Postpartum Depression Journey

Before Baby & After

For the Awareness on postpartum depression. To help motivate women to seek help who are going thru and dealing with postpartum depression and who may also be struggling with the weight loss. To advocate a change in lifestyle, to prove it can make a huge difference in one’s mind, body and daily living.

The Statistic!

1 in 7 new moms suffer from postpartum depression

That is all it took for me to realize I needed to share my personal story. To all the mommies out there, hang in there, it’s going to be okay. I read an article in a recent  BabyTalk Magazine titled “Mothering out of the Shadows”  by Karen Grimaldos.

This article is what made me realize I should share my story. For the purpose of awareness, motivation, and to help others who need that understanding. To let other new moms know they are not alone.  For some new mothers who have dealt with postpartum depression there can be a real struggle to lose the baby weight. Especially if you had a difficult pregnancy or from what I have also learned if you have prior anxiety, depression, or a family history of mental illnesses. Sit down Mom’s Let the baby cry in the crib (they are safe), call for some backup help (if you can)  and take a few minutes to sit down and read something that could save your life. To some this may sound horrible, but when your irritated and at your mental breakdown point, this is exactly what you are supposed to do. I am pretty sure everyone watched the Purple Crying video in the hospital. If you had a child in North Carolina in the past recent years you probably seen this video. If not you must Watch! I did not remember much it had told me for I was so exhausted after having a baby. But watching it after at home over and over will make you understand it is not your fault. My baby was completely like this… it had nothing to do with colic so the NC nurses wanted to say and also said they had nothing for colic. Another Important Note: if you do not trust your pediatrician Do Not feel obligated to stay.

Here are some Celeb Quotes from the BabyTalk Magazine Article I found encourage, comforting, and motivational:

Actress Bryce Dallas Howard “The Danger of being silent means only that others will suffer in silence”

Alanis Morissett “If I could share anything, it would be to encourage them to seek help and reach out earlier than I did”

Gwyneth Paltrow “We think that it makes us bad mothers or we didn’t do something right, but we’re all in this together”

Troubled pregnancy

5 months!

Here is my personal story. I am going to share private moments and details that will let other mothers suffering know they do not have to deal with this alone. Also to fill in others that this illness is to be taken seriously. More importantly that as mothers we need to discuss postpartum with one another. It is a mental illness that is still in the shadows of every day society

My journey began with the pregnancy of my very first child who is now 4 years old. When I first found out I was pregnant at 7 weeks along, I weighed in at 140lbs. Trust me, the look on my face said it all.  In 7 weeks I had gained 15lbs, but was told by the nurse I could not have known my accurate weight. Oh yes I gave her a look and had a tone in my voice when I told her I most certainly did!  Having always been athletic and at this point in my life conscious about what I chose to eat. Much thanks to the teaching from my west coast family. I was certain my weight before pregnancy was always around 120-30lbs. I just thought maybe it was just some odd crazy beginning weight gain and just ignored it.

Unfortunately, this was no normal pregnancy. After 8 months of non-stop 24/7 “morning sickness”, a total of 76lbs gained. From constant downing of Milk and Juice. For I was constantly thirsty. I contribute this to gestational diabetes. In which at Concord Health Department in Concord, NC I was on the “verge” of gestational diabetes yet was never tested but once.  Sadly, at almost 4 months along an emergency hospital trip visit concluding that we possibly/likely lost a twin but still had a heart beat. It is more common to lose a twin early on in a pregnancy and happens often. Although we didn’t dwell too much on that fact since we were still pregnant. Yet it is something you never forget and some times still discuss the what if’s. On top of all that I had toxemia starting around the 4 month mark, and high blood pressure which reached a scary high of 198/98. I think needless to say I wanted it over! So come my first visit with my doctor on December 21, 2009 at 35 weeks (not supposed to be my last appointment) I was told “see you at 5am tomorrow”. I was having this baby girl tomorrow because the blood pressure was way to high and of course can be a major problem. At this point my vision was so blurry I seen double all the time (and now needing glasses after pregnancy), I was so swollen you could squeeze my legs and they would stick like dough. My face looked like a completely different person. My feet had swollen so much I had to buy a bigger size shoe the whole time I was pregnant. From 8.5 to 9’s. And of course I was terrified. I did not have a baby shower, and I did not have parents, nor sisters to be there for the delivery. I was in North Carolina and all my friends lived 600 plus miles away. I don’t think anyone realized, or they never acknowledged how I felt about a lot of things before my daughter had even arrived.

