As I walked through the door of our apartment, exhausted and sore and following my partner as he carried our newborn in ahead of me, I realized there were so many things I didn't know about the journey I had just started. I didn't know that I would be able to continue to function on little-to-no sleep, or how my definition of "function" would change. I didn't know that, even then, I was suffering from Postpartum Depression, and PPD would alter my experience as a new mother. Looking back, there are so many things I wish I knew when I was diagnosed with PPD; things that could have changed those first few weeks and months; things that, now, seem so obvious, but when I was weighed down by fatigue and stress and anxiety and the pressure of parenthood, seemed beyond my understanding and so far out of my already exhausted reach.
In fact, I have only recently started talking about my postpartum depression. To be honest, for a long time I was afraid to talk about PPD and how it affected my early months of parenting. I was afraid people would judge me and think I was or would be a horrible mother and assume I wouldn't be able to care for my son in the way he needed and deserved. I was afraid that my partner would no longer believe in my parenting abilities (not true) and my friends would think I had made a horrible mistake when I chose to become a mother (not true) and my son wouldn't love me, when he inevitably heard about his first few weeks of life and how his mother was depressed during them (I don't think that could ever happen).
Rarely is postpartum depression talked about openly and honestly and without stigma and shame, so all of my fears were able to manifest into a weighted cloud that kept me under the covers and silent and seemingly alone. Which is why, now that my son is close to turning two years old and I was able (thankfully) to get through my postpartum depression, I think it's important to revisit those weeks and months, and think about all the things I wish I had known; things that I truly believe can help women who are suffering from postpartum depression, now.