Monday, January 12, 2015

MOM Kriste - Postpartum Depression, Part 2

Click here for PART 1

Just six weeks after Kriste welcomed her beautiful Alexander into the world, after an incredibly difficult labor and delivery, Alexander's father was deployed to Iraq with the Marine Corps.  That, coupled with the fact that Kriste was living in Hawaii, separated from all of her family, is what she believes greatly contributed to her Postpartum Depression.  She states "I cried. A lot. I had read that the 'baby blues' affected many women, so I assumed this was all it was. Then it never got better."

Kriste recalls a situation that happened with Alexander when he was less than a few months old:
"I was holding Alexander and holding my camera.  He swung his little arm and I dropped my camera and it broke.  I was livid.  I actually said, 'This baby ruins everything!'  That's not a typical response to have to this little being that you are nursing and holding 20 hours per day."  
 She says she was "resentful", "tired", and "so so so sad".
"I joined a baby and mama group and all of the other moms were holding their sleeping newborns, or softly rocking them in car seats while they talked.  I was missing out on the support and conversation because my child was screaming and I had to be walking around the yard...I remember believing that I would never get MY life back."
When Kriste went in to see her doctor for a checkup, she brought up the fact that she didn't think she should be feeling this way.  She was "a zombie" that day as her doctor, being a wonderful friend, tried to assure Kriste that being a mommy is exhausting and shared some of her own personal challenges.  Although Kriste says she had some great talks with her doctor, she was being more of a friend when she really needed a doctor.  Kriste returned three more times that year, in tears, before the worst of her postpartum depression symptoms hit:
"During the worse bout of PPD, I went back into my bedroom.  I was holding Alexander and I was sobbing.  I sat on the floor in front of the nightstand and I pulled a loaded gun out of the drawer. I held my baby in my left arm and the gun with my right hand.  It felt heavy. They both did. I cried and cried and finally put the gun away."
When Kriste saw her doctor at 9 months postpartum, she asked for anti-depressants, but was referred to a therapist instead and told she would be given medication if the therapy didn't help. Alexander's father returned from Iraq at this time and Kriste felt her mood was improving, so she only went to one therapy session.

Kriste says that her symptoms really started improving when Alexander was one:
"When I started to taper off from nursing, at one year postpartum, my mood elevated.  I didn't really notice that I was as sad any longer.  When I was completely finished nursing, my mood seemed to go back to it's normal state (except for the more typical mom craziness).  Of course I was still tired.  Of course I still had difficult days. Of course some days I felt like a failure, but that was all in the realm of 'normal' motherhood."
She nursed Alexander for 14 months while dealing with his intense lactose intolerance, being extremely careful with what she ate, and having to give Alexander medication daily per a pediatric gastroenterologist. To say Kriste is a trooper would be a vast understatement, yet her love for her little Alexander continued to grow so much, she sign up to do it all over again :)

Stay tuned as Kriste shares her second pregnancy with her daughter, and the preventative measures she took in regard to postpartum depression as her daughter's due date drew near.

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