I Was Depressed After Baby. A Misdiagnosis Made It Exponentially Worse.

It was 3:27 in the afternoon and I still hadn’t showered. My newborn daughter was wailing in her crib after a nap and the sound made my heart pound, but not in a happy way. My chest was tight, I felt shaky; I was having an anxiety attack. I laid down on my kitchen floor, closed my eyes, and tried to breathe. I hadn’t had any problems with anxiety since my final year in law school, but ever since getting home from the hospital five days earlier after delivering my daughter in a difficult C-section, I now had daily, debilitating attacks.

I quickly discovered that the best place to cry was in the shower. I tried to make an activity of it: I would sob while shaving or shampooing my hair. I would extend the moment as long as I possibly could — hoping my neighbors wouldn’t hear me through the cold cement walls of our apartment building in Mexico City. I cried as I held her. I cried as I tried to pump milk when I couldn’t get her to breastfeed. I didn’t sleep when she slept, as my sisters-in-law had told me to do, because I felt too stressed about everything I needed to get done around the house and with my work. Not sleeping, however, made things drastically worse.

IHRL attorney & writer. Bylines in: PBS, USA Today, Independent UK, Al Jazeera, Romper, Ravishly, & National Catholic Reporter.

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