I have always suffered with depression.  I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder about six years ago, but it was somehow a surprise when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression.

When I had my first daughter in January 2013, I did not know how to feel.  I was forced into having a C-section as my former OB informed me she was too big for me to deliver.  I was very depressed that I was not able to follow my birth plan.  When my daughter was born I remember staring at her and not feeling any connection to her.  She screamed day and night in the hospital and it did not get better when we came home.  When she was a week old I remember lying in bed hysterical and convinced my family had some vendetta against me.  My husband called my former OB for help; my OB was aware I suffered with depression in the past.  He told my husband that he would not see me, but go to urgent care when they opened at 5:00.  My husband dragged me and I was dismissed as having the “baby blues.”  I was a first-time mom and shrugged it off.

As the months went on, I started having a strong resentment towards my infant daughter.  I could not understand why I did not feel that bond and love.  All she did was scream.  I used to get angry with her and yell at her then burst into tears. My anxiety level was though the roof as I did not know what to do with her or how to make her happy. I thought maybe my hormones would just balance out.  I had good days and had bad days.  I was very much in denial that I needed help.

When my daughter turned one, I was not any better so I sought help.  I went to a therapist who handled postpartum.  I remember going to this woman shaking and asking for help.  I told her I had difficulty bonding with my daughter and I would get so frustrated with her and my anger would take over. She flat out told me all this was in my head and there was nothing wrong with me. She would just stare me down and be very dismissive with me.  Although I only went to two sessions I would leave hurt and in tears. On my second visit she reminded me that this was all in my head and I was making it up. Her cure all was for me to go to Restoration Hardware and look at doorknobs.  I said forget this and just suppressed my feelings.

In July 2014, I found out I was pregnant with my second child.  I was upset.  I was about to accept a new job and this baby was standing in my way.  I wanted another baby, but did not think it would happen so quickly.  As my first trimester came to end I had a horrible experience with the OB who delivered my first daughter.  He began to treat me very poorly.  He made a huge error in a test that caused so much pain in my marriage.  He would not return my calls or preform the test.  I was so depressed and lost. I was thankfully able to see a new Ob that was caring and understanding.

Late in my second trimester my Mother who was living with us began to act out of sorts.  She was convinced my husband was a neglectful parent and she ended up calling CPS on us.  We were interviewed and investigated. CPS flat out told me Mother that all this was a domestic dispute and her claims proved to be unfounded.  During this time, My Mother tried to convince me to divorce my husband and that he was an unfit parent. She also started making our household very volatile and hostile to the point we did not want to live in our own house.  The stress, anxiety, and depression was stronger that I had ever experienced.  I ended up throwing her out my house two days before Christmas.  She had also begun drinking and taking more pain medications.  I tried to seek help from my aunts and sister, but she told them all lies about me.  I had no family.  Nobody.  I was all alone and almost eight months pregnant.

I somehow made it through my pregnancy without going into preterm labor.  After my beautiful daughter was born and I came home, I was overcome with extreme sadness and despair.  I was so depressed and would cry most of the day.  I never wanted to put my little girl down.  I could not sleep as when I closed my eyes horrible visions of my daughter being murdered were flashed before my eyes and then I began to hear voices telling me she was dead and to kill myself.  My husband called my OB and he was very worried.  He advised me to go to Northridge Hospital for an evaluation. I went.

I was indeed evaluated and then my nightmare came true, I was admitted to the psych ward.  I was terrified.  I was put in with people who were so medicated and could not function.  I was taken away from my baby who was not even two weeks old and my 2 year old who needed her mama. I was away from my children for three days and could only see them for one hour. I was in a really bad place. I saw a psychiatrist who put me back on Cymbalta.  I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and a severe perinatal onset.

The weeks after my hospitalization were rocky, but improved.  I was able to find a support group that Cathy Dore led.  It was refreshing not to be alone and to have people that truly understood what you were going through.  Through continued support from my husband and his family, my therapist, medication and Cathy I have turned around tremendously.  I am not afraid to be alone with both my girls.  I can function again.  I have not felt this good in a very long time.  It is very very unfortunate that I was not taken seriously the first time around and it had to end up this way, but I believe things happen for a reason. 

The mission of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force is to remove barriers to the prevention, screening and treatment of prenatal and postpartum depression in Los Angeles County. The Task Force is a project of 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor Community Partners.