Those who are close to me know that I suffered from severe postpartum depression after the birth of baby girl. Some who are not close to me also know that I suffered from it. In the last year I’ve made it a point to get over my shame of having PPD and and have chosen to be open about my experience so that others (and there are many, many others) know that they are not alone; this bitch is real and it bites.
I have always been a sensitive, high-intensity-emotion kind of gal. I love fiercely, laugh loudly (or silently, when the hyperventilation has almost kicked in), cry at just about anything (including movie previews and diaper ads; you do it every time Pampers), and scream at anything I think to be hateful, ignorant, or scary. I also have been a perfectionist since the 8th grade when I started earning A’s in school. You can imagine how volatile this mix of emotional intensity and perfectionism was when PPD and a child with colic came onto my psychological scene.
The first year of my daughter’s life was terrible. Her colic and my fraught emotional state over not only PPD but the guilt of even having it made daily life a nightmare. I was supposed to be an all-star at this thing, the perfect grateful/joyful/serene/competent suburban mom with a baby who slept all night, drank breast milk, and let me put little-itty-bitty-cutesy bows in her hair. None of that happened.
(A side note: I often hear people say that to have PPD is to not appreciate the miracle of being a mother. To others around us at the time I often reply, “Careful not to step in the bull shit.” If you are suffering from PPD, you still love your child. Your brain just doesn’t love all of the hell it is going through.)
Now that my daughter is three (yes, it took about three years for both my health and hers to get totally on track) I feel like myself again. She sleeps through the night; so do I. She eats somewhat regularly; so do I. She still doesn’t keep bows in her hair; I still try to put them in when she’s distracted.
What I want to leave you with today, especially if you are someone who has had PPD/is suffering through it/may suffer through it the future, you are not alone nor are you a bad mother. This is a chapter of life your life; it too shall pass. Know that PPD survivors are surrounding you with love, understanding, and prayer. All will be well.