This is an interview with a woman who experienced postpartum depression. It is a two part interview, so please stay tuned for part two.
This interview is just a glimpse of what postpartum depression looks like for one person. Each woman will experience postpartum depression differently, but some of the symptoms and part of this experience might resonate with you.
*Please note that this story contains sensitive and triggering topics.
Samira Saleh: SS
SS: What number pregnancy was this?
I: This was my first pregnancy
SS: What was the pregnancy like?
I: This pregnancy was normal, almost perfect. I barely had any issues or difficulties with it. Out of all my pregnancies, this was the easiest one ever.
SS: Did you have a normal delivery?
I: No...It was everything, but normal. It was a complete nightmare that still hasn't gone away.
SS: Do you feel comfortable elaborating more about this?
I: The baby died... His heartbeat stopped...His heartbeat stopped at 19 weeks. I gave birth to him at 21 weeks.
SS: Were there any complications at the birth of your baby?
SS: When did you start feeling like something wasn't right?
I: I had a friend who was pregnant at the same time that I was. She started talking about how her baby was kicking and how she could feel little cute movements. It made me realize that I haven't really felt much lately. Still, I convinced myself that everything was probably okay.
As a precaution, I decided to go to the doctor to get an ultrasound so I can see the baby's heartbeat for the first time. My husband and I walked into the hospital pretty excited about the whole experience. I had a happy face on and was beaming from excitement.
As soon as the doctor put the ultrasound probe on my stomach, she had this worried look on her face. It almost looked like she was scared. I held my husband's hand tight and waited for her to talk.
She said three words I never imagined I would ever hear in my life, "No heart beat." She continued talking, but I could barely make out what she was saying. "Your baby is dead," she continued.
My first thoughts were, "this is a third world, war torn country, this doc has no clue what she's doing." I was certain she was wrong and had made a mistake. My husband and I left the hospital completely silent with no emotions on our face.
The next day we decided to get a second opinion at a different hospital. The second doctor told us the same thing. There was no heart beat and there was nothing they can do. They gave us some options and we started the process of removing the fetus from my stomach. The doctor initially gave me some pills to help ease things through. However, two weeks went by and nothing happened. I ended up staying in the hospital for two days. The doc tried everything, but this baby did not want to come out. I was told if nothing happened within 24 hours, they would perform a c-section to get the baby out.
At this point, I was feeling pretty terrible. I kept replaying the whole pregnancy in my head trying to figure out what I did wrong. How did I cause this to happen? What did I eat to cause this? Did I exercise too much? Did I run too much? Where did I mess up? I was certain that all of what was happening was 100% my fault.
SS: What happened next?
I: The baby just wouldn't come out.
I was feeling pretty hopeless and worried about the possibility of having a c-section. I spoke to a friend of mine and she advised me to keep reading Surat Al Zulzalah. I wasn't really sure what use this would be, but I kept reading it. I read it over and over again. I read it more than I've ever read anything else in my life. At some point, it started giving me a lot of comfort. It helped calm me down and subhanAllah the contractions started coming. They were coming very fast and very strong. The baby came... he came out.
After the baby came out, the first thing the nurse asked me was, "do you want to have another baby again?"
I was pretty shocked by the question, but I immediately said, "yes, of course."
She continued with her nonsense, "how could you have another baby after all this?"
The doctor then came in and informed me that I was never going to be able to have a full term baby. She said I had some type of rare condition where all my babies would die in utero.
I left the hospital and went to stay with a friend of the family. I didn't have a lot of emotional support and my husband wasn't with me at the friend's house. My parents weren't there, my in laws weren't there....there wasn't much support.
It really hurt so much when people came to see me and I had no baby for them to see. They talked, they gossiped... they were exhausting. The whole postpartum experience was very overwhelming.
People that visited were extremely unhelpful. They kept telling me that this happened for a reason and I need to keep my iman (faith) strong. None of that mattered. All I wanted was to know my son. To hold him. To touch him.
That's actually my biggest regret. I never touched him. I never held him. The nurse whisked him away and I never saw him again. The hospital buried him too... I even lost all the pictures that my husband took of him on my phone. I wish I had some closure with him. Anything really.
Click here for part two of this interview.