Mary shares her story of coping with a postpartum mood disorder and how she learned to take care of herself

 

“I finally felt like a mother”

 

By Mary McBride
For as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mom. In the fall of 2010, just three months after my wedding day, my dreams became a reality when I became pregnant.

Nine months, an induction, 36 hours of labor and a C-section later, my son Riley was born. I had become a mother! After the anesthetics had worn off and I was more alert, I remember sitting on my hospital bed while my husband slept with my little boy swaddled and propped on his Boppy. It was just the two of us, and it was pure bliss!

But a late night feeding turned into disaster when I discovered my son bleeding from his feet. Lots of pokes and prods on my baby boy and an accusation pointed at me from a medical professional turned my life upside down. I collapsed and cried on the bathroom floor, telling my husband to take him away from me. I didn’t deserve my son. Despite a correct diagnosis, I unraveled. I feared during this time that someone would take my baby away.

Eventually, God sent me an angel in the form of a counselor who specialized in postpartum mood disorders. She very literally saved my life. Her name was Kathleen, and I met with her every week for a few months. Together we discovered that I was suffering from postpartum PTSD, anxiety, OCD and depression. She also referred me to a psychiatrist for medication. My healing came from taking my daily dose of Celexa, along with a routine of self-care and positive affirmations. It was, and sometimes still is, a daily struggle to climb out of the darkness. But I did it, and I finally felt worthy. I finally felt like a mother.

Not long after, my little family of three relocated to Charleston from California for my husband’s work. I was nervous about making such a big change after everything I had overcome. I knew that in order to keep myself together, I would need to find a support system. As soon as we had Internet access, I Googled, “postpartum support near me.” The first thing that popped up was an advertisement for Postpartum Support Charleston’s annual Moms’ Run! As soon as I clicked the link, I knew this was something that I needed to do. I made the decision that this was going to be my next self-care goal.

The Moms’ Run was my motivation over the next 12 months to get my physical health under control. I worked my tail off and dropped over 100 pounds! Going from barely being able to walk to my mailbox without getting winded to crossing that 5k finish line with tears in my eyes was one of the most gratifying moments of my life!

Having Postpartum Support Charleston as a resource is what kept me afloat. I am finally in a place in my life where I feel like I am healed enough to help others, which is why I decided to be a volunteer. I am both humbled and honored to be a part of this organization.

Mary McBride lives in Goose Creek and has a 6-year-old son. When he was 8 months old, she was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety, OCD, PTSD and a dissociative disorder. As a ‘transplant’ to Charleston from the West Coast, she was able to lean on Postpartum Support Charleston for the support she needed because her friends and family were so far away.

Find Support and Healing For Postpartum Depression

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders includes postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, ocd and post traumatic stress disorder. The mood and anxiety disorders affects 1 in 5 moms every year and are the most common complication of childbirth, but many women do not seek help.

Symptoms a mom might experience include:

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Feelings of anger or irritability
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Appetite and sleep disturbances
  • Crying and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

Women should seek help when they experience symptoms like these most of the time, for a period of at least two weeks or longer, and these symptoms make it feel very hard to live your life each day.

Postpartum Support Charleston provides peer support groups, online, phone and email support. Treatment may include seeking treatment from a psychiatrist, a psychologist or a counselor, medication and peer support.

For more information about Postpartum Support Charleston, visit www.ppdsupport.org.

You don’t need to suffer in silence. Support, treatment and healing are available.

Help is available at:

843-410-3585

contact@ppdsupport.org

If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or your child seek medical attention immediately or call 911.

You can still join us and register for the Moms’ Run and Family Day to support Postpartum Support Charleston:
7 a.m. May 12
MUSC Health Stadium
To register, visit www.ppdsupport.org.