Why Did I Have To Beg For Help?
BY Melissa Gerstein
Before my son was born, I had read up about the “baby blues.” On exactly the fourth day after he arrived, I was bluesy. At first, I was not quite sure what was happening. There were lots of tears. Tears of joy, tears of discomfort, tears of fear and tears from fatigue. Then a week later they were gone. Then the next week I was weepy again. I remember going to my doctor and explaining my blues, and he suggested a therapist who then suggested I needed to get my life back on track and go back to work and I did. Slowly the tears faded.
Then three years later my beautiful daughter was born. I was ready this time for the blues. Like clockwork, on the fourth day, tears poured down my face. But this time, I was set! I was better prepared. I was going to push these emotions away and persevere. I got through this rough patch once again. Was it possibly because my mom stayed longer this time around after the baby? I cried my eyes out daily to her until it passed.
Then our beloved third baby girl arrived. Third time is a charm they say. Everything will be smooth and easy. I’ll have no problems or complications or blues, I told myself. I’m wiser now and totally prepared and I’ve been down this road twice already. But, now, this was an entirely different road. On the fourth day, yes, the blues. But now accompanied by a bigger force, something I was not familiar with; anxiety. I was up all night, not because of a crying baby but because I was unable to sleep. I was pacing back and forth in my apartment all night. My heart was racing. I was petrified and out of control and I was watching my life happen around me as if I was not present. I needed help.
What I learned was there was no one to help me. My OBGYN referred me to a psychiatrist who could not see me for a week or two. “What, a week! I needed help!” I could not get control. It seemed this time I was having some form of post partum depression. I knew it was minor. I knew I did not want to harm our baby. But I didn’t know that I needed to take matters into my own hands.
After calling my OB five times with no call back. After calling the hospital for other psychiatrists to help me, no one was around. Voicemails and messages were left everywhere. Until, I finally got a return call from my OB’s office and screamed HELP ME!
She eventually prescribed a low dose of anti-anxiety medication that helped me for a few days. I didn’t like the side effects but I was able to function not only for myself but for my other children.
Postpartum I have learned firsthand is very serious. Mothers need much more attention after giving birth. This six week follow up is ludicrous. It should be a week later you see your doctor.
Maybe if that were the case, I could have saved myself from making a gazillion phone calls and begging for help.