Episode 68: Lauren’s Story

Lauren Patterson shared the story of pregnancy and postpartum adventures for Episode 68. Lauren is a stay-at-home mom. She resides in Louisville with her supportive husband, domesticated dog, and two feral daughters whom she loves with every fiber of her being.

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Lauren spends her time negotiating with a toddler, rewashing the same load of laundry three times, feeding two small humans (one of whom literally sucks life out of her), cleaning the kitchen 9x a day, figuring out what she wants to be when she grows up, teaching her children how to speak and read and be functional humans, disposing of both human and canine poo, and checking her phone constantly for a human connection. Her hobbies include Pinterest fails, coordinating outfits based on breastfeeding accessibility, running (to the nearest liquor store), and using humor to deescalate the chaos in her postpartum brain.

Lauren can’t wait for the day that it gets “easier.”

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But on a more serious note (though, quite seriously, I love that Lauren has managed to keep her sense of humor even while she is still in the postpartum darkness), Lauren came on the show to talk about her recent experiences with antenatal (aka pregnancy) and postpartum depression. She had these experiences after the birth of her second daughter who is now ten months old.

Though Lauren is still a little in the postpartum forest, she is finally beginning to feel more like herself, or at least what her “new” self looks like.
Her adventures began the day she peed on a stick and saw the double pink lines, just three months after a miscarriage. She suffered antenatal anxiety and depression thanks to a traumatic pregnancy complicated by hyperemesis, biliary colic, pancreatitis, cholysticitis, and gallbladder attacks. (That’s fancy medical talk for “excruciating and never-ending shit show.”)
Lauren then had a semi-traumatic birth. Actually, “semi-traumatic” is what she told me in an email. But after hearing her story, I’d dare say it qualifies as “fully effing traumatic.” Lauren’s blood pressure bottomed out while pushing; she lost consciousness; the cord was double wrapped around baby’s neck; and she does not remember her daughter being born.
Lauren’s postpartum journey was even darker than her pregnancy. She experienced severe postpartum depression, PTSD from her pregnancy, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks, disassociation, and suicidal ideation.
Lauren went through this Hellscape of Terrors That Just Wouldn’t End despite having an incredibly support system. She had an amazing therapist from the first day of her pregnancy, an awesome doctor, a mother who’s a saint and who lives 5 minutes away, a husband who took charge of her health when she could not, and so many wonderful friends and family members who wanted to help, and yet she STILL suffered tremendously.
Lauren writes, “I am lucky. Had I not had them, I cannot honestly say I would be here today. Which is why postpartum mental health NEEDS to be a priority, and NEEDS to be taken seriously by healthcare professionals.”
AMEN.
Lauren has also written some personal essays for Scary Mommy. If you are interested in reading more snapshots of her journey, there is one HERE and another is right HERE. (These were written before the shit really hit the fan during her pregnancy but I think they are fantastic.)
Lauren’s first daughter is three years old. That pregnancy was textbook, labor and delivery was superb, and her postpartum journey was “rainbows and unicorn farts.” (Lauren, I love you!) The 16 months Lauren spent in a barren wasteland of despair after the birth of Daughter #2 was quite shocking.
Thanks, Lauren, for coming on the show! I can’t wait to have you back to hear about your further postpartum adventures.