A mom died by suicide days after having twins. I saw myself and my postpartum depression in her story.

Advertisement
A mom died by suicide days after having twins. I saw myself and my postpartum depression in her story.
The author at three weeks postpartum.Courtesy of the author
  • A few days ago, a mom in Massachusetts died by suicide days after having twins.
  • I struggled with postpartum depression after the birth of my first and had really dark thoughts.
Advertisement

Editor's note: This article mentions suicide and suicidal ideation

My first child was born in 2018 via an emergency C-section. I was left sore and emotionally wrecked because I wasn't prepared for him to come so early or to have major surgery.

When a nurse walked into my room and saw me crying, she said it was just a sign that my milk was coming in, we were on a good track. But the crying didn't stop after it did. And it wouldn't for several weeks after. I felt lonely, isolated, and completely incapable of taking care of my son.

One day, shortly after coming home, I had the darkest thoughts I had in my life. I scared myself and told my husband that maybe I wasn't made to be a mom. All I could think of was to find a way to get admitted to the hospital again because I felt that my baby would be better off without me.

I had never experienced depression or anxiety before

Up until that point, I had never been diagnosed with depression or anxiety, so I had no idea what I was dealing with. All I knew is that I hated every second of my life as a new mom, and I felt like I just couldn't take care of my baby. When he cried, I cried. When he slept, I kept crying.

Advertisement

One day I texted my husband a photo of me holding our son while crying and said, "I don't think I can do this anymore." He came running home from work, gave me a hug, and started to plan what I needed to feel better. The first thing we agreed on was that I was going to stop breastfeeding and start pumping instead, so he could help with the middle-of-the-night feeds and also give me a little bit more freedom. The next thing we decided to do was to hire a night doula so I could get at least one full night of sleep because we both agreed that I was barely functioning.

Those two changes were so impactful. The morning after the night doula left, I looked at him and said, "I can do this."

The second time around, I planned my postpartum support in advance

The second time I got pregnant, it was with twins. From the second we found out it was two babies, I told my husband that I really wanted to focus on planning who and how was going to support me through postpartum. This time around I didn't care how my babies were born, all I wanted was to have someone taking care of me after they were born.

We hired a doula, who helped us go through every single detail of what we needed to come home. She went beyond the basics of how many diapers and onesies, and made us reach out to friends to start a meal train, and have a dog sitter in place. We also hired a night doula — this time for six nights — because I knew I needed sleep to feel like myself. I was open on how to feed the twins, admitting that they might need formula from day one before my milk came in.

Despite having a toddler and two newborns, my postpartum experience was so different. I was happy, and enjoying my babies.

Advertisement

Then the world shut down because of the pandemic, and I was left alone once again. My OB didn't see me for my six week postpartum appointment, and I never got the PPD screening that comes with it. However, I knew what the signs were, and I felt more comfortable asking for help.

I know I'm not alone

I recently tweeted about my experience with postpartum depression, and the responses were overwhelming. So many new parents shared their experiences of how their medical providers failed them while screening them for depression.

They either didn't get screened, or when they marked that they were crying more than often, they were told it was totally OK and not to worry. Same two things I experienced.

The data around maternal suicide is complicated. As Insider previously reported, the best data comes from Maternal Mortality Review Committees, which only exist in about half of US states. And yet, when given a safe place to be vulnerable, so many of us share how hard it can be to be a brand new mom.

{{}}