Infertility After a Postpartum Mood Disorder

I had my first child 12 years ago. She was very planned. I always thought I would have two kids about two years apart. This changed when I got severe postpartum depression, OCD and Anxiety with my first child that almost ended my marriage. We eventually worked things out and my husband wanted more kids, but I was not sure I wanted any ever again after what I went through. As I got older, and it started to feel like we might soon run out of time to have more kids, I started to want more, and not just one more, maybe even two or three. I was no longer scared of getting a postpartum mood disorder again, and even if I did I knew everyone around me would know what to do this time. I have my OCD and Anxiety under control for now, and even in the worst of moments now, I want more kids, there is no longer any doubt ever, whatsoever. Unfortunately, once I finally got to that point, I had trouble getting pregnant.

The first time I tried to get pregnant, I was 25 and it happened in less than 2 months.  Years later, I would be trying again in my early 30’s with no luck. I went to the doctor after a year of no luck just to check for the common reasons. The ultrasound came back okay, but the blood test revealed my progesterone was low. I found this interesting since low progesterone was linked to postpartum depression. Was the same thing that caused me to get it, now causing me to be unable to get pregnant? So here I am, not only dealing with infertility, I was also dealing with bad painful acne I did not have even have as a teenager, three week periods most months, and what I felt like was a lot of unexplained weight gain. You would think maybe the solution to this was progesterone,  but the only solution they offered was Chlomid, a fertility pill.

There seemed to be no concern about my other symptoms, just the infertility. This fertility pill has a lot of side effects, one main one being your chance of twins increased by 10 percent and your chance of more than twins by 1 percent I believe. Your chance of having twins or more already increases with age, even if they are not in your close family. I was already dealing with so many crazy things going on with my body, I was not quite ready to try it. My doctor said I could come back and try it if I ever wanted to, but since I had a child before with no trouble and was still pretty young, there was still a good chance I could pregnant without it. As I do with everything, I researched and to do this day still do not know what caused what. Did my weight gain cause my progesterone to lower or vice versa or maybe both, a viscous cycle? A friend of mine who is a midwife once told me the low progesterone was still a symptom of something else, still not the cause, so what was the cause? If postpartum depression was the cause, how come I was over it but my progesterone was still low?

Eventually, I got back on birth control for a short time to try and resolve the three week periods, painful acne and some other symptoms, and it helped. I had to get on a different kind than before though because I had always taken the pill, but it was starting to seem to make my back and neck pain worse. I came off of birth control again and have been trying again since 35, and I am now 38 and still not pregnant. Before you think maybe I am trying so much I am stressing about it and not getting pregnant, like people who get pregnant as soon as they adopt, when I say trying, I really mean more like not not trying. When my husband and I decided to have Aubrie, we basically just decided to come off the pill and let it happen when it happened, and it happened pretty quickly. These days I find myself caught between, maybe I am too old now to get pregnant the same way I did at 25, but if I try too hard won’t the stress possibly still stop me from getting pregnant?

I have also never had the desire to go through a lot of fertility stuff and neither does my husband. I mean no one obviously wants to, but I mean so much so that if we had trouble the first time I would have rather gone straight to considering adoption. I would have honestly rather adopted anyways, but my husband does not feel the same way and I have yet to change his mind. I think he would have the first time if we had no other choice, but now that we have a child, even though he wants more, he would rather not have anymore than adopt. I have known the man 24 years and still cannot explain why, because he cannot even explain why himself. I have seen him change his mind about other things that shocked me though, so I have not completely given up hope that he will one day come around to it.

For those of you wondering, yes it feels odd to not be able to have more children after one point wishing my only child away, thinking I regretted having her and thinking I did not want anymore. There was some guilt for a while, but I don’t feel it anymore and I definitely don’t think I deserve this. I thought working at the preschool might help with the baby fever, but it only made it worse, and now I am missing my work babies like crazy during this pandemic. They were at least filling that void in my life, and I mainly kept children the ages my postpartum depression was the worst, so I was getting to enjoy the ages I missed out on so much with my first child.  In the last 6 months, I have lost 24 pounds and am still losing.  However, I still weight 31 more pounds than I weighed when I got pregnant the first time.  I am hoping if I continue to lose weight, maybe I will be able to get pregnant again.  If I ever do, you know I will be blogging about it in the future, so keep your eyes out in future blogs…..

Bio: Amanda Dodson Gremillion published her first book in 2012. She began revising it in 2019 and republished it as Just Buy Her A Dress and She’ll Be Fine. The story chronicles her experience with severe postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. Amanda is a graduate of Auburn University, and now lives in Calera, Alabama, with her husband, Jay, their daughter, Aubrie, and their two dogs, Honey Girl and Cooper. She hopes to write more books in the future. Follow Amanda’s journey on Facebook,  or twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaGremilli2 and order her book here.  Also, follow her on the Mighty here Amanda Dodson Gremillion | The Mighty Contributor

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