The other day, someone I didn’t know reached out to me and complimented me on how brave it was that I am so open about my experience with postpartum depression.
I was flattered, to be honest. But the only thing I could think to say back, besides thank you, was that I wish someone had spoken out about it before I did.
I know doctors talked about it in articles you could find in mental health magazines. There were some celebrities that had discussed their situations. But no one sat my pudgy pregnant little ass down and said, “Okay, you have a history of depression. Here is what you need to know about what happens after you deliver this baby.”
I wasn’t reading mental health magazines prepping myself for what I would think was the “baby blues”.
What a difference that would have made. I could have saved myself a lot of tears, a lot of dark thoughts, a lot of grief, and a s**t ton of doubt.
Doubting if I was good enough to be the mom of this beautiful baby boy.
Doubting if I was letting my child and my husband down.
Doubting if I was meant to be so lucky.
Doubting if this is the life I was supposed to be living.
Doubting if I should actually get out of bed.
Doubting that I was doing this whole thing the right way.
Doubting that anything would ever change.
And scared sh*tless that absolutely everyone would tell me I was overreacting.
That’s exactly why I didn’t talk to anyone about my postpartum issues. I was doubting everything. And I was scared. Of the stigma. And scared of people I love looking at me in a light that was anything but the perfect mom I had envisioned I would be.
I was absolutely terrified that if I got out of bed, picked up the phone, went to the doctor or even told my husband, that I would be labeled as a bad mom. A mom that wasn’t good enough to have an amazing, sweet, precious baby boy like the one I had. I thought people would look down on me. That they would call me “crazy” or “insane.” I worried that they would think I was an unfit mother.
Looking back, I spent about three weeks in bed, in the dark, crying, pumping, nursing, changing diapers, sleeping, repeat, repeat, repeat. The days rolled by and I didn’t know day from night. I didn’t care to know. I was flat. Sad. Depressed. Unmotivated. Scared. Doubtful. Insecure. Lonely. Undeserving. And unable to express any of those emotions because it took too much energy.
At that time, I was not the mother that I wanted to be, but I was NOT an unfit mother. My baby boy was getting all of his needs met. He was being fed and changed.
And I did love on him and snuggle him. But most of the time that I was loving and snuggling him, I was crying and apologizing to him for not being the mom he needed and deserved.
Thinking about that now makes me so sad. The mom he needed was in there, she just needed some help finding herself again.
I did eventually find myself, and saw the light at the end of that scary, dark tunnel. But it took a long time and a lot of soul searching. And a lot of convincing myself that all those doubts were just that, doubts. None of them were true.
So I decided that I needed to share my story. And I think that a lot of people have benefitted from hearing it.
I’m not telling anyone to start a blog and post all their failures as a mom for the world to read, but if you have experienced PPD, or Postpartum Anxiety—which I also think I had or any other postpartum issue, don’t be scared to talk about it. It is so much more common than anyone admits.
And I can promise, if you share your experience, you will feel a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. And you could possibly help save a life. The only thing it can do is help. But mostly, I think it will help you.
Until next time,