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PostPartum Depression Diagnosis

About two weeks after the first consolation with the psychiatric nurse I got a phone call with the diagnosis and the plan of action. I actually did not care so much about the diagnosis as long as there was someone who would help me but apparently, my health insurance company also wants to know. I hated feeling like this and having these negative feelings towards the baby. I did not want to feel like this but there was nothing I could do about it.

I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. This was not really a surprise. Next to this, I was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I did not suspect this. I always thought that only people who have been through something terrible (like war) could have this. Apparently, anybody who feels like they have been through something horrible can have this. It will differ per person who they react to certain situations. Some will have no problem with it while others have to go into therapy. In my case, the not noticing the breech position of my baby was something so severe to me that it traumatized me.

The plan of action would be therapy session with a psychiatrist for the depressions and EMDR for the trauma. I had never heard of  EMDR. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is in short, resetting of the memory that caused the trauma by alternating left and right images or sounds. There is a lot of information about this online.

 

The first therapy session took place soon after the diagnosis. These talks were hard for me and it took me a long time to recover from them. Each time, there was an hour planned for but I never held on that long. I found it hard to carry and follow conversations. especially when they were about a personal or hard topic like with the psychiatrist. These were extremely hard on me and after a while, I could not register or answer the questions that were asked anymore. I could feel it in my head that the conversation was getting harder. It felt like my head was getting foggier.

Some sessions were better than others. Sometimes I could make it to half an hour, sometimes only 15 minutes was enough. I just couldn’t hold on longer. I could hear something being said but the information did not register.

These sessions continued for several months. The sessions were mostly about the obstacles I encountered, what was going through my mind that week and how I was doing as a mom. Sometimes the period around my labor came up. I often had to cry during those sessions but I did not mind that. I was making progress very slowly but talking to someone about this once a week was nice. She also advised me to track my daily well being by grading each day and reflect on how that day went and if it did not go so well, why. I like this because this way I was also able to track my progress day by day. 

Slowly I started to feel better but my head remained foggy, I still could not register information well and I was very forgetful. As I always wanted kids close in age, my boyfriend and I stoped using anticonception as soon as I started to feel better. We had to wait about 6 months for my baby girl so we expected to have to wait a while.

Two months later I was pregnant. I was very happy and excited. My head immediately felt more clear. Like all the hormones felt back into place. My head was still a bit foggy but I was much less feeling down. A day after the positive test I had an appointment with my psychiatrist whom I told immediately. She assured me that the medication I took was safe during pregnancy. I wanted to reduce my medication and hopefully even stop with the medication but this was strongly discouraged. Being pregnant with medication is much less harmful than being pregnant and depressed without medication.

I made an appointment with a midwife and asked immediately for a longer appointment so I could tell about my previous experiences with the breech position and the delivery. During this appointment I was told I had to give birth in the hospital (in the Netherlands you can give birth at home if you want) because of my medication because the baby might have withdrawal symptoms. This was all totally fine with me. Two weeks later, the first ultra sound was planned at about 7 weeks pregnancy.