Cilicia M. irby
I was born one of four children in West Philadelphia in a not so good/not so bad neighborhood. I grew up in a two parent household where we got by with decent means like the average family. Tragedy struck our family when we lost our father in 2003. One of our siblings, who already suffering from postpartum depression then took a turn for the worst, was diagnosed with bipolar and paranoid schizophrenia.
I did my best at maintaining my independence and adulthood. I worked various jobs, took college courses, obtained my Associates degree in elementary education. Took several courses in Business Administration/Entrepreneurship but moved on to obtain a certificate in Therapeutic Massage. Shortly after, that craft was put on hold after landing a new job, new marriage, and conceiving my first child in 2012, all after relocating to the state of New Jersey, at the age of 31.
After the delivery of my first child, my postpartum began my last night in the hospital. Fear consumed me as I looked into her eyes and felt I was all she had in this world and if something happened to me or if I didn’t measure up, she would be doomed. After going home, I still felt alone to care for this child and that was not the case. My husband and live-in niece was there every step of the way. I sought out professional consults and the result was low dose antidepressants. They immediately took over my overall being and made things worst and totally off balance. I slept at odd times during the day, and was up all night. Had a poor appetite, gagged at certain foods, endured the jitters/heart palpitations and still cried over motherhood.
I then knew it was time to end those pills and fight through this depression. I weaned off the pills and then completely stopped. It took a lot of prayer to help me feel better and rebuild me to the woman I was back in 2003. That experience lasted about 2-3 months.
I delivered my second child in 2016 and was sure to prevent having postpartum. I made sure to get rest, remain close to family, and get help every chance I could. Low and behold, I experienced it heavily when I had to return back to work. My return included a bit of a commute. So dealing with the traveling, working eight hours, coming home going straight to sleep left hardly any time to spend with my 3 year old and newborn baby. It left me with the most saddest and incomplete feeling in the world. My sleep was all thrown off, long distance driving to work was scary, as I felt off balanced and worried about crashing, falling asleep, or running off the road. All when I should’ve been reassured that everything was okay and that God’s got me.
To this day, I still feel bouts of anxiety and worry, but my new mantra “Loosen Up and Live” simply helps me get through the moment, do the best I can, and be the best me possible. I am a work in progress. I am far from perfect. While I have a voice and the experience of anxiety and depression, I feel I can reach out to others in need by spreading this message. If at any time you feel you are in danger or need professional assistance, do not wait. Seek help immediately!!!