Over the past few weeks, I have noticed an increasing number of articles about postpartum depression. I think this is amazing. Postpartum depression is something so many women have struggled with but never talk about. And hearing the personal stories of other people’s struggles makes you realize that this is far more widespread than most realize.
I have been very open about my personal struggle with postpartum depression. But it took a really long time for me to get up the courage to put it out there. I wrote my first blog post, let it sit in my drafts for a few weeks, reread and rewrote it, nitpicked over it, and almost didn’t post it.
Why? Because I didn’t want to be judged. I didn’t want the people I see each day, each week, or even once a month or year to know I had struggled with something so personal.
But why? Why was I so afraid? Because I was ashamed. I thought about the horrible things people would say about me. The comments made behind my back. The gossiping. The fact that people would think I was a bad mom.
I had the fact that I needed to be a perfect mom plastered in my mind for some unrealistic reason, and perfect moms didn’t have depression.
What a load of shit I was feeding myself. I eventually put my pride on a shelf and put my story out there. And I am so glad I did. It helped me come to terms with the fact that postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t make you a bad mom. It doesn’t make you inferior. It makes you HUMAN!
Since I spoke out about my experience, I have had a lot of other women get in touch with me thanking me for being open. And that is why I decided to write this post.
As most of you know, I am pregnant with baby boy #2. My little boy Henry will be three in June, and I am due with this baby mid-July.
My experience with Henry was absolutely terrifying. I don’t think the postpartum really set in until a week or so after my c-section. And I honestly can’t really pinpoint when it started.
What I do remember is complete and absolute fear and sadness. I sat in my bedroom for weeks and cried. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I wanted to sit in my room and cry. In some crazy way, it made me feel better. I didn’t want visitors. I didn’t even want to watch TV. I literally wanted to stay wrapped up in a blanket in a dark room and cry.
I would lay there and think about what a horrible, awful mom and horrible, awful person I was. I would cry if my husband asked me if I needed anything. I considered myself a total failure. I thought I would never be a good mom and maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this.
It took a lot of time, actually coming out of the dark room, stopping nursing, and starting working out and taking depression medication to get to feeling like the old me again. I only wish I had gotten help sooner.
The guilt it took me to stop nursing my newborn and start taking medicine was absolutely insane. But when I was finally able to take care of my baby boy with a smile on my face and love in my heart, I knew it was all worth it. I have told what feels like a million women that being a happy mom is far better for your child than nursing them.
That brings me to today. I am going to admit it. I am absolutely terrified that I am going to have that same experience again. When I have this baby in July, I will have a newborn and a toddler to take care of. I will have a three year old that is confused and will need his mommy. And a newborn that will need a happy, healthy mommy.
So I have made the decision not to nurse this child. This is a very personal decision. I have weighed the pros, cons and everything else possible. I did my research. But I know in my heart that I am going to be a better mom if I take precautions from the beginning.
We are all different. We all make different decisions. Our bodies and brains react differently to birthing a tiny little human miracle. No matter what your experience and your decisions, don’t ever be ashamed. Do what is best for you and your child and own it. Because you are an awesome mom, and you have to believe that.
Follow my blog at HashtagMomFail.com!
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National
Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free,
24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please
visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database