Becoming a New Mom-

 After she arrived things turned for the worst immediately. I never remember crying when I seen and held her for the first time. Since I was induced  it pretty much took all day long. So during 16 hours of labor my soon to be husband was in and out while I dealt with my pain pretty silently. So to be in pain and labor and sometimes be the only one in the room was lonely. Again, I don’t think I ever cried. At 15 hours I said give me the epidural and within the next hour she was here. It was after midnight when we got to a room, I hate to tell it but My boyfriend (now husband ) had to leave that night to go back to our house and let his parents in. I kind of understood this, but being alone after giving birth, and having felt such loneliness the whole pregnancy this didn’t sit well. Then at 2AM this little girl began to scream….and she still does not stop talking 😉 If other people had not seen it, they would not believe the only way I got my daughter to sleep the entire first year and a half of her life was with 2 burned out vacuum cleaners and finally another mother turned me onto the Vacuum Cleaner Sound CD. Believe me when I say that white noise is something else! The Purple crying say it slows at 6 months. I don’t remember it slowing down til she was a little over 18 months old.

After looking back on all that there is trigger #1, a very colic, gassy baby, or a baby who just chooses to cry all the time. It is very difficult for a new mom to deal with solo. My husband was home every night at least on average by 7pm, had to get up early, but did his best. Having owned his own company he did pop in and out during the day. Of course you feel completely on your own.

The next morning  after I had her the nurses came in, bathed her and  put her on my bare chest for that bonding moment and of course explained breast-feeding. I didn’t really even want to try breastfeeding, and as soon as the nurse left I put her down and got dressed. I remember just sitting there trying to keep her from crying. It seemed as soon as this child entered the world she screamed. I don’t think I slept but a couple of hours the very first night of her life or until she was almost 2 for that matter!

As far as breastfeeding. I did try to pump but nothing ever worked. I never even leaked or had to worry about wearing pads or ruining any shirts. The boobs on this mom never worked, even though they were the size of watermelons. Does it make you feel worthless? Yes in a way it did. I couldn’t provide like I should have been able to and that bothered me even though I figured I was going to do formula anyhow. For some women they need to hear “IT”S OKAY NOT TO BREASTFEED”. Then you see new moms who seem to have it easy and still find time to pump and head out for a drink with the girlfriends. Almost seems impossible to me, and now looking at it clearly. New moms don’t need to be drinking anyhow. An all moms have different situations. In my case we lived so far away I didn’t even have that opportunity to go out and get away. Which I believe is very needed for new moms. The next morning when my “in-laws” came in the room I will never forget what his mother said to me. For the purpose of sparing people’s feelings I will leave it at that.  I really was astonished and didn’t say anything, just handed her over. I went to the bathroom and cried. No family, no friends, no visitors for me. I really wondered what the nurses and doctors thought? I felt like the baby was being taken away and wasn’t even mine. Just belonged to her dad and his family. Even thought I carried her for 9 months, I gave birth to her and no congrats or nice job for me! I felt useless, worthless, sad, and no one those whole 9 months even bothered to ask about my feelings. Just the normal when you due, what’s the name, boy or girl?

We left the hospital in the afternoon of Christmas eve and the holidays didn’t feel like such. It was warm, we didn’t exchange gifts, and not to mention the trip back to the hospital on Christmas day because of her jaundice and needing more blood work. In which we didn’t leave until that afternoon. Christmas that year was non-existent. I was exhausted and just felt angry. I should have been happy, smiling, and enjoying life. What made things a lot worse was the one month stay of my mother in law was not only the worst thing that a new family and baby could have, but a mother and her newborn must have time alone. Everyone parent or not should respect that time and space. That time to bond, and do things for myself were taken away. I cried A Lot, the baby just cried.  I couldn’t handle the situation and that is when the postpartum depression really hit. To my husband’s defense, he was not pleased about this situation that took place either. Once we got a home to ourselves at the end of February ( other sisters, and other grandparents visit) it was too late!

I had not bonded with my daughter, My relationship with then fiance was diminishing, I felt horrible about myself, I could not handle the crying, I never slept and didn’t seem to be getting much help. I didn’t want to play with her, I would let her cry if I knew she was not hungry, she was dry, and that walking around or bouncing didn’t work. How could being a mother be so hard? I was the best babysitter in my small town and had a roster of parent clients who trusted me with their children for years. It got to the point where one day I looked at her and was just angry, I called my husband and begged him to come home. It was the best thing I could have ever done.  Most women are scared to tell their thoughts, and I don’t blame them. I know how scary they can get, and how frustrations can take over. Your exhausted and don’t want to explain to anyone your troubles but trust your husband. They are not mind readers, but I am thankful I have one who did pay attention. Thankful and grateful for him for he was the one who made my first postpartum appointment, took me and stayed the whole time.

