It was in the 90’s when I first learned about the term “Postpartum Depression”.
I remember watching this episode of a Talk Show entitled “Mel and Jay” in which they guested couples who have different Postpartum Depression experiences.
There were 3 couples who graced the show but the story shared by one of the couples really struck me that I still remember it up to this very moment.
The couple had been together for how many years but they did not manage to have a baby then because of some challenges they encountered.
Between the two of them, it was the wife who really wanted to conceive that’s why she was over the moon when she found out she was finally pregnant.
It was the fulfillment of her dreams that’s why she made her pregnancy experience the best for her and the baby.
She was super excited and her entire pregnancy was full of love and bliss.
During the entire 9 months of pregnancy, all she could imagine was that perfect moment of joy upon finally seeing her baby for the first time.
They waited for 8 long years for that miracle to happen so the soon-to-be-mom was expecting for nothing but a picture-perfect scene once she’s given birth to their precious angel.
She even shared, “I was imagining myself as the mother from that Johnson and Johnson’s commercial seeing her baby for the very first time.
I was preparing myself to cry out of overwhelming emotions.”
But what happened was the complete opposite!
As soon as their baby was brought in the room, the wife acted weird.
She refused to take her baby from the nurse who was excited to hand-over that little bundle of joy she was holding.
And to everyone’s surprise, she screamed and said, “Don’t get that baby near me! I don’t want to see her!”
Contrary to what she was expecting, there was no overwhelming emotions of love and happiness.
All she felt was that overwhelming anger towards her innocent newborn, which she could not explain.
She hated her daughter for no apparent reason so she did not enjoy the whole experience of being a new mother.
Too bad that emotion lasted for months and years that’s why she only established good relationship with her daughter after she recovered from Postpartum Depression.
So she felt like she missed on a lot of things.
Postpartum: My Early Knowledge
At first, I thought that Postpartum Depression was the result of an unhappy, unexpected, and unwanted pregnancy.
But after hearing that story, I learned that it doesn’t only happen to mothers who had bad experiences while still pregnant.
Instead, this could be experienced by anyone and there’s no specific cause.
I was still young at that time but I felt a little scared.
Because before seeing that episode, I also heard stories such as a dog eating her puppies due to Postpartum Depression and a woman killing her newborn because of the same reason.
Those stories were horrible and I did not want the same to happen to me.
Postpartum Depression stories were disturbing.
What I Anticipated
So fast forward to 2017 when I finally got pregnant.
It’s a given fact that I considered my pregnancy as one of the best and biggest blessings that I received from God since I’ve long prayed for that miracle.
I was literally the happiest woman in the world when I confirmed I was pregnant with Bleu.
However, for some reason, I could not take the thought of Postpartum Depression off my mind.
It still scared the hell out of me.
In fact, even during the early stages of my pregnancy, I asked the father of my child and my mother to not leave my side once I’ve given birth.
I requested them to keep an eye on me and always make sure that my baby and I would have company apart from each other.
Not that I didn’t trust myself but I just wanted to secure the safety of my baby against anything that I have no complete control over.
I prepared myself by reading ahead and doing some research.
And so I read that even though PPD is something that we could not control, we could make it less horrifying by involving our family and asking the needed support from them.
Perhaps the worst thing that could happen to any woman is go through the depression alone without realizing that she’s in fact suffering from this condition.
The Suspected Culprit
I am very thankful to God for not allowing bad things to happen post my delivery.
Everything turned out fine.
However, instead of Postpartum Depression, I experienced Postpartum Blues (or Baby Blues) as I started observing some things happening in me after giving birth which I could not explain.
At first, I thought it was just brought about by the stressful situation which we experienced while we were still in the hospital, involving the father of my child and the nature of his job.
During the last final stages of my pregnancy, the father of my child was having some concerns because his vacation was not approved (he’s a Police Officer).
I even started to entertain the risk of giving birth without him by my side because of that just so I could prepare myself for the worst case scenario.
