A mum-of-four was shocked to discover that, after giving birth to baby number three, she suffered from postpartum depression for the first time ever.
Blogger Liz Petrone struggled with postpartum depression and is sharing her story so mums know that this debilitating condition can strike at any time, and not just with the first baby.
To mark National Postpartum Depression Awareness month, Liz took to Facebook to share her story.
Sharing a beautiful candid black and white shot of her newborn baby, Liz explains that after the birth she ‘became flatter and duller’.
‘I was tired all the time, sure, but this was that bone aching tired that sleep doesn’t come close to touching.’
The new mum admitted that she was anxious too, and terrified that she was ‘screwing up’. She went on to say: ‘The thoughts started to creep in, uninvited, from the edges of darkness – maybe they’d be better off without me’.
Liz goes on to say: ‘Here’s what I know now, that I didn’t know then: this is a lie the sickness tells you. They will never, ever, EVER be better off without you.’
Even though Liz went to see her doctor for help, she was dismissed and didn’t get the support she so desperately needed.
‘I asked my doctor at the time: “could this be postpartum depression? After my third kid? Does that even happen?” (Here’s what I know now, that I didn’t know then: it does happen.)’
‘I said: “But it’s been months since she was born. Can you get PPD months later?” (Here’s what I know now, that I didn’t know then: you can.)’
Liz went on to explain how the doctor said: ‘I’m not sure what you want me to do here. I’m not a psychologist.’
Eventually the doctor prescribed her antidepressants, which Liz says saved her life. She goes on to say: ‘I didn’t know. [my partner] didn’t know either. We had had two children already and we thought the third would be easy.
‘I’d been pregnant three times, was raising three little kids. Advice, some solicited and most not, was heaped up around my feet by seemingly everyone we passed in the street, but this? NO ONE TOLD ME.’
Postpartum depression was something neither Liz nor her family had faced before: ‘No one said I could love my baby so much and still wonder if I had made a huge mistake.
‘No one told me I would spend my evenings, after everyone else had gone to bed, lifting her sleeping form from her crib and just holding her against me, resting my weeping head in her nest of curls, whispering, ‘I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.’
Now, Liz wants mums to raise their voices, to ask for help and to support other mums: ‘We need to raise our voices. We need to tell our stories…And we need to keep talking, even when we don’t want to, even when it’s unsightly or embarrassing or uncomfortable.’
‘Because here’s what I know now, that I didn’t know then: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Not even close.’