If you’re been here a while, you know I’m pretty open about my struggles with postpartum depression. I was diagnosed soon after my son was born and thank God every day for my great doctors and the support system I had during that time.
Postpartum depression was one of the worst experiences of my life. The time after a baby is born we expect women to be overjoyed and beaming with happiness. I was nothing but sad, confused, lost, and angry. These feelings were especially highlighted by everyone’s expectation of my happiness, which was rather nonexistent.
Every time I see a pregnant woman or a new mom I say a prayer for them and their mental health. Being a mother is not easy, and being a new mother might be the hardest. Between new experiences, new identities, new hormones, etc., it’s a challenging time for even the most “prepared” of women. (I put “prepared” in quotes because no one is truly “prepared” to be a parent. That’s a myth we sell women.)
Because postpartum depression was so difficult for me and I felt like no one discussed it at all, I make it a point to talk about my experience now. If I can stand in solidarity with even one woman while she goes through this awful time, it’s worth it.
With all that being said, I have recovered from my postpartum depression. Again, I thank God for my doctors and my support system. I know many women suffer in silence or just lack basic help and I recognize my privilege in this area.
However, I would be completely lying if I said I did not think about my postpartum depression every day. My husband and I feel ready to expand our family soon and the idea of potentially going through this again is really quite daunting. Many studies show that women who have had postpartum depression are more likely than others to have the disorder after subsequent births.
For me, it’s kind of like a double edged sword. I know that statistically I am likely to develop the disorder and therefore can prepare better. However, I also know how terrible the disorder can be and genuinely am afraid to go through it again. I also need to constantly remind myself not to fall into a self-fulfilling prophecy and hope and pray for the best.
I didn’t write this post to be some sort of earth-shattering insight into postpartum depression. Rather, this is just a reminder to anyone curious that:
- Postpartum depression exists, even if we don’t always talk about it
- Many mothers are suffering in silence
- Even “recovered” mothers still reflect on this time
- Postpartum depression is something we worry about in the future
Not only is Mother’s Day this weekend, but May is also Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Yes, bring that mother in your life home some flowers (and wine), but also ask her how she is feeling.