It All Went Wrong Right Away: How I Survived Postpartum Depression

A life 2023

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It All Went Wrong Right Away: How I Survived Postpartum Depression
It All Went Wrong Right Away: How I Survived Postpartum Depression

"A child is happiness" “Others cannot give birth, you need to rejoice” - unfortunately, mothers who are overwhelmed by childbirth are often ashamed. Many believe that being depressed is the result of "laziness" or an indicator that a woman is "not ready" for a child. In fact, postpartum depression is a serious problem that affects between 0.5% and 61% of mothers in different countries, depending on the diagnostic criteria. Like usual, postpartum depression will not go away on its own, it is not treated with delicious food and rest, but requires the help of a specialist. Ksenia Krasilnikova faced postpartum depression in 2017 and, based on her experience, wrote the book “Not Just Tired. Recognizing and Overcoming Postpartum Depression”to Help Other Mothers. We talked with her about what she went through during her depression and why it is difficult to tell others about such experiences.


Yulia Dudkina


It seemed to me that I had prepared for the birth of a child as much as possible. At the beginning of pregnancy, my husband and I began to attend classes under the program of the psychotherapist Karl Brisch SAFE, which helps to set up an emotional connection with the child in line with the theory of attachment. Prevention of postpartum depression is one of the goals of the program. We also went to classic courses for expectant mothers - those where they teach how to breathe correctly during childbirth and take care of a newborn.

During pregnancy, I was very happy. I waited impatiently for my belly to start growing. My husband and I rejoiced together when the child turned over in his stomach. We both wanted children, my husband was very supportive of me - in general, we corresponded to stereotypes about people who are preparing to become parents.

Then I was sure that being a wife and mother is mine. It seemed to me that this is where I will find my calling. Children have always loved me, rejoiced at me. I remember driving a car one day and a little boy looking through the rear window of the car in front. He pretended to shoot me with a pistol, and I responded in kind. So we "shot" for a long time. I was sure that since I can find a common language with any children, it means that I will be an excellent mother. I think part of my ideas about myself and about motherhood are from childhood. My dad was pretty traditional. And although I do not agree with him on everything, I continued to believe in some things because of my upbringing. For example, the fact that motherhood is unconditional happiness.

I used to think

What is love

to a baby, a woman wakes up automatically. It was not so for me. I was just scared

I knew that some women have postpartum depression, but like many in my place, I hoped for the best. I didn’t really believe that something could go wrong, because children - “it's so great”. In addition, you have a poor idea of ​​what mental disorders are, if you have not encountered them before. It is difficult to imagine that something will happen to you that you cannot even imagine. Now I understand that from the very beginning I was at risk, because there are cases of clinical depression in my family. Mom says that even during my pregnancy, she noticed something was wrong: I reacted sharply to any uncertainty related to health, to the actions of doctors that were incomprehensible to me. But I was sure that I was behaving absolutely rationally.

When the son was born, everything immediately went not at all as I had hoped. It is believed that in the first minutes, mother and child should tune in to each other. For this, the baby is placed on the woman's chest or stomach and for some time he lies like that. But during childbirth, there were some minor difficulties, and I lost consciousness. When I woke up, they had already taken him away.

My son was brought to me for feeding six times a day.With breastfeeding, everything turned out to be not easy - I could not master the correct grip, the child refused to eat, cried. He was supplemented with formula and carried out the door - to the children's department. This room terrified me. Parents were not allowed there. There were many babies there, and they were constantly screaming. The nurses came out of the door and left them alone, not paying attention to the screams. I was tormented: it seemed to me that these children were calling someone, they needed someone to respond to their calls. But there was nothing I could do to help them, and it only made it worse.

The maternity hospital staff did not help in any way to cope with the difficulties. Once a neighbor wanted to ask a question to a nurse who brought her baby to feed. She did not listen to her and cut off: "Stop feeling sorry for yourself." My son, when he was born, developed toxic erythema - this is a feature of the skin of newborns. Not a problem or a disease, but a completely common occurrence. But the neonatologist, seeing I had a bag of pistachios, said: "Eat delicious, and then a child with toxic erythema" - as if it was my fault.


I cried constantly, and then began to shout at my husband. These were real breakdowns, I said that we urgently need to go home. We actually checked out very soon. Things only got worse at home. Breastfeeding still didn't work. Through a popular Instagram account, I found a breastfeeding consultant. She came and talked with me for several hours. She did not say anything offensive or harsh, but I felt so bad that I cried and could not stop. At parting she said: “I see that it is hard for you. I will come again, but for now, write to me. " I really started writing: asking questions, telling how the case was progressing. She answered a couple of times, and then disappeared and never came.

After consulting with my friends, who at one time began to give the children formula, I decided to stop breastfeeding. I understood: objectively, it was not my fault that I could not breastfeed. It happens, it's normal. But all the same, the thought was spinning in my head that something was wrong with me, and it was difficult to drive it out.

In a dream, the son constantly made some sounds: groaning, sniffing, sighing. Every sound made my heart pound and my ears burned. I thought, "Now he will wake up." Because of this, I started to have insomnia: I lay next to the child, periodically fell into a short nap, but immediately woke up again in horror. Two weeks after giving birth, I found that I had not slept for several days in a row. Mom came to me. She said: "Sleep in another room, I'll stay with him." I went to bed. But inside me it was as if a tractor was driving. Because of the terrible anxiety, I felt an inner tremor, my heart was pounding, the tension did not subside. I was lying and could not sleep.

