I knew that I was at higher risk of Postpartum Depression (PPD) after having my twins due to experiencing infertility and have multiples. My husband and I were watching for signs of it.
When I went into my 6-week postpartum visit, I wasn’t assessed for PPD; I wasn’t given the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) to determine how I was feeling and how I was doing mentally. At that time, I felt “ok.” I felt overwhelmed and over touched, but I was sure that it was just because I had two newborns and a 2-year-old.
I continued to justify how I was feeling and brushing the thoughts of postpartum depression to the side. When I felt sad, overwhelmed, over touched, angry, not enjoying breastfeeding, etc., I would tell myself that “it is just because I didn’t sleep well last night,” “it is just because I have twins, that’s normal.”
Around two months postpartum, I saw a post in a “moms of multiples” group that I am in, asking about if how they were feeling was normal. I read it and thought, “yes, that’s normal. That’s how I feel.” Then I read all the comments that said, “no, that is not normal, reach out for help.”
Oh, I guess that it’s not normal to feel “off,” to not feel like myself, to get angry easily, and not to be enjoying breastfeeding.
Another week went by, and I realized that I was crying more often. I was having more negative thoughts, I quickly went down a guilt spiral. I knew I needed help. As a nurse, I decided to take the EPDS myself and see how I scored. I scored mid-range and realized that I genuinely needed to be assessed by a professional and seek treatment.
The following week I went into my OBs office to get assessed. I scored a 15 on the EPDS. My Nurse Practitioner (NP) stated that it was high enough to be diagnosed with PPD and on the edge of when she recommends medication for treatment.
I knew I needed help and was prepared to take medication. I started on Prozac (Fluoxetine) since it is safe while breastfeeding, and within one to two weeks, I felt “normal” again. I started enjoying breastfeeding; I enjoyed baby snuggles again; I wasn’t yelling at my two-year-old or husband anymore.
I still had my ups and downs and was sure to ask for help when I needed it.
Weaning Off the PPD Medication
When I started the medication in July of 2019, the plan was to wean off in the Spring of 2020. When Spring 2020 came around, I realized that it was not the right time to stop taking my medication since a worldwide pandemic had just started.
I continued to take my medication for another year. In March 2021, I started to wean off of Prozac, following the direction of my NP. I started taking it every other day for two weeks, then every third day for a week.
I noticed some changes in my sleep and noticed that I was slightly more irritable. My husband and I paid close attention to how I felt and made sure to decrease any stressors to help reduce any side effects from stopping the medication.
I have now been off of my PPD medication for over a month and am feeling great.
Medication is not always necessary; therapy is also an option when it comes to treatment. And you can also use both medication and therapy together to heal.
If you feel “out of sorts,” then follow your intuition and seek help.