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By Sarah Jones
I had devastating postpartum depression (PPD) with both my pregnancies. It took complete control of my thoughts and located my deepest, darkest insecurities and turned them into truths.
It's become my mission to talk to new mamas and share my experience even if they don’t ask for it. You can read one of my experiences here. If I could, I'd get a tattoo on my forehead that says POSTPARTUM SURVIVOR so people would ask me about it and what it means.
1. Postpartum depression looks different for every woman.
I picture it as the ultimate “dementor” from Harry Potter. I felt like all of the happiness I was supposed to feel was completely sucked out of me and it kept on sucking for close to two months. And every hour of that month felt like a week.
2. You can have a perfectly normal pregnancy and still get PPD.
When I found out I was pregnant with my son at 24, I was scared but excited. My pregnancy was normal. I completed all of the postpartum pre-screenings like a champ. Sure I had struggled with anxiety and depression since I was in middle school but I wouldn’t be depressed once I had a baby! I was about to be overjoyed! Right? Wrong.
3. You don’t have to be suicidal or want to drown your baby in a bathtub to officially have PPD.
You aren’t any less in need of professional help. Also, if you do have those thoughts it’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person it just means you need help so don’t waste time beating yourself up about it, just pick up the phone and call your doctor, or simply head to your nearest emergency room, like I did.
4. Your husband probably won't understand.
My now ex-husband didn’t understand it at all. He didn’t believe in anxiety and kept telling me to “just stop worrying.”
5. You are not insane.
A human just exited your body and your hormones took a nose dive. All it means is that you need a little help from some medication to get those hormones back to normal.
6. It’s completely normal not to feel in love with your baby for awhile.
Some women feel that bond immediately. Those women can't understand how hard it is for a woman suffering from postpartum depression to hear those stories of love at first sight.
7. Identify your “safe person.”
For me it was my mom. I didn’t feel like I needed to pretend in front of her. My mom came with a small bag that had three or four outfits in it assuming she would stay a few days until I was able to get back on my feet. She ended up staying for five weeks. She forced me to eat because I had no appetite. She called my insurance company to find the therapist and psychiatrist who put me on the right meds. She gave my son the attention I couldn’t, and told me it was okay to take lots of naps.
8. Don’t hesitate to kick that damn door open and go to the hospital! (I kicked a door open to get my husband's attention.)
Just get help! If you broke your ankle you wouldn’t sit in your living room crying about what an awful human you are for having a broken ankle. This isn’t any different!
9. The mother you feel like you are right now is not the mother you are going to be.
My mother looked me in the eyes and said this to me, and made me repeat it until I believed it.
I know you feel like you aren’t meant for this. You think you’re failing and you feel like you won’t ever enjoy being a mom. I promise you this isn’t true. It’s horrible and dark and lonely right now but it will get better. One day you'll find yourself staring in complete amazement at your baby and trying to understand how you ever lived without him or her.
That day may not be today and that’s okay. It will come.
My son is 5 years old now and I have a 13-month-old daughter and they are the loves of my life.
Not sure if you are suffering from PPD, postpartum depressionSarah Jones is a mom of two little ones and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living in the eternal winter that is Connecticut. She enjoys writing about her life, especially the roller coaster that is being a mother, on her blog, Calling Out My Crazy. She experienced PPD after both of her children and has a passion for sharing her story and finding the funny wherever possible.
Photos by iStock
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.