I reached out again to our Facebook fans to see if anyone wanted to share their story of postpartum depression after treatment for infertility, and was so pleased to receive the following story from the blogger at a.k.a. mrs. X. Going through infertility treatments has been shown to be a risk factor for PPD, so it’s important to share stories like these …
Pull up a chair, pour yourself a glass and I’ll tell you about what I consider to be one of the more nasty secrets about infertility: the shame of having postpartum depression after you’ve worked for five years to have the baby.
I’ve written before that while I was trying to have a baby, I was very focused on actually having the baby. I was not concerned with what happened once the baby arrived. Either I didn’t believe that there would be a baby or I didn’t want to jinx the run of good luck that got me pregnant and cooking said baby. So, no thought whatsoever was given to the postpartum period of life.
And then, I had the baby, the wailing, lung-strong, hungry, tired baby. The (very normal) baby who woke us in the middle of the night with his fire alarm screams, who spit up on every non-washable surface, who was like the crazy roommate that you question your sanity for inviting into the house. I felt like I had the world’s worst case of buyer’s remorse but I couldn’t tell anyone about it because I had done just about everything possible to (literally) buy this bundle of joy.
There were many times in those first few months when I wanted to give him back – back to whom I couldn’t articulate. I just wanted to return him, say “Sorry, made a mistake, lost the receipt, please take him back, he’ll be so much more happy elsewhere,” and we’ll go back to our regularly scheduled programming. I would feel terrible for having these thoughts, and then feel doubly terrible because I had wanted this experience so badly. Talk about a vicious cycle. Bad thought, bad thought for having the bad thought, rinse and repeat.
It never occurred to me at that time that having been through infertility I would be more prone to having postpartum depression. If I even began to think about having PPD, I quickly concluded that I wasn’t allowed to have postpartum depression after infertility. Yes, I wasn’t allowed because I had begged to be a mother. Rex wasn’t an oops or even a timely planned baby. He was way overdue by the time he did arrive, so much that I was afraid he wasn’t going to show at all. So how on earth could I then have the feelings that I was having? This could not be a rational world where I was allowed to have these thoughts and not be utterly ungrateful.
It took me a long time to recognize that I wasn’t ungrateful for having Rex. I was normal. I was a normal new first time mom who had been through the wringer for longer than recommended and was still trying to find that new comfort zone. And, I had postpartum depression. And the PPD was treatable.
I’m so much better now. There were so many moms who told me that it would get better and I thought, “maybe for you!” but they were right. It got so much better. I really enjoy being a mom now and I think I’m pretty darned good at it, too.