I already wrote about postpartum depression once before, but I want to mention it again for two reasons:
- I have a lot of friends who just recently had babies (not their first), and let me just tell you PPD is a whole different beast with subsequent births for a myriad of reasons.
- In dealing with my own depression, I have relearned the value in speaking up and showing up.
Show of hands, who experienced this sneaky devil? One in five (1 in 5) women will deal with PPD/A on some level. Sometimes it’s “baby blues,” sometimes it’s really terrifying thoughts and fears, sometimes it’s lack of motivation, sometimes it’s lack of desire, or worse, sometimes it’s the most untrue lie that this world is better off without you. If you have any of these thoughts, even for one second, call your bestie and call your doctor.
If you can’t call your doctor, make your bestie call her for you. Set up a system of checks and balances when you can because when you are in the deepest, darkest throes of it is when it is the absolute hardest to ask for help. Sometimes help just means a shower, sometimes help means a fresh meal, sometimes help is an appointment or meds, but always help is important. Find help.
You’re not struggling? You lucky dog — help a friend. Text her, call her, talk to her, show up at her door. She will thank you later (or she may not, but better safe than sorry). Find someone to help.
I am not saying this to toot my own horn, I’m saying it to toot the horn of those who showed up, literally at my door, with a bag of snacks when I was in over my head and didn’t wanna see people. It showed me they knew to tell me I wasn’t alone and they weren’t scared. As women and as mothers, we fear and flee from the idea of being a burden on someone else, all the while carrying the burdens of others (sometimes just keeping a small adorable burden alive). No, I don’t regret or resent any of my children, and I’d do it all again for either of them and even for some more, but it is HARD and it is REAL.
Speak up. I kept all my struggles to myself because I was afraid my daughter would be taken from me, or my husband would leave me, because I would be deemed crazy and unfit. Instead, I suffered alone and in silence and in fear, and now by sharing hopefully we can help one another. Did I have thoughts of harming myself or my child? No, thank God, no, but some do, and it’s STILL NORMAL, but it means you need help. It’s a normal occurrence but it’s not a normal feeling, so call someone.
I promise, your doctor will not take your baby. I promise, your friend will not think you are unfit or crazy. Chances are, she will sit next to you and hold your new baby and cry with you because she knows, and she sees you because she sees herself, too. Call her.
This post has no point except that I’m feeling this for all my mom friends right now, and the struggle is real — you can have Jesus and a therapist, and modern medicine for antidepressants is God’s grace. Go there first, try the oils later.
I love you, mama. You are safe here, and loved. Tell me, did you or do you struggle with this, and how did you get help? How can you pay it forward for a friend who may be struggling?