It was emotionally draining and I could still remember how angry I was towards his superior who had been pressuring the father of my child to leave me, who’s about to give birth at any moment, just for the sake of having a complete team around him.
I was more than ballistic. I literally wanted to storm out and confront his superior, disregarding age and position, and ask him what his problem was.
But the father of my child did everything he could just to make sure that he would be there even if it would cause him his job, despite the threats that he was receiving throughout our stay in the hospital.
He was being charged of insubordination because he refused to leave his family during those critical times.
Any family would cry foul but we chose to remain civil.
But the father of my child remained adamant.
He did his best to balance the situation without putting any side at risk, especially our family.
Or perhaps my threat worked better, because I told the father of my child that if he would dare miss that life-changing event, I won’t allow Bleu to have his surname.
I’m not the type who would normally give threats but I believe the situation was calling for it.
Besides, I was trying to fight for my family’s right against someone who’s heartless and quite undeserving of any consideration.
Good thing his superior agreed to allow him to stay with us up until my scheduled discharge.
We checked into the hospital on Oct. 29th so my scheduled discharge was on Nov. 1st because it normally takes 4 days for a C-Section operation and recovery process to complete inside the hospital.
The police superior agreed to draw the final straw by making him commit that he would get back to work by Nov. 2nd.
So the father of my child would need to leave us as soon as we have reached home (because his travel takes more than 1 day to reach the island where he’s assigned).
It wasn’t ideal and I wasn’t completely happy with it but that’s the best bargain we had at that moment.
Unfortunately, after giving birth, I was advised to extend my stay at the hospital for 1 more day as per my OB’s order.
The father of my child could no longer afford to extend for another day because, otherwise, he would be facing some file charges against him if he won’t keep up with his commitment.
I was deeply frustrated with what’s happening at that time.
I cried multiple times while still trying to recover from a major operation.
At that time, I was really experiencing the struggles of having a LEO (Law Enforcement Officer) Partner.
In the end, it was my brother who brought us home when we got discharged because the father of my child already left the day before.
That was one of the most painful experiences we had as partners when we were still together.
However, the struggles continued because the father of my child was forbidden to come home for at least a month despite the fact that I just gave birth and that I needed him more than ever.
He got punished for his absences so we did not see each other for at least a month after he left us in the hospital.
That’s why he was not there when I experienced the heavy bleeding.
Thank God my mother and my best friend were there to save me!
I was seriously contemplating on sending President Duterte a letter of complaint against members of the Armed Forces who don’t have the heart for family.
With all due respect to the men in uniform, that “Bayan muna bago pamilya” line was the most stupid you could ever throw at me and no one should continue with this kind of mentality.
Because of our situation, I experienced crying almost every night.
There were so many things running in my head.
A lot of painful discourses.
It even came to a point when I was questioning my self-worth.
I somehow felt that my baby and I were not that important.
The unfortunate father of my child was at the receiving end of all my emotional outbursts.
I was picking fights almost everyday.
But all happened via phone since he was forbidden to come home.
I even suggested to end the relationship multiple times because I wasn’t fine with how our set-up has become.
I also couldn’t understand how he could afford to keep our family in that situation when, in fact, we had a lot of choices.
I wasn’t saying that he could easily give-up his profession for us (because I was very supportive of his dreams) but it’s just that I knew we won’t die if he would lose his job.
I always knew that it would get so hard considering the nature of his job, but I never thought that it would reach that point when he would be missing important milestones in our lives for the sake of someone who doesn’t deserve even an inch of consideration.
The First Sign
Bleu was delivered via C-Section, which was considered as a major operation.
So after giving birth, I was strictly restricted by the doctor to go up and down the stairs as part of my healing process.
I was only allowed to go down the stairs whenever Bleu and I would have an appointment with the doctor.
Since Bleu’s nursery was upstairs inside the master’s bedroom, I was forced to stay in that room for about 2 months or so up until I received a clearance from the doctor that I could already use the stairs.
My movements also became limited as there were so many things I was not allowed to do, which was a torture for me because I got so used to doing things on my own.
Thus, I am not used to heavily depending on someone to do something for me.
