Postpartum: A Four Year Journey

My husband and I began our life journey in the mid-’90s and married in 2002. Some of you may have read last month when we celebrated our twentieth anniversary!

And our family grew and grew.

I always thought we would have a couple of babies. For me, a boy and a girl would be ideal. But honestly, we never sat down and discussed our life and family plan. As it so happened, we were then planning a life with a newborn before our first legal drinks. Our first daughter arrived just in time for Thanksgiving in November 1997, and her sister three years later just after Christmas.

In 2005, my heart broke when we lost a baby to miscarriage at twelve weeks. After a week, they surgically removed the remaining tissue. The loss was challenging and left me wondering for quite some time.

In 2008, we announced baby number three well into the second trimester. The worry and anxiety were great competition for the excitement we had for our growing family. She arrived just before Halloween.

As life would have it, our family grew by two more in 2013. We adopted two daughters that we had fostered since 2010. They were siblings with a kinship connection to our family.

postpartumUnexpected Surprises 

November 2018: Five daughters, sports, three different schools, full-time work schedules, and getting ready for our second high school graduate to walk the stage in the spring. We were at a place where you can’t possibly imagine anything more, and yet more is exactly what happened, identical twin girls coming in June 2018!

Thirty-Five weeks and Three Days

The pregnancy, though high-risk, was uneventful. Just over 35 weeks, my water broke. There were no other signs of labor but a sudden realization of everything. My emotions began to heighten with the realization that our girls would be here a little sooner than expected.  

I opted for my first cesarean delivery and decided to have my tubes removed. As the first hours passed, I rested while the nurses were happy to snuggle the babies as needed, and my husband tended to the house so that it was ready to bring the girls home. Three days later, that is what we did. We went home, now a family of nine.

The Whirlwind of Emotions

Motherhood is much more than having a baby; it is a lifelong journey.

Life went on around me as baby blues came raging on. Feelings of loneliness even in a house full of people. Wanting for someone to know what I needed even when I didn’t. I couldn’t find my smile and felt little joy. What was wrong with me?

Facing the Struggle

Two months postpartum, I found myself at the OBGYN office, walked in, and asked for help. Minutes later, I was in the room pouring everything at the feet of a PA-C. This first visit was comforting, with a fresh face, a shoulder to cry on, and no judgment.

Four years later, I am still growing and learning to love myself as I am. I am a mother of seven daughters aged twenty-four to almost four-year-olds. I am enjoying moments with the best life partner who works hard so that I can stay home and get our babies ready for preschool.

Life with PPDepression, PPAnxiety, Social Anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and adult ADHD has been nothing but sheer craziness for me. It was unexpected. I always thought that I was supposed to take care of others, and life was so busy being busy that I lost a piece of myself. Every day my journey changes, and as long as I keep in the reality of that, I can continue to move forward. I am stronger than I was, but strength has yet to be gained.

Additional information on symptoms, recovery, and resources

https://uihc.org/health-topics/perinatal-pregnancy-and-postpartum-depression-frequently-asked-questions/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617

https://www.cr-obgyn.com/obstetrics/postpartum-depression/


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Amanda is a lifelong Cedar Rapidian along with her husband Chad and their seven daughters. She has been blessed by her littles at the ages of 21, 24, 32, 34 and again at 42. Her oldest two girls are now young adults and living their own lives, her middle girls are in their tweens and teens, and to round it all out, identical twin toddlers, four dogs and a house that is never empty.

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