Lynne’s depression hit out of nowhere the night after her son Jack, was born. She was still in the hospital, after a 32-hour labor without three days of sleep. “Even though I am in a happy marriage, have a successful career, and understand my abilities,” says Lynne, “I felt completely overwhelmed and unable to cope.”
Lynne was terrified that she’d be unable to give Jack basic care, and had a huge level of anxiety. “At one point, my anxiety was so strong I couldn’t stand the physical sensation of Jack nursing,” says Lynne.
“I also had an overwhelming sense of grief, which was heightened during the evening hours,” explains Lynne. “I had a beautiful, perfect baby who I loved completely, and yet all I felt was sad.”Lynne has a long family history of depression and is actively involved in her sibling’s treatment, so she knew immediately what was happening. After her symptoms continued for more than two weeks, she sought treatment with a psychiatric nurse practitioner who specializes in post-partum issues and a counselor.
She took an antidepressant and saw her counselor for 18 months, then spent another six months slowing going off the medication.
Within days of taking the medication, she felt calmer and more like herself. “The talk therapy helped me put things in perspective and, ultimately, helped shape who I am as a parent,” says Lynne.
“I would not have recovered without the support of my husband,” explains Lynne. “He took me to doctor’s appointments, he assured me that I would be OK, and he pushed me not to give up on things he knew mattered to me (like breastfeeding). Most important, he told me constantly that he loved me and was proud of me. He also kept a sense of humor for both of us. He helped me see that things like a baby projectile pooping were not a disaster, but in fact pretty hilarious.”
Lynne has been completely well for more than two years. “Jack is now two and a half and a constant source of entertainment,” says Lynne. Because Lynne got treatment early on and her family supported her, she recovered quickly. “I got to know Jack, and I am able to fully experience the pure joy of being a mom,” says Lynne. “I’m so glad I got help and didn’t miss all the wonder of watching him grow.”