I always feel embarrassed whenever I’d have to.
My condition became even worse due to the fact that I experienced heavy bleeding which put my life at risk simply because I refused to follow what my doctor told me.
Imagine this, on the night when I just got discharged from the hospital, I’ve already violated the rule by moving furniture because I wanted to re-arrange the room.
Yes, I moved furniture and cleaned the room 3 days after giving birth via C-Section!
So the following events gave me a shock of my life when my doctor diagnosed my bleeding as a rare condition which is experienced by only 1 out of 300,000 women.
Just my luck!
After having an ultrasound, the doctor found out that my uterus was full of blood and she was clueless about where it was coming from.
She gave me 3 sets of antibiotics that I needed to take round the clock for 7 straight days in order to flush all the blood out, otherwise, I would have to be admitted to the hospital to undergo a procedure in order to do so.
Luckily, the antibiotics worked wonders and I received a very positive news during the following check-up.
However, as a result, I became more conscious about my movements.
It became even more limited because I didn’t want to go through the same painful experience again.
Because of that, I started feeling useless because I needed to be overly dependent to my mom.
I was doing everything for Bleu while my mom attended to my needs.
There were times when I would cry before going to sleep because I felt as if I was becoming such a burden to them although they were not complaining.
I just did not like the thought of me giving them additional work.
Both the father of my child and my mom would always encourage me to tell them openly if there’s any help that I needed from them, but for some reason, I would always feel uncomfortable doing so.
And I would still cry at night feeling useless.
It was very weird.
No Visitors, Please!
At least most of the moms I know would always feel excited about inviting and welcoming visitors at home after giving birth to let their little ones meet the rest of the family.
But my case was the opposite.
I felt overly lazy about inviting friends and extended family members over to our house to introduce Bleu to them.
I would rather spend the whole day alone with my baby than entertain guests and have real conversations with anyone apart from the father of my child and my mom.
The only thing which allowed me to remain interactive was my Facebook account as I became fond of posting updates and pictures of Bleu, thus, allowing me to exchange notes with other people.
I noticed that although I was very responsive and interactive online, I was still uninterested in interacting with other people in person.
It took me about 3 months before I started opening our house again for guests.
Since that feeling was very strange to me (because I always love inviting friends and family over), I tried to analyze how I was feeling during that time.
Was I mad with anyone? No.
Was I feeling insecure with the way I looked after giving birth? No.
Did I want to exclude myself from the crowd? Maybe.
Then I realized that it’s because I wanted to have some quiet moments with my baby.
It was the time when I was still developing a routine with Bleu that’s why I thought that any unusual event would definitely disrupt the process, especially since I was exclusively pumping milk for her and I was doing it round the clock.
The first 2 months of doing exclusively pumping (with occasional direct latching), was very challenging, painful, stressful, and excruciating for me.
I needed to endure a lot of pain before I started to understand Bleu’s behavior.
Perhaps, the number one reason as to why I did not want to introduce Bleu to anyone else at that time was due to the fact that even I didn’t know her 100%.
So I wanted to spend a lot of time with her alone in order for me to get to know her fully.
Uncertain About the Future
I started planning and earning for my future family as soon as I started working in 2003.
At first, I thought I would become a mother when I reached my 27th year that’s why I also started investing early on.
So when I reached my 32nd year and I still haven’t achieved my goal of becoming a mother, I was convinced that I was more than ready financially.
I gave birth to Bleu when I was 36 years old so there’s no doubt that I should have established myself financially even more.
However, I experienced the most challenging first month of Motherhood that’s why I started worrying about losing my ability to balance everything.
My employer allowed me to have 120 days of Maternity Leave so I should have more time to recover and prepare before I go back to work.
But I feared because I felt that I was falling behind my timeline.
I thought that it would take so much time for me to adjust.
Also, I couldn’t see myself going back to work and leaving my baby behind.
I even entertained the thought of resigning and just staying at home to take care of Bleu.
But I knew that it’s a decision that would be so much difficult to make, considering that my job is my bread and butter.
