After about a week, the happy crying stopped. The excitement of being a mom stopped. I didn’t want visitors. I felt miserable. I hated that I was a mom. I looked at my daughter and thought how I had made such a mistake…My life was now different because of this child, and I hated every moment of it.

September 12, 2015, I took a pregnancy test. As I saw the positive on the test, I dropped to the floor crying as I said aloud, “My life is over!” Abortion quickly came to mind, but I couldn’t do that because I aways believed abortion was wrong and sinful. So, that wasn’t an option for me. [Are you experiencing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy? Abortion is not the only option: please go to your nearest Pregnancy Center for help. Had an abortion? For healing after abortion please visit Project Rachel, a great resource for acceptance, support, and hope.]

In April of that year, I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which makes becoming pregnant difficult to nearly impossible. My MRI scan showed my body produced no eggs to even carry a child. I wasn’t sad about that. I never wanted to have children anyway. My husband, however, was hurt. He dreamed of us having a family. I agreed to take medication to assist me in a pregnancy. We didn’t think it would work so quickly, our doctor was even astonished to hear I was pregnant just three months later. My husband and I weren’t actually ready for a child, but Ava was there already.

It all changed when we we to her gender reveal appointment…[I saw my] tiny daughter on the large screen. I was so happy, my eyes swelled with tears…I heard her heart and I loved her so much already.

My entire pregnancy, I was miserable because I didn’t want to be pregnant and I physically didn’t feel well a lot of the time. It all changed when we we to her gender reveal appointment. The room was dark with soft, beautiful music playing in the background. My husband and I watched as the ultrasound tech showed us our tiny daughter on the large screen. I was so happy, my eyes swelled with tears. I saw our little creation. I heard her heart, and I loved her so much already. My feelings changed after that and I was so happy I finally felt positive emotions about my pregnancy.

May 1, 2016 at 12:55 A.M, Ava was born. We didn’t get the immediate skin-to-skin, as doctors and nurses surrounded me because of my uncontrollable bleeding after delivery. I finally held Ava about an hour later, and I was amazed that we created a human. This child was half of my husband and me. It was mind-blowing and still is! 

Two days later we were finally released from the hospital. I couldn’t breast-feed; Ava wouldn’t latch properly and my milk supply was pathetic. I couldn’t even pump an ounce from both breasts. I was sad. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t even feed my daughter the way my body was intended. So, we had no option but to formula feed. Even with this, I was still happy with my new family. I would cry tears of joy everyday. I would tell my husband how happy I was. I loved my life. It all felt so perfect. 

After about a week, the happy crying stopped. The excitement of being a mom stopped. I didn’t want visitors. I felt miserable. I hated that I was a mom. I looked at my daughter and thought how I had made such a mistake by getting pregnant. My life was now different because of this child, and I hated every moment of it. We couldn’t be spontaneous like we used to. We couldn’t just get up to go to the store. We had to get Ava dressed, pack her diaper bag, and get her inside her car seat. This was all so time consuming. I missed the days when it was just my husband and me- when life was easier- when I actually slept a full nights sleep, and there was no crying baby.

I didn’t even really know what postpartum depression was, but I knew something was wrong with me. I snapped at my husband for everything he did. I was unhappy with him and our new life as parents. I cried all the time because I didn’t want my daughter. I kept the crying and these feelings a secret for so long until I couldn’t anymore. I finally talked to my husband. I told him everything I felt. He had no idea what to say or do, so just hugged me after I let it all out.

Two months after Ava was born, I had my first postpartum check up. My doctor checked my body, and everything was fine. She ending out appointment. I hesitated to tell her how I had been feeling because I was embarrassed and she also didn’t ask. Right before I stood up from the table, I told her with watery eyes that I was really really sad and needed help. She asked a few standard questions and said I had postpartum depression. She gave me a number to call for an appointment with a therapist and sent me on my way out. I called the number when I got home. The soonest appointment was a month from that date. I needed to talk to a professional right away, but there was nothing they could do. Finally, the day came. I was excited because I was finally getting the help I desperately needed. I was crying after our appointment. It was simply a questionnaire the therapist asked me. There was absolutely no talking about my feelings. It was mostly yes or no answers and our appointment was over. I needed help. I needed serious help. I wanted medication to feel normal again. I couldn’t handle these thoughts and feelings anymore.

My husband tried to make me feel better. He read so much about postpartum depression. I told him how I hated being a mom. I felt no feelings towards Ava, except that I wish I could give her away. I remember having so many negative thoughts about my baby. Saying that now hurts my heart so much, but it’s how I felt at the time. I wanted this child out of my life, and I didn’t care how it happened. I knew these thoughts weren’t normal. I didn’t have access to help for months until my next therapy appointment and it felt like I’d have these feelings for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to do anything. I stayed in my pajamas all day. I cried every single hour of the day. I felt alone and isolated. I was uncomfortable with my body. I hated social media and seeing how happy everyone else was. I hated seeing couples who didn’t have children; it made me jealous that they didn’t have baby and I did. My husband didn’t understand how I felt. I started to feel like I didn’t even love him anymore. I hated my life so much, and I was at the lowest I had ever been.

My husband and I started to have problems in our marriage. He’d come home from work and see how miserable I was. It began to rub off on him, and he started to become unhappy with everything. We’d argue over any little thing. We felt so separated and distant from each other. We barely talked anymore. If we did talk, it was about Ava only. We had nothing else to say to each other. I wanted to leave my marriage. I thought it might be a good idea because then I wouldn’t have to see Ava everyday.

After I finally had my first session with my therapist, I felt better about having PPD. I learned how common it is, and she made me feel comfortable with myself and let me accept that these thoughts and feelings were not me. PPD is a hormonal imbalance that affects your brain. It felt good hearing that these emotions didn’t define me as a mom. I felt like I was releasing it from my soul. I was still depressed for a long time, but therapy helped me a lot.

Finally, about February of this year, I started to feel normal again. I went through nine extremely long months of depression without medication. I’m not sure what helped me to feel like myself again. I did a lot of praying and therapy appointments. And as silly as it may sound, I think Instagram helped me in a way too. I created a “mom Instagram” after I saw other mom Instagram accounts, and I’m not even sure what it was but I seeing other young women who were stay-at-home moms helped me feel better.

Today, I am thankful to have my sanity back. I had never experienced any kind of depression until I had PPD. I now know what it’s like to be depressed. I know how hard the days are. I know how isolating it feels, and I thank God I am back to myself. My husband and I are happy again, even happier than before we had Ava. Our marriage and love for each other is stronger now. I am stronger now. I beat depression because it really is a battle. I love my daughter, I love my life, and I love myself. Depression is something that we should feel comfortable talking about. There should be no stigma about it. I’m open about my struggle now. It’s not easy because it bring back those memories, but I like talking of my experience because I want other moms to know they can conquer depression. It will go away, and you will feel normal again, I promise.

My name is Candice. I am the face of postpartum Depression. I am the face of Motherhood.

Think you or someone you know may be struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder? Please contact your health provider including your OBGYN or family doctor. Need more information? Visit Postpartum Support International for great information on maternal mental health and more. If you fear you or someone you love may be contemplating suicide or facing a mental health emergency, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline and get to your nearest emergency room. Please consider buying a PPD Awareness t-shirt, all proceeds go to help mothers in need. Have questions or need support please join the discussion on Facebook

About the author: Candice is a stay at home mommy to one adorable little girl. She loves her Faith and her family. After receiving inadequate mental support following the birth of her daughter, she struggled with PPD. You can find her on Instagram sharing her story with other moms and posting adorable pictures of her little family.