Scared …

01/19/2011 at 9:13 am | Posted in PPD | 39 Comments
Tags: , ,

… to write this post.

… that these words will worry my family and friends, so many of whom read this blog.

… of revealing too much about myself. (I know it makes no sense. I’m a blogger, so I should be perfectly comfortable plastering my life on a billboard, right? Not so much. I’m actually a very private person. Who tends to gloss over the tough stuff on this blog and gets twitchy writing  about something not-so-swell).

… of depression and anxiety. Again. But this time, while pregnant.

… of the fact that I often feel sad, angry, anxious. Way too often.

… of the intrusive thoughts that have crept back into my brain.

… of the crying.

… that sometimes I don’t want to do anything more than sit. Just sit.

… that I have a hard time enjoying so many of my favorite things.

… that simple tasks, like a trip to Target, completely exhaust me.

… that feeling this way is hurting my husband and my daughter and the teensy little life baking in my belly.


I got help.

And I’m starting to feel better. Just a little bit. But it counts.

One of the positive outcomes of my postpartum depression was the wonderful network of people and resources that built up around me and stands ready. Doctors, psychiatrists, therapists, fellow “warrior moms,” my family, my friends.

My village.

So it was a no-brainer to turn to them when things got bad.

I waited longer than I should have to get help because I really believed that once my physical health improved, my mental health would follow suit. But even though I don’t spend a lot of time hugging the toilet anymore, my mood seemed to be getting worse. My anxiety deepening.

A very small part of me fears that I’m jumping the gun by saying out loud that I’m suffering from depression and anxiety. Like it’s just hormones. Or something to be expected while pregnant (and I should just suck it up).

But really. I remember what this feels like, and it’s real.

Before baby, after baby, whenever. It’s real.

I started medication last week, and I’m scared of this little pill. But hopeful. Because I’ve done my research, gotten a zillion trusted medical opinions and discussed it with Marc. The benefits outweigh the (rare) risks. And it might even help prevent the onset of postpartum depression after the baby is born. Wouldn’t that be a small miracle?

I’m also in counseling and have a wonderful relationship with my OB.

I reached out. I took care of myself. And I’m already starting to feel better.

Clearer-headed. Much less likely to cry. A little lighter (despite the fact that this medicine has caused my nausea to make a comeback).

So why publish this post? Why risk so many people knowing these intimate details of my life?

Because if there is even one new mom or mom-to-be who might be reading this, who might be feeling the same way, and who might, as a result, get help, it will be worth it. A million times over.

Also. Because one of the biggest lessons I learned through my experience with PPD and the one thing I hold onto is that it WILL get better.

It will.



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  1. So proud of you and so moved that you were strong enough to share with all of us.
    Sending you lots of hugs and lots of strength.
    Hugs my friend.

  2. I know it’s scary and sucky – I just went through the same thing with my last pregnancy about a year ago now, and am in the midst of post-partum.

    You’ll get through to the other side…and be amazed again at yourself. It’ll be okay. Hang in there!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing yourself.

    I have PPD and my son is now 11 months old. I got help when I realized (right before my 6-week post-partum check-up) that my experience of changing hormones and mood swings that I had with my 1st son were NOTHING like what I was experiencing after the birth of my 2nd son.

    It is real. People who have not experienced it do not understand how real it is. It is insulting for someone to suggest that it’s normal, or just hormonal.

    It is real… and you should be VERY proud that you are getting help.

    Just last month I finally found a medication that I believe is the one I should stay on.

    You can read some of my PPD journey on my blog.

    But thank you so much for sharing. And also I wanted to let you knwo that there are other people who are dealing with the same thing, and you are not alone. At all. I understand your pain and anxiety.

  4. xoxoxo

  5. You are so brave and generous in spirit to share your story. Being selfless enough to put a face with the experience will help countelss others recognize themselves in your words and realize that its okay to be depressed, okay to need help, and that it will get better. Looking back, I can see that after the birth of our 2nd child I totally had PPD and when we relocated 5 years ago ~ I walked through the darkest days I’ve ever known for 6 months before I realized I was depressed and needed help. It was temporary, I know what it feels like, and wouldn’t hesistate to get help again some day if an earthquake in my soul made it necessary. You are a beacon of light and hope today and prayers your way that each new day will buoy your heart to be full and content, capable and calm, alive =)

  6. Oh hi love, this was me 14 days ago exactly. Down to the panic about the pill and the “I’m sure once I feel better I’ll feeeeeel better.”

    You are not alone.

    But thank you for speaking up so I don’t have to feel alone either. xo

  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Katherine Stone, Molly Gold, Emily, Erin Lane and others. Erin Lane said: I am so proud of my friend for sharing. RT @pretty_swell Scared: #ppd #depression #pregnancy […]

  8. I know there are several moms dealing with anxiety and depression during their pregnancy on Band Back Together too (@bandback2gether) I’m sure they would love connecting as well. Such a brave post, dear. You are absolutely NOT alone.


  9. Oh, honey. I’m SO glad you chose to hit publish. This time last year, I was 21-weeks pregnant and struggling with antenatal depression. I finally broke down to my OB and therapist and it was the best thing I could have done. I took a small dose of antidepressants while pregnant and continued seeing my therapist on a weekly basis. The support I received was AMAZING.

    I really don’t like the fact that people think a pregnant woman has to be glowing and happy the whole time she’s awaiting her baby’s arrival. You know what? Being pregnant is wonderful but it’s also STRESSFUL. There are so many things that can build up and sometimes it’s not just hormones.

    This time last year I was in a truly bad place. But come May, when I met my baby and looked into his eyes for the first time . . . it was love. It was bliss. It was peace. The only way that can happen is if you admit something is not right and FIX IT before the baby comes.

