Updated: Oct 18, 2021
“Your labor is not progressing. We have to do a C-Section.”
The words shattered all my dreams and expectations of a natural childbirth.
I had tried so hard to relax and open up in the hospital and it had not worked. I was stuck at 6 or 7 cm and just not comfortable in the hospital. In hindsight, it was a typical progression for a hospital birth. At the time it was traumatic. And it set off a series of unfortunate events that culminated in the person I am today.
I came out of Labor and Delivery feeling very sad.
When my baby and I were separated for 4 hours, I felt very angry and roller-coasted between the two feelings for the next year. Nursing got off to a bad start and took about two weeks to feel even partly comfortable. I spun into Postpartum Depression. I cried all the time. I lived in a half woken state. I thought about putting my baby in the oven. I hid the knives and then moved them again and again. I knew it was a bad idea to kill him, but the thoughts haunted me.
My family organized.
My mom got me breastfeeding help. She and my sister came over to help with the baby and take me out for lunch and shopping. My husband called La Leche League. He made me come back to work in our business, so I wouldn’t be unsupervised and tried to distract me. He called therapists and got me a physical. We started going to therapy as a family.
“Have you had thoughts of hurting your baby?”
“NO!” I lied. I thought they would separate me and my baby and probably hospitalize me. Whether or not this was true, it is what I believed. Separation would end our nursing relationship and THAT was the only thing going well. At that time, anti-depressants were untested on nursing mothers. I refused them, preferring to nurse. Over time, research has shown that not only are anti-depressants safe for breastfeeding, but regular exercise is shown to be as effective as drugs, in studies of nursing mothers.
My baby was a fussy baby who didn’t sleep.
He was a 2.9 in the “Colic Rule of 3″ which was still enough to rattle anyone. And holding him and nursing was the only way to soothe him. I thought if I could just keep nursing and get some sleep, I would be OK.
Then, I did what turned out to be a key piece in overcoming depression.
I joined a playgroup. When my baby was six months old, I met 4 women at La Leche League and we (very shyly) agreed to meet weekly. This, more than anything, pulled me out of the hole. By one year, I was still tired and angry, but sad only intermittently.
It was at that time, I was invited to be a La Leche League Leader. I started the application process and the rest is another story.