Pregnancy was a breeze.  I left every doctor’s appointment with affirmation that this was going to be easy, and I was exciting and thrilled.  However, I was always nervous at the expectation of what motherhood meant.  My mother and mother in law were exceptional mothers.  They were selfless, nurturing, and the most giving individuals you’ll ever meet.  I felt like I could live up to their standards, and I was excited to experience that, for myself, for my husband, and my daughter.

Giving birth was one of the best moments in my life.  I watched my daughter come out of me and I held her so tight and kissed her entire face, head, and hands.  I cried like a baby, knowing that this was going to change the rest of my life, and I felt like I had accomplished so much in just such few moments.  Once they took her away for all the examinations, I felt a release of energy.  The adrenaline rush subsided, and I looked over to her and my family who were thrilled.  I wanted to sleep, and I was exhausted from the eleven hours of labor that I had just endured.

When I went back to my hospital room, I just wanted to sleep.  But my daughter was crying nonstop, and when the nurse asked if I wanted her in the nursery or with me, I told her to take her to the nursery.  I already felt like a failure, asking to send my daughter away to the nursery so I could rest.

Moments later, I had to breastfeed her, and she wasn’t latching on.  I was sweating profusely, and I felt frustrated that this wasn’t happening.  The nurses, my mom, my husband, and my dad were looking, waiting for her to latch on.   This was the second failure I experienced.  She didn’t, and it took over a week to finally get her to latch on.

We brought her home from the hospital, and since that first night, she became colicky, constantly crying, and wanting to be held upright.  I was even more exhausted, trying to remember when the last time I slept for more than 2 hours.  I stayed up all night, rocking her back and forth, swaddling her, and nursing her.  She remained quiet only when I breastfed her.

This continued on for days, weeks, and months.  She was a fussy baby all throughout.  She only liked being held by me, therefore, not giving me a break, and she didn’t enjoy the car seat or stroller.  I felt like I was trapped in my own home, hardly leaving the house and just trying to soothe her.  Some days, I didn’t shower because if she left my arms or breast, she would cry.  If I left the room, she’d cry.  If I left the house, my husband would call me and ask when I was coming home because she needed to be fed and continued to cry.  I saw the exhaustion in all of us, and I felt like failure because I couldn’t even soothe my own baby.

When I slept, I had nightmares about dropping her, but then the nightmares became fantasies of just leaving her, my family, and this life.  I’d wake up, in a cold sweat, staring at both my husband and her while they slept peacefully, and I was starting to detach.  My husband I began to fight endlessly, and the team that him and I once were, quickly disappeared into oblivion.

The post partum lasted for years, and it was after she was two years old, I began to seek treatment.  She left for some time to spend time with my husbands family while I sought treatment while I  separated from my husband.

After years of counseling, out patient treatment therapy, and parenting classes, I finally got cured from dealing with post partum depression.  I feel proud of myself for all the work I’ve done, especially the positive impact it has on my daughter.  She gives me of love that I have never experienced before, and each day I remind myself to work harder so that she has a mother to look up to and love just as much as I love her.

Alexandra, California

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