My name is Jen Schwartz, and I’m a medicated mommy. Yes, I take antidepressants as a result of suffering from postpartum depression when my son was born. Two days after arriving home from the hospital as a new mom, I realized something was very wrong. I began to wish for a reason, any reason at all that would take me back to the hospital where others could take care of me and I wouldn’t have to take care of my new baby. I started crying all the time, became paralyzed by anxiety and wanted to stay in bed and sleep forever. I didn’t want to be a mom. I couldn’t take care of a baby. I thought I made a terrible mistake.
Three weeks into motherhood, I still didn’t believe I would ever get better, but with the support of my husband and family, I found a therapist specializing in postpartum depression and began taking the right combination of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. To my neighbors, I was just the lady walking laps around the block while sobbing on the phone to my mom because moving around calmed the anxiety. I tried to go through the motions of bonding with my baby with help from my husband. At five months, I took my first solo outing with my son and by month six, I spent even more time with him and I started to see my old self again. I began to socialize and exercise again too. Most importantly, I smiled and laughed more. Finally, at a year, surrounded by friends and family, I looked around at my son’s first birthday party and said to myself: “I got this. I’m his mom. I love him, I can do this, and I’m happy.”
Rather than feel guilt or shame for having postpartum depression, I choose to celebrate my recovery. My son recently turned 3 and I love being his mommy. I may be a medicated one, but I’m also a fighter and a survivor. Here are nine reasons I’m grateful for my year-long battle with postpartum depression.
1. I realized my own strength.