I did not have a choice but continue working in order to sustain our living so I would really need to go back to work, which also meant that I would need to hand-over the care of my baby to someone else other than myself.
Those thoughts bothered me a lot.
They made me feel a little depressed because my heart did not want me to take that route.
However, reality was telling me that there’s no other way.
There were nights when I could not sleep although Bleu was already asleep because I was bothered by so many things.
I became uncertain about the succeeding days.
So many “what-if” scenarios clouded my head.
What if I could not manage my family or my career?
What if I get sick? Who would take care of Bleu?
What if the house gets completely messy? Who would maintain it?
What if our everyday expenses get really costly? Could I still effectively manage our finances?
And a whole lot more!
I was just surprised because before getting pregnant, I already anticipated and thought of those what-if scenarios so I thought I have prepared myself well.
However, things tend to turn completely different once you’re actually and already there.
The Unexpected Challenge
When I was still pregnant, I would always think about the worst case scenario about having that Postpartum Depression.
I imagined myself going through each scenario, from the mildest up to the most horrifying.
And each time, I would think of ways on how to keep my sanity intact just so I won’t end up with anything tragic.
Of course, I also prayed a lot and asked help from God.
And just when I thought that I had imagined all the possible scenarios, there’s still one thing I never imagined would make me feel sad.
I realized that I won’t be able to leave the house for more than 2 hours because my baby would need to be fed.
We restricted ourselves from taking Bleu outside of the house during her first 6 months for health reasons (except, of course, when we needed to bring her to her Pedia for the monthly check-up).
And even though we did not decide for that, I did not think that I would be able to bring Bleu with me when I leave the house because I feel extremely stressed out and uncomfortable whenever I would need to do so.
At first I thought it would be easy to do that.
I would just need to bring a nursing cover and we should be good.
Similar to what I would see other mothers are doing.
However, for some strange reasons, things won’t turn out as easy as they would seem to me.
That’s why now I feel so impressed whenever I’d see parents tagging along their almost newborn baby when they go to the mall.
Impressed not because they expose their babies to germs and sickness, but with the way they handle the stress of strolling around with a super delicate family member.
When I was younger, I was so patient and had a much higher tolerance to any inconvenience.
But when I started working in the Customer Service field, my level of patience had significantly dropped, especially when I believe that I deserved to be treated better than I was.
This was driven by the fact that once you started learning the art of Customer Service, you also tend to have higher expectations around the quality of service that you’re getting.
However, I lost it even more after experiencing child birth.
I easily get irritated even by the simplest mistakes.
And when I get frustrated, I easily cry without holding back.
But not everyone witnesses this (except for some occasional meltdowns over the phone when some service providers failed to meet my expectations), because the favorite victim of my emotional outbursts had always been the father of my child.
And it has gotten so weird because I would miss him so bad whenever he’s away, but my mood changes drastically as soon as he’s with me.
There were times even when I requested him not to come home anymore because I did not want to see him (because he had also repeatedly cancel his trip home at the last minute).
My analysis? I believe that it’s because I’m still traumatized by his long absence during the first few weeks of my Postpartum when I needed him most.
I really thought that our relationship won’t survive.
I was ready to move on with Bleu alone.
Fortunately, the father of my child chose to be the stronger person between the two of us.
He did not stop loving and understanding me while enduring every bit of that sharp treatment I was giving him for the longest time.
It was another difficult test of relationship which we were able to overcome.
Eventually, I just learned to endure the pains brought about by the type of family we have.
I also recognized the fact that not all families have the usual and ideal set-up.
We just needed to work things out and fight for it as long as we love each other.
I chose to understand him and continue to support him although it wasn’t making any sense any more.
Besides, we’re not the only family in the world which is experiencing some challenges.
For all I know, it’s not even half the issue which some other families out there are experiencing.
So, I’d rather focus on the good points.
I guess apart from the melodramatic side of things that happened between the father of my child and I after giving birth, there were also some ridiculous episodes like this one time when I suspected him of meeting another woman simply because he took a bath before leaving the house.
