A Tennessee mom has shared an honest post about her experience coming to terms with postpartum depression, and what she’s doing to help other mothers.
On March 26, Ashley French (known as The Wino Workout Wife online) posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook showing her and her son, Colby, on his first birthday. In her post, the mom of two, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, questioned how she could feel sad when her kids, or “miracle blessings,” brought her so much “unspeakable joy.”
The reason was postpartum depression, which French was diagnosed with in July 2016, four months after welcoming Colby.
“Postpartum depression SUCKS,” French wrote in her post. “It’s [sic] comes and goes like the East Tennessee weather, and leaves the damage of a tornado for me to try to pick back up.”
At first, French was in denial that she had postpartum depression. She told The Huffington Post she didn’t fit what she thought was the “classic mold” of a depressed person.
“I didn’t feel like doom and gloom all day,” she said. “I had no appetite changes. I had no negative or harmful thoughts of myself or my children. Those were all things that I thought postpartum depression was.”
French’s symptoms included feeling anxious and becoming impatient with even the tiniest mishaps. She also had intrusive thoughts she couldn’t control.
“One minute I’m watching the news, and the next thing I know I’m imagining my life with these two children if my husband died. That’s not normal,” she told HuffPost. “I became anxious in my ability to take care of two children, I started to doubt my abilities to be a mother, and I started to become a parent I didn’t want to be.”
Now that she’s been diagnosed, French has committed to speaking openly about her experience. She told HuffPost that before her diagnosis she didn’t know anyone with postpartum depression, but now has heard from many moms who have offered support.
She has also been inspired by a book titled “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. It motivated her to make herself a priority by having “me time” in the mornings. She now wakes up an hour earlier to give herself a pep talk, visualize her day, work out for 30 minutes, shower and have a cup of coffee before her kids are awake.
“You have to fill your own cup before you can properly fill others, and this morning routine allows me to do just that,” she said.
French has invited moms who “struggle with the day-to-day battle of making time” for themselves to come together for what she calls “Miracle Momma Morning.”
“It’s starting next Monday, April 17, and is open to anyone, no matter location,” she said. “There has been a great interest in it so far, especially from other mommas who crave that ‘me time’ in their day, and just haven’t been able to find it yet.”
French told HuffPost she has also dealt with an eating disorder in the past and has had multiple miscarriages. By being vocal about these experiences as well as her postpartum depression, she wants to encourage other women to not feel ashamed for experiencing any of these things. She has also vowed to keep fighting the stigma surrounding postpartum depression.
“We need to talk about this issue and bring it to the light so that mothers know they don’t need to suffer in silence.”
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