Written By: Sarah Pizzi, Women and Infants Day Hospital participant on February 6, 2023
On August 20, 2022, at 8:38 a.m. – after an induction, epidural, and exactly two hours of pushing, my husband and I welcomed Calvin William.
After losing two pregnancies, our rainbow baby was finally here. I experienced one of the best feelings mentally and physically - to have him on me, instead of in me.
Fast-forward to Calvin coming home - I spent weeks crying for no reason, healing physically, teaching my body to feed this tiny human, and trying to form a love and bond with someone I hardly knew.
My anxiety and depression were debilitating. I wasn't sure how I could continue on feeling this way. My team decided it was time for me to accept medication, immediately. For someone who had never struggled with mental or physical health, I hated the thought of medication, but knew it was now necessary.
I suddenly had a pharmacy in my kitchen; one that continued to grow as we tried to find what worked for me. At the same time, I tried every other remedy I could think of. I found a chiropractor and an acupuncturist and was driven to my appointments.
Every morning, at 2:30 a.m., my sleeping meds would wear off.
• Sitting with my seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lamp
• Listening to sleep stories and guided meditations
• Playing solitaire
• Watching TV
All this while trying to let my husband sleep. I knew everyone would be up soon and he would have to keep the whole house afloat for yet another day.
None of the remedies worked. For a time, I couldn't eat, drink, or sleep. I didn't have the energy to take care of myself nor Calvin, nor to do anything else. I had to stop breastfeeding and pumping; a part of my journey I never wanted to give up. I wanted to eat. I wanted to help. I wanted to feel better more than anything in my life before. However I physically could not.
We tried different and additional medications, and doctor appointments were scheduled almost daily.
My manic, anxious episodes became so bad we decided the Emergency Department was the best and safest place for me. I spent 14 long hours in a psychiatric hallway with nothing but a bed, plastic chair, and TV on the wall. I was finally accepted into an inpatient facility near my home in New Hampshire. This placement opened my eyes to the world of mental health - how affected our society is and how resources for it are so minimal.
After 24 hours it was determined this was not the right placement for my postpartum. I was sent home, and a few weeks later Calvin and I were admitted into Women & Infants Day Hospital program which specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety.
Calvin is now five months old, and I spend many days reflecting on where I've been and how far I've come. I'm able to take care of him on my own; I sincerely love him and want to spend all my days being his mom.
While I spent weeks not accepting it, the love I received through this struggle is undeniable. There are so many people to whom I owe my life. I am thankful. I am humbled.
While my road to recovery isn’t over, I tell my story to educate current and future moms. Your journey through conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum is unique. Society has convinced us that this process is effortless, flawless, and can be taken for granted. I'm here to tell you how far from the truth this can be. While beautiful, it is also raw and confusing. Remember to make time for yourself. Give yourself grace. Embrace each chapter. You are not alone. You are enough.
To learn more about the Women & Infants Day Hospital call (401) 453-7955 or visit: www.womenandinfants.org/the-day-hospital
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