“It will be the best experience of your life.” “You will never know love until you have a baby.” “It is instant, natural, best feeling.” This is what I was told and this was stuck in my head. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I was told it is the greatest/worst experience all in one. I began to wonder what that meant, the greatest love of life. What does that feel like? As my belly grew, so did my fear, “am I going to be good at this? Will he/she love me?” “How am I going to love someone so much?” Once I knew the gender of my son, I would obsess about what he would look like. I had a doula (which I highly recommend), she encouraged me to have meditation time daily and build a relationship with my son while he was in the womb. So nightly, I would lie on the floor in my room, put my feet up on my bed and talk to him. This became a nightly routine. My doula and I created a birthing plan and I was able to map out exactly what I wanted my delivery to look like. I discussed my fears often with my doula; she comforted me, encouraged me and offered amazing advice.

Health wise, my pregnancy was wonderful, I did struggle with my emotions when I was pregnant; everyone made me feel that it was normal “pregnancy hormones.” Around mid November, I started getting sick. I thought it was a cold, but the cold would not go away. I was told I had strep, I went to the doctor got on antibiotics and still my symptoms were not improving. The week of my due date, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was so swollen, I couldn’t breathe and I felt like I was dying. I called my doctor for the millionth time and was directed to go straight to the ER and get tests done. I found out I had pneumonia and was admitted medically. I had dislocated 4 ribs from coughing, ended up with preeclampsia and toxemia. My doctor encouraged me to think about a C-section. I was devastated to make that choice. I could barely move; I was in so much pain it was the only option I really had. So on December 16, 2016, my son arrived via C-Section. Everything happened so fast. My son was finally here and he was beautiful.

The night my son was born, all I could do was stare at him and cry. I felt so many emotions. I figured the surge of emotion was normal. I thought, “I just had a baby and I am so tired it will improve.” After a few days in the hospital, I was sent home and expected to know exactly what to do. Thank God, I have an amazing family who was there to offer help. My son’s father was able to help also. I made the choice to breastfeed (which is so HARD, but that is another story). This little human was completely dependent on me. When he cried, I did my best to console him. I would cry in frustration not knowing what to do or how to help him. These feelings began to become more intense. I had feelings of sadness, isolation, anxiety and all around panic. People would want to get pictures of me and the baby; I didn’t want anything to do with it. I saw a few comments on social media, “where is mommy?” Mommy was feeling like a complete failure and was an absolute mess. It got to the point that the thought of leaving the house caused me to panic and feel hysterical. I had to mentally prepare myself to get out and do the smallest tasks; going to my parent’s house to visit evoked fear. I snapped at the people I loved the most who were only trying to help me. I could not stand getting advice from anyone (I have learned and accepted a lot of moms think they are experts and have great advice). I could not pinpoint where these feelings were coming from but it was taking over my life. My son’s father would watch the baby so I could shower. I would stand there and cry, before I knew it he was knocking on the door telling me the baby is crying and he is hungry. I would feed him and cry. I could not stop crying. Everything felt extremely overwhelming. One day, I think I literally cried for 12 hours. I kept telling my son’s father, “I don’t feel right, I don’t feel connected to him; I am doing something wrong.” He tried to comfort me and nothing was working. After 6 weeks of this, he told me it was enough and I needed to get help. I am a mental health professional, how embarrassing to admit that I need help. I need medication. I need something because I cannot control me emotions. I wanted to continue breastfeeding and I was concerned about taking medications. I could not grasp that I was losing my mind. I had a come to Jesus moment, called the doctor and immediately was started on an antidepressant. I was encouraged to continue breastfeeding by my OBGYN and my son’s pediatrician. Within days, I started to feel better. It was a miracle.

Here I am, 9 months later, a happy and healthy breastfeeding mama. I work full time and have an incredible little boy who I love more than I could have ever imagined. The love that I feel for my son is the most indescribable feeling; I now know what all these moms talk about. Why am I sharing this? Because no one told me about this stuff! No one told me how isolating being a mom is. No one told me how overwhelming it is. No one wants to talk about it because it is taboo. But let me tell you, postpartum depression is so real; it is scary and hard to admit. If I can encourage one person to speak up then I did something right. Being a mother is the most amazing experience but there are no handbooks, no instructions, a lot of advice from other moms and a lot of unknowns. If you feel like something isn’t right, you feel sad or anxious for longer than a few days, talk to someone, call your doctor and know that you are an amazing mother. Postpartum depression doesn’t mean you are failing. It doesn’t mean you’re “crazy.” It means that your body has become unbalanced and it can be a simple fix. I promise you, asking for help is okay.

-Author, Amanda Glaros