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Why the Shame Around Postpartum Depression Needs to End

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I remember putting on a smile every day as if I was happy, when deep down I was not OK. I was far from being OK. Roughly one month postpartum, I began getting symptoms of postpartum depression.

I never thought I would be that woman who ended up with postpartum depression. I thought I would be the perfect mother and perfect wife after our baby was born, but that wasn’t the case.

My symptoms of postpartum depression were lashing out at my husband, our son and our dog. I was easily irritable, my patience was spread thin and I felt alone. I would always want to take a bath, and when I did, I would cry. I felt lonely, but at the same time I wanted to be alone. My son would cry and only want me (and sometimes still does), but I wouldn’t want to hold him because I was home with him all day and needed a break. I was also ashamed of my body and felt like I should have bounced back better than I did. I felt like my husband didn’t want me because I didn’t have the same body as I did pre-pregnancy.

I didn’t want to admit I was getting postpartum depression because I was ashamed. One day, my husband came home from work and mentioned it to me, telling me he believed I was getting symptoms of it. I agreed with him. It’s wild though, because I was about to mention it to him once he came through the door … great minds think alike? My husband worked, and still does work, long hours and is gone for over 12 hours a day and doesn’t deserve to come home to a witch of a wife. I finally had a turning point, though I am unsure of what it was.

There are a lot of things that can contribute to why a women gets postpartum depression, but I feel like I was being defeated by it due to not being able to breastfeed my son, hormone changes, body image issues and being a stay-at-home mom. I definitely noticed how much of a toll the symptoms were taking on my body — emotionally, physically and mentally.

Did you know women are at the highest risk of committing suicide nine to 12 months postpartum? I honestly just learned that myself and was shocked with those statistics. Honestly, I am scared of that statistic. I am scared to see how I handle being nine to 12 months postpartum.

I am currently six and a half months postpartum and have been pretty good. There are still times I lash out, have very little patience and want alone time, but I believe I am progressing. I never went on medications or saw a therapist, but there is nothing wrong with going on medication or seeing a therapist to help you! I can’t say that enough.

I am so far one of the lucky ones when it comes to postpartum depression and am continuing to strive to be the best mother and wife I can be. Without my supportive husband and family, I don’t know how I would have dealt with my symptoms.

Postpartum conditions are real.

Just remember:

You are not a bad mother.

You are not a bad partner.

You are not a bad person.

You are not alone.

Postpartum depression is not the end.

Do not struggle in silence.

Original photo by author

Originally published: January 16, 2020
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