A young mom of two, April Moffat had already been through life with a newborn when she brought her second baby home. With Eden, her first, she had typical baby blues that went away and things went smoothly, but with Willow things were drastically different.
Without warning, April and her husband Marty were thrown into a long, unwelcome and unexpected journey.
After a difficult pregnancy, early birth and countless complications, April was already at risk for Postpartum Depression when they welcomed Willow, April 17, 2014.
Having already been through the first year at home with a new baby, April wasn’t too concerned about PPD however, it hit her and her husband harder than she ever thought possible. “There were days I had to fight for the will to live,” she explained.
“It was a very dark place. I had anxiety which led to waking up everyday with panic attacks. Sleep was almost impossible at the beginning and I actually experienced psychosis and am sad to say attempted suicide. It’s very hard to share that.”
At first April felt ashamed and hid her confusing and overwhelming reality from many family members and friends.
Unfortunately, Marty noticed the changes but didn’t know what was going on at first.
Once a family member pointed out that April’s condition might need medical attention, Marty realized that rather than pulling away from her, April’s mood changes were an illness and an opportunity to support.
“It’s not easy seeing someone you love experience such dark and depressive state,” he said. “I wanted to help her feel better but it seemed that while she could acknowledge something positive she could only experience the negative. I didn’t blame her for any of this as though she had done something wrong or that she simply needed an attitude adjustment. I knew that she was not herself.” April credits much of her recovery and understanding of how PPD continues to impact her life from the support she has been given by her husband and to their faith.
Marty continued, “In my vows to her in marriage I removed any such conditions as in sickness and health. Furthermore I believe in the law of Christ where Jesus said, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Obviously it’s not always easy and I would have never imagined we would both experience so much pain and darkness throughout this trial in our marriage. With all of this there was a lot of pressure, Pressure to meet people’s assessment of whether I was handling the situation properly And pressure not become depressed myself. Sadly, I can’t say I was successful in any regard.“But that’s just how life goes sometimes and a person just needs to be able to rise above their current circumstances, let the feelings pass and do the right thing especially when it’s hard.”
The couple looks back at those trying times as a stepping stone to strengthen their relationship and now the wants to share their story with others.
April now writes open and candidly on a blog to support others going through similar experiences and emotions in hopes that sharing her story will inspire others to ask for help and reach out for support. Fortunately through the will to live and support of loved ones she reached out to doctors to start the daunting journey of finding the right antidepressants. During the first six months, April struggled to get out of bed each day.
“Minutes felt like hours and days would drag on and on,” she recalls. “The first thing I noticed was I didn’t sleep well. My concentration became very blurry and it felt like I was in a deep brain fog. Since in recovery, I am so glad to say I am still here to raise my precious daughters and be a wife today. Many days I wondered if I’d ever be the same again, and the truth is you really never are, your experience changes you. It makes you find who you are truly meant to be. It helps you to find strength from the depths of despair. For me, that strength came from God. In all honesty, I’d do it all over again to have my daughter Willow, she has been worth the fight.” And, that is just how April describes the recovery process from PPD, a continual fight. “You learn to advocate for yourself until you feel like ‘you’ again. During my times of despair when I didn’t feel I could go on, I am so grateful for my husband, and the friends and family who helped lighten the load for us in so many ways. Although very difficult, the fight for my mental health has been worth it. Now that I’m recovering I’ve learned how important prayer, diet and lifestyle is for your mental health.”
Not only has April, bounced back but she has bounced forward stating, “I can honestly say this is the best I’ve felt since before I got sick. I’m so grateful!” If you would like to follow more of April’s journey you can check out her blog: The Mental Health Mama @https://thementalhealthmomma.wordpress.com. The My Why Team would like to thank April and her family for participating in The Mother Series. A partnership with the Lloydminster Region Health Foundation for Project Sunrise. Written by Jessie Mann and Kristen Traverse.