Keeping silent about postpartum depression helps no one.
This is becoming more and more evident as new generations of women grow up and have children of their own, grossly unprepared for postpartum depression. If life was tough for our mothers, we didn’t know it because they never said anything about it. Perhaps they were trying to put on a brave face for their children, like so many of us still do.
There are so many reasons we choose not to speak up about postpartum depression, but it’s clear that that needs to change if we want to put an end to it. Educating our children about mental health means raising adults who will be better prepared, in the event that it happens to them.
Elizabeth saw her mother’s strength after having children, and what a great example that must have been. But when her journey into motherhood did not live up to that, she felt as though she had failed.
This is Elizabeth’s story.
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Being the first born child, I saw my mother have three kids after myself and she almost seemed to glow. She had great pregnancies, no depression, no issues at all. I remember her taking us to Target four days postpartum to “pick up a few things.”
During my pregnancy, I read all the books and did everything right. I couldn’t wait to meet my little girl.
I had to be induced and didn’t have a great delivery.
After having her, I thought she would just latch and I would be able to breastfeed for a long time. Well that didn’t go as planned, I cried all night with the nurses panicking and giving her formula.
When I get home from the hospital, all I could think was, this is it? This is what I looked forward to for years?
I was crying all day, not wanting to touch my own daughter.
Pumping felt like a chore that I couldn’t handle.
I couldn’t imagine leaving the house.
I felt so alone, and my husbands family was asking me 20 times a day if my milk came in yet.
Postpartum depression was very real for me, and it’s what I fear most about my next pregnancy.
We can read every single book about pregnancy and motherhood, and we would still be unprepared for postpartum depression. Each person’s journey is different and it’s harder for some than it is for others. This does not mean that we are inadequate if we struggle more than the next person.
Mothers with postpartum depression are just as strong and loving as those without it. With treatment, therapy and self-care, maternal mental health disorders are entirely manageable. And the sooner we can remove the stigma around having postpartum depression, the easier it will be for us to accept that.