    Think about posting this on Band Back Together. There is a spot for those with antenatal depression.

    Hugs, hon. You’re on the path to recovery.

  10. So very proud of you for not staying silent. I truly admire your courage and know that this will help other people. You are an amazing person.

  11. I thought I couldn’t adore you more until this post.

    I’m so proud to call someone so strong & beautiful & brave as my friend.

    What an amazing momma you truly are.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I too have felt super anxious this time around. Partly because I am nervous, but partly because I do think it is somewhat natural when you have the 2nd. There are so many fears and whatifs this time based not on the unknown, but the memories of some really dark days. Sure it will be different. And that IS comforting but still scary. Having support is crucial. I am proud of you.

  13. Thank you for sharing! Prayers & strength!

  14. Sending you giant loads of love.

  15. You are brave (braver than you think) and I am 100% sure you will find all the happines that seems so elusive right now. Keep counting on your network and don’t forget that we are part of it. All your bloggy friends love you and are here for you to support you and encourage you every time you need us. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you. You can reach out any time (day or night). I mean it. For now, I will be here sending you good energies & thinking about you. Love you lots!

  16. I don’t know from experience but I applaud your bravery in coming out & being proactive. Thanks for sharing & how awesome to have such a supportive online community of women here for you. Hugs to you!

  17. Very brave post. I remember feeling anxious and depressed while I was pregnant and crying a lot. I wish I didn’t suffer through that but I thought it was “normal.” Good for you for getting help. No reason to suffer!

  18. Im so proud of you, Suzanne!!

  19. that you have to go through this makes my heart hurt.
    that you are brave enough to let us in on your journey makes my heart smile. Really.

    thank you. you are so absolutely wise. It will get better.

  20. “I reached out. I took care of myself” So many are afraid to do this. Very brave of you to share simply because you care. And yes, it’s worth it if it helps just one woman.

  21. Suzanne–You are so strong, and brave. You were a beacon of hope to moms before, and even more so now. I’m sending you lots of love and good wishes. xoxo

  22. Oh no. I am so here for you my dear friend. Never ever should you feel alone in this and I am beyond proud of you for asking for help. That’s always the hardest part. So proud of you. Know I’m thinking of you. Warm hugs momma

  23. “But really. I remember what this feels like, and it’s real.

    Before baby, after baby, whenever. It’s real.”

    You are SO STRONG! Way to go, Mama. I am so proud of you! And for what it’s worth, this has been a fully medicated pregnancy for me because, really? It’s real.

    Love and support to you from your “village”.

  24. Dad and I read your blog together and want you to know that we’re incredibly proud of you. Your gift of writing is remarkable, but your courage is even more so. From the numerous comments posted today, it’s evident that you’re a source of inspiration and affirmation for other new “warrior” moms. In your darkest moments, just glance at Small Fry and know deep inside what an awesome mother you truly are. We love you and are here for you ALWAYS!

  25. I love you San! As always, you’re such a good teacher and guide. Thank you for being real. We’re lucky to have you in our lives!

  26. What grace, beauty, strength, and courage you show so many through your written word and actions. I’m proud to know you and proud of you for doing what you needed to do. Getting help was a smart move… writing about it was selfless and brilliant! Hang in there. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Jean Anne

  27. Holding you in my thoughts and prayers. Hang in there, sweetie.

  28. No insight to give, just love!!

    You are a great inspiration and live in your truth….thanks for sharing!


  29. You’re so awesome and COURAGEOUS for not only writing out these words but hitting publish too. Not everyone can do that, ya know. I’m so happy that you saw the signs and got help. Again, it’s not something everyone can do. Big hugs to you (and I think it’s so darn sweet that your parents commented). 🙂

  30. Suzanne,

    Now is a good time to take a look at your life’s map, find a better route, and move forward in the direction of the good things in your future. You are an inspiration to so-o-o many! Love You, Aunt Maureen

  31. Brave post. Bravo! I’m still dealing with PPD and my son is 2 1/2. We’ve put off another pregnancy because I’m not ready, and I’m terrified about what to do about medication in that scenario. So thank you for sharing this story. I know how it feels to put it out there because I’ve recently done that too. It’s helping me (and others, I think) and I hope this helps you too.

  32. hugs

  33. Thanks for writing about this. I hope you are feeling better soon!

  34. i definitely count myself among your inspired and eternally grateful readers. what you wrote is every fear i have about getting pregnant again, and i’m not even pregnant yet! your courage, humor, openness and vulnerability are exactly what i admire so very much about you. you were certainly an inspiration for me to fnd my own outlet and voice to get through my PPD, and i’m grateful for it every day.

    someone told me once during my darker days that caring and worrying so much was part of what made me a great mother.

    hope things are continuing to be a bit smoother. 🙂

  35. Love you and admire you. Always have, always will. xo

  36. […] 18. Suzanne Stanard, Pretty Swell, Scared […]

  37. […] 18. Suzanne Stanard, Pretty Swell, Scared […]

  38. […] Pretty Swell blog on becoming pregnant after postpartum depression, and what happened next […]

  39. I am reading this 18 months after you first posted it, and I want to say thank you for doing it. As a mother to an almost-one year old I’m still struggling with PPD though things have been looking up for me, with the help of my psychologist, doctor and of course my loving husband.

    The thought of having a second child fills me with all kinds of emotions that I can’t make sense of. I want my son to have a sibling but I don’t know if I can cope. With pregnancy, with life with a newborn, with the PPD if it comes back. I am so scared.

    But your post has given me the confidence to prepare for it, should I decide to do it again. I’m not ready yet but I know there are other women out there who feel the same as me, and have gotten through it!

    So thank you Suzanne.

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