Postpartum depression & anxiety is the epitome of grief, strife, and angst which slithers and knots its cruel intentions through every inch of your body & soul. It's a predominant force in the daily life of mother's suffering with PPD, relentlessly taunting its innocent victims to an extremely lonely, dark breaking point.
Feeding psychologically, this tenacious monster's very existence depends entirely on its host; much in the same way as a parasite does.
PPD causes an ever so exhausting atmosphere of stricken dread and despair, you begin to ignore your own well-being resulting in the fast paced deterioration of your mental & physical health. You are relentlessly bullied to surrender to its cruel darkness.
However, you can also fight with everything you have to be that person you once enjoyed...the person you thought was gone forever.
During my pregnancy I suffered immensely from prenatal depression and anxiety. Immediately following the birth of my son, prenatal depression seamlessly handed off the baton to postpartum depression.
I cannot even begin to tell you how crushing it is to know that for nine months I did everything in my power to provide a safe, warm home for my little one, only to be conquered by this disgusting illness .
Societal norms have ingrained expectations which tend to paint a whimsical new mother "fairy tale", portraying all new moms glowing with the utmost happiness. For many mothers (myself included), we are denied this beautiful euphoria.
Darkness, melancholy, hopelessness; are all emotions which are none you would ever expect experiencing immediately following the birth of your child. How many times have you seen fairy tales written about new mothers suffering with PPD?
I will never forget walking out of the hospital thinking to myself, "how in the world am I going to be able to take care of this precious baby 24/7, when I'm not even capable to take care of myself and handle my emotions?"
As I look back on all of it now, PPD robbed me of some of my life's most precious moments with my son, moments that I can never get back. I don't think anyone can truly imagine how heavy and painstaking this has left my heart and always will.
According to the American Psychological Association, Postpartum Depression is defined as “serious mental health problem characterized by a prolonged period of emotional disturbance, occurring at a time of major life change and increased responsibilities in the care of a newborn infant.
PPD can have significant consequences for both the new mother and family.”
Postpartum depression is real and yes, PPD is an extremely serious illness and by no means should be taken lightly. This isn't an illness that can be slept off in a few days, it's there for the long haul. Refusing to admit that something is wrong, won't make it go away, it just denies the help that you need. The more you overthrow these feelings and emotions, the less you're are actually working towards confronting these emotions.
In order for proper healing to occur at a time filled with immense darkness, you really need to acknowledge PPD as a part of yourself.
There is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of exuding unpleasantfeelings.
The stigma placed on PPD, remains one of the main reasons that mothers do not seek help. I've found that most people who have never experienced PPD, never come close to truly knowing what a woman with PPD goes through (or someone with any form depression for that matter).
Due to the direct result of living with PPD, I've witnessed first hand, exactly how mothers are treated and not taken seriously by others. People knew what an out-going, social person that I usually was and it was obvious that I no longer possessed these characteristics. Instead, I was blatantly avoided by some and advised to cheer up and brushed it off by others.
It makes me sick knowing how insensitive and ignorant people can be. #Sorrynotsorry, no I won't be fine, thanks for not caring and making it even more difficult to fight PPD.
Thee absolute worst way to handle a mother desperately looking for any kind of support and relief, is by brushing her and her issues off as nothing (now go back and read the last sentence again for the sake of its importance; read it ten times if that will help you remember!)
I can promise you with all certainty, if you belittle the situation or have the nerve to call her crazy; you are only causing her depression to consume her that much more. A mother suffering from prenatal or postpartum depression not only needs medical treatment, but crucially needs people to listen attentively to her and putting forth effort to understand what she is going through. Provide them with a shoulder to cry on and or give them a hug, because it is so extremely important for these mothers to know that someone cares.
I am so fortunate to have an incredibly wonderful husband that did all of these needed things and far beyond more. One of the things that I found to be the most unbearable, was being home by myself. I dreaded the days my husband went to work and counted down the seconds to his return.
According to research, PPD can last for up to a year after giving birth. As much as I would like to tell you that postpartum depression just magically went away exactly year after giving birth to my son, that would be a flat out lie. My son is just about to turn three years old and unfortunately PPD still lingers, just waiting for me to put my guard down.
When I realized that PPD would stay with me in one form or another forever it was very upsetting, how could it not be? This is the point at which I realized that I really needed to figure out an effective way to cope with my illness. Slowly trudging through this long hellish journey with such a disgusting beast on my back, with each day I started feeling a little better... a little stronger.
I started taking one day at a time.
I realize that there will be positive days and of course there will be unpleasant days. I've learned to live with depression while still being able to function like a human-being again. I have organized these uncomfortable emotions and now deal with life in a healthy manner. No longer do I let it overwhelm me, I neutralize it; letting the darkness dissipate. I will not let PPD intimidate and control me any longer.
Painstakingly timeless, maternal mental illness isn't a new phenomenon by any means. I truly hope that if you have gotten anything from this article, I hope that it has opened your eyes to what a disgusting illness PPD can be.
For those of you that have never suffered from PPD, I do hope now that you are more informed and realize what you need to do: look for the signs, listen with intent, understand that PPD is a serious illness that carries a long battle. With utmost importance, love these mamas with ALL your heart because the love from others will help them in their fight.
To the tired mamas suffering with PPD or think they may be suffering with PPD, you DO have a choice and you should not feel obliged to suffer alone. Please don't be afraid to talk about your feelings and thoughts. It is not your job to worry if or what people might say or think, that's their problem. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can be a wonderful form of self-therapy.
Most importantly, speak up, make people listen and understand. Please don't hesitate to contact me. If you would like to share your PPD story with me, I would love to hear from you. Help me find others like myself. YOU can do this...WE can do this together! <3
*If you found this article inspiring, informative or helpful, please show your support of PPD awareness by sharing this article with the ones you love and care about. Xo