Something needed to Change! I coped with these feelings and emotions for an entire year and a half.  I ignored the issues, I didn’t want to believe that I had any mental problem. Even though I knew in my heart I wanted to love my child and feel that she loved me. We moved into a nice new home and some tension did ease up. But my miracle was my husband. If he had not made my appointment to talk to a doctor I don’t want to think of any other outcome. I never had any mental issues or anxiety before I got pregnant. Never took any medications or been diagnosed with any mental disease. Not to say it is lucky but my husband had seen other mental illness and recognized some symptoms and the main fact that I was not the girl he met. I knew also I was not the girl he met, and I was sick of feeling so negative. I am usually the positive, optimistic person, and I wanted her back! After he made the initial appointment and went with me to one other. Couple medications for a few months, reading, learning how to talk, and starting my outlet that has turned into a passion and career Bean Styled. I overcame Postpartum Depression even though my daughter was 2 years old before the serious part was over. Now very few negative episodes occur without getting back to my positive self. But that was only the beginning to beating postpartum. A real change came from the choice to live not only with a positive clean mental health but to contribute that to the body as well. In life we will always have downers and negatives. But how quickly we can bounce back and stay mentally positive depends on how healthy we are internally.

Life Style Change- 

 Now I learned the organic natural lifestyle at 17. When my dad shipped me out to my family in Seattle, Washington for the summer before my senior year in high school. I loved it so much I spent the college summer of 2004 out there as well for a college internship. I took a lot away from those summer’s as far has how to live healthy and the naturally fresh food available, organic farming and chemically processed foods. I was also introduced to Whole Foods, which I love! Seattle being one of this countries healthiest cities, I learned from the best. Although I was still like any other teenager and young adult who ate fast food, and college life of partying on the weekends. This is exactly what I realized needed to change. Even though I did eat healthy. I was not eating Clean or better known as Natural….

No GMO’s, No Soda, No Candy, Processed Foods/Fast Food. Once I made these changes and stuck to them without giving in. You can not explain to someone how good they will feel. To rid your body of all those unnatural chemicals just gives you so much more energy and better mental clarity.

Lifestyle change and exercise saved me from the weight, postpartum depression, and more importantly helped me connect with my baby. At the end of my pregnancy I ended up at an astonishing 201 lbs. Never in my life did I think my little frame could have ever held that much weight. Well, in all reality it could not. I couldn’t breath, I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes. To feel my stomach on my legs was so disgusting to me I could not even look at myself in the mirror for at least a year. People see the pictures now and say to me, that’s really you? Never was I so self-conscious about how I looked. I did not do my makeup, hair, nor did I get dressed up to anything even acceptable looking for a college class on your laziest day. Most women have a baby and it seems they lose the weight and have that great body they had before. Normally I could care less about what others looked liked. I always liked my body in a general sense and never felt the need to compete to look better than anyone. But when my best friend and I were pregnant at the same time and she shrinks right back down to her size 0 sexy before baby jeans! It is completely unfair and really made me feel like giving up and saying that mother-hood changes your body and forget getting it back. This was also the postpartum depression talking. Even had a roommate in college tell me I was too optimistic. Well, I will tell you right now you can never be to optimistic in life. It is what keeps you going, hoping and thriving for something new and exciting and believing anything can happen if you work hard enough.

A year later after having my daughter and gaining 76lbs during my pregnancy I was still at 145-150lbs. To do things you enjoy, having time for yourself, and to power the brain intellectually was just part of the cure for my postpartum. I was getting back to being more myself and was now able to have my mind right to stay positive and push myself to lose the weight.

The weight-loss

To have a positive mental attitude means the world in achieving success in whatever it is you do. Or Better yet, “Perspective Matters”. I became a health nut on the way our family was eating. More so than I had ever been before. It became extremely important to me what my daughter was consuming. This change in diet makes a positive impact mentally. I can’t explain how real unprocessed food can make you feel and just having more energy and mental clarity. You can really tell the more you stay away from processed sugar, the less you crave it. At this point I was bonding with my daughter, and it felt right. I felt like I was being the mom I knew was in me.  For a long time I held that against myself, but that is something you learn to let go of. Every new mom will have lessons and mistakes. I am just glad I had someone there to recognize I needed help.

