KRISTIN SCHOENFELD: POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Before reading: Kristin describes the honest feelings of postpartum depression in hopes of encouraging other mothers struggling. Her son has never been in any danger. 

Before I got pregnant I knew that I would be at risk for post partum depression. I suffered from depression since about 16 years old and battled it off and on throughout the years. 

I had an easy pregnancy considering the stress I was going through. We had moved from Ontario to Nanaimo, British Columbia, we had to live with family and when we finally got into our own home, we had to start from scratch and get ready for our baby. 

Once he arrived in February, I didn’t realize you could fall in love with two people at once. I was overjoyed and I couldn’t believe he was mine! Once we brought him home that’s when things took a turn. 

I decided to breastfeed my son. I was up every 3 hours to nurse him; I slept when he slept, never ate, showered or could take care of the household. Everyone tells you to sleep when the baby sleeps but what people never realize is you are so exhausted. When I would get him down I would think “What do I do now? Sleep? Eat? Shower? Watch a show?” 

By the time he was 6 weeks old he was very colicky. I would just sit there rocking him while I cried. All I could think was “what did I do to deserve this?”. So many thoughts went through my head. I thought about giving him up for adoption or something. Just anything to get rid of him. I thought shaking him or harming him. I realized now that it was not me who was thinking these things. It was an illness. Rest assured I DID NOT or WILL NOT EVER harm him. I say those things because I want people to realize that postpartum depression is very real! So I quickly tried to push those thoughts out of my head. 

As the weeks went by, it became a bit easier. He wasn’t as fussy and was starting to reach milestones. He was still waking up at night, but somehow I was able to cope with the depression and lack of sleep. Often times I found myself crying over spilt milk (literally) and when my fiancé would come home I would try and find a reason for it. 

He’s now 11 months old and he’s crawling and somewhat walking. He’s the love of my life. We’ve had good days and bad days. There are many days I still think that I am not able to be a good mother to my son; that he doesn’t deserve me as a mother. He is no longer breastfeeding which is bittersweet but I also think is helping me with my depression. I still struggle. I cried earlier today and I’m not too sure why. It will be a battle I will fight for awhile.