enjoy.
What I wish other moms knew
Just because you didn't have PPD with one baby doesn't mean you won't with another.
Know the signs of PPD, and make sure your partner and your friends know them, too. My husband and I talked about PPD while I was still pregnant, and we agreed that if I was experiencing any symptoms, he would encourage me to get help. When he saw how sad and withdrawn I'd become, that's exactly what he did.
Read more moms' stories about depression.
At least 1 in 10 new moms suffers from depression. But many women don't get help because they're ashamed of how they feel or brush off signs such as fatigue or irritability as normal.
If you have symptoms of depression, tell your doctor and ask for a referral to a mental health professional. Or contact Postpartum Support International at (800) 944-4773 for free, confidential advice and help finding a therapist or support group in your area.
If you're thinking about harming yourself or your baby and you need to talk to someone right away, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 for free, confidential support.