While I was busy taking care of Bleu one weekend afternoon, he told me that he would need to go out of the house to get his laptop (which he brought to the repair shop days ago).
He said I should not worry because it would only be quick.
I was 100% fine with that because I was well-aware that he needed his laptop to submit his pending reports.
However, after seeing him taking a shower and wearing some decent clothes, I suddenly felt heavy that’s why I treated him cold when he kissed goodbye.
He immediately sensed that there was a problem that’s why he asked me.
That’s when we started to argue because I was blatantly accusing him of meeting another woman.
He was surprised with my reaction and he was in between laughing it out and getting angry.
We argued for a good 15 minutes in which he exhausted all the patience he’s got just to re-assure me that there’s nothing to be mad about.
In the end, he was not able to convince me and he ended up storming out to get his laptop anyhow because our argument was becoming pointless and ridiculous.
And when he left, I immediately came back to my senses and realized how ridiculously I reacted.
Good thing that I was able to prepare him for such scenarios because when I was still pregnant, I was able to warn him about the worst things to come.
I sometimes wonder where he’s getting all his patience from.
But wherever it is, he deserves a kudos for keeping up with someone like me.
The Birth of “Piece of Mind” Thought Blog
Well, I know that my Postpartum Blues were not even close to how bad and horrible other moms have experienced, but for sure, nobody won’t consider my Postpartum experience as an easy-breezy one.
I believe that had I not discovered a solution to keep my mind occupied at all times, my Postpartum Blues would have escalated into a more serious condition such as Postpartum Depression.
I’m thankful that I was able to realize and admit to myself that I was, in fact, having some Postpartum issues early in the game.
Happy that I did not completely lose myself in the process (or so I hope…LOL!)
Since I figured that most of these challenges were all triggered by my thoughts such as:
- hurtful emotional experience during child birth
- fear of becoming useless because my movements became limited
- worry of not knowing my baby well enough
- feeling that my world has become smaller because of my baby
- thinking that people around me would lose their loyalty
I though of one possible solution in order to avoid these things from bugging my head.
I needed to keep my head occupied with some other thoughts to bump-off the negative ones.
I should keep my mind busy.
“I should learn a new skill!”, I thought.
A skill that would interest me and require me to do a lot of reading and practice.
Something that I have zero knowledge about so I would start from scratch, therefore, would require so much of my attention and keep my mind off any pressure brought about by becoming a new mom.
Anyway, I had some idle time when pumping for milk so it would be best if I could keep myself entertained while doing it.
Something that would make my idle moments more productive.
And so I thought about building a website even though I don’t have even a basic background in programming and web hosting.
This explains the simplicity of this site.
I just use the basic stuff to keep things less complicated.
I started to do some reading and researching on the “How-Tos” until I found myself creating my own domain and designing my own page.
That’s how this website got created.
It was a mere product of successfully distracting myself to counter the threat of a more serious Postpartum dilemma.
I named this site “Piece of Mind” after playing along with titles that would best describe the history of what pushed me to create this website in the first place:
— PURPOSE: To have a peace of mind
— OFFERING: A piece of what’s in my head
This Is Just the Beginning
My baby’s already 8 months old and I believe I have already recovered from the Postpartum Blues (*crossing fingers*), though I still have those emotional outbursts every now and then and I still pick fights with the father of my child (which I consider as pretty normal in every relationship).
Building, hosting, and maintaining this website has helped me a lot in keeping my mind off the unnecessary gloom so, therefore, I have decided to continue filling this up with contents as my work repository.
I like writing, sharing stories, creating and editing home videos, and discussing about anything under the sun anyway so I think this solution would be perfect for me.
And I hope that anyone who would read this and visit this website would find a good company in its contents.
So as this website grows, I also have created an official Facebook Page to serve as my site’s Content Roadmap and catalog.
You may visit and like my official Facebook Page here: Piece of Mind.
How about you? What was your Postpartum experience like?
What is that one thing which you could call as the product of your Postpartum Blues or Depression?