It takes persistence and discipline but it can be done. I also now leave the treats to the holidays. Just realize this,  Birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Valentines day, weddings, etc. There are enough “cheat days” in the year you can get rid of them in your daily life. This has already benefited my child for she ask for tomato’s, salads, fruits, and people are just amazed. To us were not only proud parents, but glad it is her normal. Just with this change I seen 20lbs drop off within that next year. Now I must mention it had always been easy for me to drop weight. I could usually eat whatever I wanted and not worry much for I was extremely active. So having the weight come off so slowly made the depression linger for awhile. This is where I know the help of the medication and self-help reading material really came in handy. It also was a big wake up call saying you are now an adult woman and can no longer eat like a teenager. Suck it up Butter Cup! But with persistence, dedication, and discipline that I found thru exercise and feeling this great physically. It makes me want to keep up the lifestyle and not alter. Also I live a normal every day lifestyle. I can’t afford a Top 10 trainer and pay them for 3 workouts a day at $300 an hour. You want to know the “celebrity secret” there it is! Hard Work with someone pushing them all the way.

Put Her Right to Sleep. “White Noise*

I knew without physical fitness I would never firm up this body. The body of a Gymnast that was there. We bought bikes and a pull behind for the little one and we hit the trails in Charlotte, NC everyday during the Summer of 2011. I also really got into Kettle bells which are now my favorite exercise equipment of all time. That little ball of power can do amazing things to a woman’s body. The uneven distributed weight of the kettle bell makes it unique and can be used for an all over body workout right at home. I also rediscovered resistance bands and find that in my opinion every woman should own a few. Cost efficient and very effective.

So by October of 2011 almost 2 years after having my daughter, changing our lifestyle completely and adding physical activity every single day sometimes twice. I managed to get down to 130lbs. The day I stood on the scale and seen those numbers I had tears in my eyes. Only for a second before I jumped off, danced around and of course had to text my best friend a picture of the scale numbers. I also set a wedding date which became a huge self motivator to reach my goal of at least 120lbs.

 By February 2012 when my husband and I finally got married in Vegas on Valentines Day. I was at 113lbs my high school weight! My wedding dress was actually falling off on that day. But this bride was not complaining. I could not believe I did it. I reached my goal, I surpassed my own expectations and it felt Amazing. What was more important is how I felt inside. My confidence was back, I felt healthier than ever, I wanted to kiss and hold my child every second, and I was happy.

Today I feel healthy and have energy I need to get thru my day with the most energetic 4-year-old ever.

I have become dedicated to maintaining my health while also realizing you must do what you love in life. After having gone thru this journey in which I never thought I would have had to experience. I got back into an athletic lifestyle. I started coaching and am now a successful certified Personal Trainer. I do gain back a few pounds here and there, but you must not worry about the set backs. We are always going to have them. But what makes the difference is the positive attitude to tell yourself it’s okay, and I will be back on track tomorrow.

What I learned

To eat the most natural food and to not take the convenient fast food way of life. Also physical activity doesn’t stop after we graduate high school. If anything we need to become more active the older we get. I have to say I knew it would not be easy for someone to lose weight, but it was a lot harder than I had ever imagined. My weight loss journey may be somewhat unique to some, but it is more common than one thinks. For one, women that experience postpartum rarely talk about the thoughts, actions, feelings. No mother wants to be seen in that light of not loving or thoughts of hurting her own child. Secondly, to have postpartum and try to lose the weight is extremely hard! Not only are you depressed, overwhelmed, the motivation is just nonexistent. You are completely exhausted and have this new little life to take care of. Plus a baby that never stops crying. An times seems they have no reason to be crying. Everything a new mom goes thru times 10 when you have postpartum. I would really like to advocate a Postpartum Depression workout. Which I am working on and going to put up for women on Bean Styled.  Working out on top of my readings, writings, and doctors visits really helped physically and mentally. Postpartum women need to hear this message and start working out as hard as it is to get up and do so.

Exercising increases endorphins; feel good hormone and decreases the stress hormone cortisol. Exercising also said to increases Serotonin, in which can help contribute to being happier. You realize just how great that workout made you feel it makes you want to keep doing it over and over again. This is great for postpartum women and in my opinion was a huge part in helping myself realize the weight can and will come off while helping increase my mental positivity and overall health.  To think that exercise could help motivate those moms to not only feel better about themselves, but to connect with their babies is a cause I am personally speaking out for. This has become a personal platform for myself to help other moms going thru the same struggle.

I now enjoy very much being a stay at home mom working on growing my business. People trying to lose weight  need to know some one understands what they are going thru. That someone is there to push them when they cannot push themselves anymore.

Mothers Day 2013

So here is to having a husband who was understanding and got the ball rolling on recognizing and taking action when I could not. And to having discipline and sticking to a clean healthy lifestyle. Because without these changes I absolutely would not have the relationship and love I do for my daughter today.

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