These number are unfortunate, but what is more heartbreaking is that it is estimated that these are only half of what they actually are.
-20% of women get Prenatal depression/anxiety
-20% get Postpartum depression
-20% of all deaths that occur during the Postpartum period are caused by suicide
-10% get Perinatal panic disorder
-10% get Perinatal OCD
-10% get Postpartum PTSD
This is Taylor's story...
"I found out I was pregnant on Dec. 31, 2006. My husband and I didn't particularly want children, so it was obviously unplanned. But we were both 29 and had good jobs so I said I guess we're doing this. I tried to talk myself into being excited but I couldn't. My mom about fell down the stairs when I called her and told her, but I just couldn't get there. I had 3 baby showers and each one left me feeling worse. I would think ‘What am I supposed to do with all this plastic crap? I don't have room for it.’ And ‘what do you mean I have to wash these new clothes in special detergent? They're new. Aren't they, by definition, clean?’. And then the guilt set in. Why couldn't I be gratefull? I just couldn't. My whole pregnancy went like this and it was just one “annoyance” after another. I went into labor early and delivered at 37 weeks, which was fine with me. I had a C-section because he was showing distress and ended up going to the NICU. All of which was still totally fine with me. “At least I don't have a huge vaginal tear and at least I can sleep while the nurses in the NICU take care of him”. Who thinks like that?!?!
Me. Someone experiencing a perinatal mood disorder, that's who.
I had a brief reprieve for about 2 weeks following delivery and then reality hit. I wasn't crying all the time or feeling like I wanted to drive us into a lake or anything, but I was nowhere near happy either. I couldn't figure out how to do things like go to Target and Home Depot in the same day. Daily tasks, that I used to not think twice about, completely overwhelmed me. I couldn't make a plan or a decision to save my life and I had previously been very much a type A/planner/decision maker. I could NOT get my shit together which then upset me even more and led to more irrational thoughts. I would tell myself it was ALWAYS going to be this hard and I would NEVER get back to normal. I became more and more resentful of everything he needed and then felt more and more guilty for feeling resentful. As time went on, my resentment turned to feelings of incompetence. I'd try to talk myself out of feeling resentful just to then be convinced I couldn't do it even if I wanted to. It was an out of control spiral that lasted over a year. I never sought treatment and I really don't know why other than I never identified it as postpartum depression. It started during my pregnancy so how could it be that? I am a nurse and didn't even know depression DURING pregnancy was a thing! It is most certainly a thing. My husband knew it but didn't call me out. To this day I don't know why.
Fast forward 3 years to my 2nd pregnancy. This time it was planned and I didn't have prenatal depression. But the postpartum depression hit hard. Same debilitating anxiety like symptoms, although I will say I was also sad with this one. Constant feelings of failure and sadness. What little of myself was left felt completely gone. When my 2nd son was 2 months old I left him in his crib during a crying fit and called my mom to come over because I had to get out. I was still on maternity leave and my older son was at daycare, so I left my house.
Before she got there.
Now granted, she lived 2 miles away and I had talked to her and knew she was able to come over. But still, people, I freaking left him before she got there!!!! Not ok. My husband was PISSED. He didn't trust me after that, and was basically like “listen crazy lady, get your ass to the doctor and get some help because I'm not doing this for a year again”. So his blunt statement caught my attention. I knew then that I wasn't above it and I wasn't going to beat it on my own. So I got help and it got better.
Now before you comment on his blunt statement, my husband knows me well. And knows HOW I need to hear things. This is how I needed to hear that I was not okay.
I do feel like I missed out on time with them as babies but theres nothing I can do about that now. I'm not going to allow that guilt to take away from overcoming it and detract from the parent that I am today. The Postpartum depression I experienced doesn't define me as a mother. I am more that what I feel it took away. I am MORE because of it."