5 Things I Want Every Mom With Postpartum Depression to Know
Motherhood can be overwhelming, and it can be downright scary when you’re holding your very own helpless baby for the first time. When I first became a mother, I had all of the emotions, but I was mainly happy — that little bundle of joy brought me so much happiness that I felt like I could explode. It came easy for me (except for breast-feeding) — the late nights that turned into early mornings, the swaddling and the constant demands of motherhood. I had it all together.
And then I had my second son and things felt different. So different. I didn’t feel pure happiness this time around. I felt a sadness so deep; I felt more anxious and worried. I remember laying up in the hospital bed after he was born and crying because I didn’t want to go home. I wanted to stay right there and continue to let the nurses care for me, but mainly for my baby.
I didn’t think that I could do it — take care of a newborn and a toddler — I felt completely overwhelmed. I felt angry. I was depressed. I had postpartum depression (PPD). According to WebMD, the early signs of postpartum depression include feeling sad or hopeless.
The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can start to feel like yourself again. The healthcare system fails us as mothers due to the fact that after we have our babies, we aren’t given any support or therapy surrounding postpartum depression. It’s not even really talked about. It’s like: here’s your new baby, good luck! There are so many emotions coursing through our veins and often more times than not, we feel embarrassed or shamed for these feelings.
Here are five things I would like to tell new moms that may be experiencing postpartum depression:
1. Having postpartum depression doesn’t make you a bad mom.
This was my first thought in the beginning and I’m telling you right now, you need to dismiss that from your mind, pronto. You’re not a bad mom if you don’t want to make a craft with your kid. You’re not a bad mom if all you can manage to do on a daily basis is feed and bathe your child. And you’re not a bad mom if you feel sad and if your baby doesn’t bring you complete joy. You’re not a bad mom.
2. Having postpartum depression doesn’t mean you don’t love your baby.
You can have postpartum depression and love your baby, even if right at this moment you feel indifferent. I’m here to tell you that it’s OK. I also want to tell you that if you ever have thoughts about harming your baby, that’s not OK, so please seek help if it is getting to that point.
3. Reach out to someone.
I assure you, there is always someone out there that understands what your going through, so reach out to them whenever you need to. You don’t have to go through this alone. There are also crisis hotlines (listed at the end of this post) that are always available to you.
4. It will get worse before it gets better.
I won’t sugar coat it — things normally get worse before they get better. I had a pretty low “low” with my PPD where I felt like things were never going to get better and my life would be in a constant fog. I want to tell you that it does get better. It won’t happen over night or maybe even a month from now, but there’s hope. There is a rainbow after the storm, and I can attest to that.
5. You have purpose.
You were put on this earth for a reason. Right now, you may feel like you don’t matter, but I want to tell you that you do. You’re in the trenches of motherhood and you probably feel overwhelmed and broken, but trust me, you have purpose. You are a warrior, a fighter, a strong and beautiful women! You have purpose, mama. You will be alright.
I wanted to share this with any new moms out there that may be at their lowest right now and to be a voice that says: You’re not alone!
Follow this journey here.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.
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Unsplash image via Julie Johnson