As a follow up to our Facebook Live this weekend where we discussed PPMD we thought we would repost a blog Deb wrote shortly after she started getting the help she needed for Postpartum Anxiety after her son was born.
In our society, we paint a picture of perfect mothers with perfect babies doing perfect things at the perfect time.
This is often NOT the real picture, and there’s no shame in that. Baby Blues are normal following that huge hormonal shift that occurs immediately after birth, but sometimes it develops into more than that. Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety, Postpartum OCD, and more are all pretty common in the first year postpartum.
A few weeks ago, I shared a post on my personal Facebook page about my personal struggle with postpartum mood disorders. I shared in hopes that someone that needed help and was too afraid to take that step would see it and reach out. A few people did do that, and I was able to provide resources to them.. but the largest response to my post was from people private messaging me and begging me not to commit suicide.
To be clear, I am in no way suicidal and I have exactly zero symptoms of psychosis. I have Postpartum Anxiety. It occurred to me in that moment that the response that I was receiving was exactly why so few women reach out or speak about their experience. My husband asked me if I wanted to remove the post, and I briefly considered it, but ultimately decided to leave it up. Sharing my struggle will help remove the stigma surrounding new motherhood + mental health. I shared in solidarity, and that will never change. This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced a Postpartum Mood Disorder, but this is the first time I’ve shared about it.
This is my story (shared from my Facebook post):
I actually feel a lot better now.
Everyone always says that we’re looking for signs like: not being able to get out of bed, not wanting to care for yourself or your baby, etc. Those were NOT my symptoms at all. I had those symptoms after Marlee, but my PPD was just one thing on top of other things I was already struggling with. My symptoms this time have been: being afraid to leave the baby in his swing while I went to pee because I feared Marlee would somehow get a knife that she never touches and run through the living room, trip, and stab him. Or… I lay awake until 3am playing through all the scenarios of ways he might die. Or, I startled awake 12 times a night to make sure he’s breathing. I am more quickly irritated by the older kids, things that would never matter to me in a million years (the repetitive sound of the blocks banging together) puts me on edge. I have my more emotional days, but it’s not presenting as debilitating sadness.”
My personal struggle better equips me to support other women through their Postpartum Mood Disorders.
If you think you might be experiencing a Postpartum Mood Disorder, please don’t be afraid to speak up. Even if you are just shooting us an email. We’re here to support you and to help you find the resources you need to get help. Remember that this is completely out of your control, you aren’t a bad mom, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you can work through this.
The silence we’ve created is deafening, but it doesn’t have to be.