The son knew: the grandmother who looked after

follow him, now he will go home, and he will stay

with me - someone else's aunt

When I was alone with the child, I was terrified. I called my husband and asked: "Please come back home as soon as possible." I used to think that a woman’s love for a baby wakes up automatically at the moment the baby is born. It was not so for me. I was just scared. From stress, I almost stopped eating - I ate one tangerine a day and could no longer bring myself to. I had an obsessive fantasy - as if I was walking again with a big belly, and then it shrinks and disappears. I imagined it over and over again.

For several weeks I thought it was all the so-called baby blues. Sadness, a depressed state of mind, which is often found in women after the birth of a child. It is similar to postpartum depression, but its symptoms are less pronounced and usually go away after a couple of weeks.

One night, when my husband and child were asleep, I once again woke up from an unpleasant half-asleep and began to look out the window. It began to brighten on the street. I felt absolute despair and suddenly thought: "That stool can be pulled out onto the balcony."It was a very calm, practical thought: I began to wonder how it would be more convenient to jump down. Then I realized that my condition was serious. I immediately called my mother and sister, began to write to friends with a request to advise a psychiatrist.

The specialist was found quickly. He advised me to spend some time in a psychiatric clinic. I realized that leaving the child was not helping to form a secure attachment. But I simply had no other options: if I had stayed at home, I simply would not have been able to give anything to my son. Once in the clinic, I asked the specialists again and again: "I did the right thing, that I decided to be hospitalized?" But I myself knew that now I can only lie with my knees to the wall. In the clinic, I was relieved - I got out of the oppressive situation. On the first day I was given an antipsychotic drug, and I slept for the first time in a long time. I felt better. When I was prescribed antidepressants, I decided that in two weeks I would be able to return home, because by that time the medicines would just start to work. I was going to make a second attempt to become a mother to my child as soon as possible.


But I only stayed at home for two weeks. I felt bad and scared again, I realized that I could not be there. Of course, at the same time, I felt a sense of guilt. Fortunately, no one in my family treated me with condemnation - they agreed that what was happening to me were just symptoms of depression. Intellectually, I myself understood this. But society requires young mothers to be active, happy, and ideal. You get used to it so much that it is difficult to accept yourself in the "wrong" state.

The second time I was in the hospital, I spent a little over three months. Gradually, I got better. At first I didn’t want to know anything about the child - it was enough for me that he was alive and well. I did not ask about him, I was not interested. Gradually, when my strength began to return to me, I began to think about him more often. Now I myself asked to show me his photographs, it was interesting to know how he was there.

As I began to feel better, I started driving home for the weekend - it was called a “medical vacation”. This experience turned out to be very difficult. I took my son in my arms and began to cry. One day, immediately after such an episode, I went back to the hospital, without waiting for the end of the weekend. I understood that I was a stranger to the child. I had to somehow start to interact with him, communicate, but it seemed to me that I was not succeeding. But little by little I got used to it. Once I arrived, bent over my son and began to say something to him. He laughed. I felt such joy: he reacts to me, he likes it! After a while, I checked out. But, of course, the difficulties did not end there.

Once I arrived, bent over my son and began to say something to him. He laughed

The child spent the first five months without me, and I had to build a connection with him. Make him accept me, learn to trust me. It was a long process. Now Ilya is already two years and four months old. Even nine months ago, he cried when I came home. He knew that the grandmother who looked after him would now go home, and he would stay with me - someone else's aunt. It happened every day, and every day it was hard for me to see him cry at my appearance. But I reminded myself: this was due to the fact that I was depressed. No one is to blame for this. You can take all possible measures, but even they will not save one hundred percent from a mental disorder. I consoled myself: further on we will have a completely different life. Now I was sure: I love my son, I want to spend time with him. Of course, I tried not to put pressure on him - it was important for me that he began to trust me, and for this it was necessary to be delicate.

Three months ago, I realized that our relationship had become completely different. Now, if he becomes afraid or anxious, he comes to me. We have become truly dear people.

I thought of writing a book about all this back in the clinic.I was on the phone with a friend, and she suggested that I think about how you can get something good from my experience. When all this was happening - at the turn of 2016 and 2017 - I could not find complete, understandable information about postpartum depression. Maybe it would be easier for me if I could read some book or text about how this is normal and will definitely end someday. I would be glad to advice how to help myself, how loved ones can help. I decided that I would try to include in the book everything that I was missing then.

Many people during depression are faced with misunderstanding, depreciation. Fortunately, this almost never happened to me. Unless one woman in the clinic once told me: “Some people cannot give birth for years. You have to rejoice. " Interestingly, she herself ended up in the clinic due to depression. Now, when I told on the Internet about the publication of the book and explained that it was based on my experience, there were responses-cliches: “My grandmother gave birth in the field, and nothing”, “You just need to have the right attitude” … Today I saw a comment: “Sorry, but what nonsense. The first days of a baby's life are magical happiness, and no lack of sleep and fatigue can overshadow him. " They also write, they say, "you can suffer" if a child was born with a disability. Otherwise, no.

I was preparing for all this when I thought about the release of the book, I worked with a psychotherapist. So for now, I feel fine. I think it's impossible to teach someone about life. If people themselves do not want to change their minds, there is no need to argue with them in the comments and think about them. But I know for sure: postpartum mental disorders are serious, and they have always been. People die because of them. We have done this work to help those who find themselves in such a situation. For me it became a story of how something very hard and bad turned into something very good.

photos: Maxim -

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