6 Ways Surviving Postpartum Depression Ends Up Making You A Better Mom

Ad failed to load

When my son was born, I felt a giant wave of relief. I had been suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety throughout my pregnancy, and I had felt ambivalent toward the baby growing in me for the entire time. I was petrified that I wouldn’t love my son when he was finally born, but, thankfully, I was enamored immediately. He was perfect, and I was so happy he had come into our lives, despite my initial fears.

Several weeks went by, and while I had a bit of the baby blues, I mostly felt great. Because of my perinatal depression, I knew I was at higher risk of developing postpartum depression, so I was on pretty high alert for some of the signs. I was in love with my little boy, though, so I figured I was in the clear. I mean, my biggest fear had been that I wouldn’t love him, and since that wasn’t an issue, I just assumed I’d be fine.

Then, gradually, I began to get obsessed with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). I was sure that my son would get it, and I started to wake intermittently (and completely unintentionally) to check his breathing. Pretty much hourly, in fact. Then I started wanting to yell, scream, and hit people. Random people. These were pretty good indicators that something was amiss, and a visit to my overseeing psychiatrist confirmed that postpartum depression and anxiety had struck.

Ad failed to load

I was lucky. I was being monitored right from the outset, and my medical team (consisting of a midwife, GP, psychiatrist and social worker) were right there for me, when things began to feel...wrong.

Now, 18 months later, things are a lot easier for me. I still see my social worker regularly, and I still have moments where I feel overwhelmed, or low, or anxious, but there's a bit more space. I like to describe it as "padding," meaning, if something takes place that sets me off, I don't immediately respond negatively or fly off the handle. Instead, I'm able to take a brief moment and make sure I'm ready to react reasonably before I do (at least, most of the time).

So what other things have I learned from surviving PPD? If you've been there, some of this probably sounds familiar.

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load

When Someone Offers You Support, Take It


You don't need to be strong for anyone, or try to make it on your own. People offer help because they want to help, and you both win when you let them.

The Brilliant Truth Of The "Airplane Oxygen Mask" Analogy


In order to help others around you (namely, your baby), you need to help yourself first. That's why they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first if you're in an airplane that becomes depressurized. Same goes for you in your new role as a mother. Help yourself, so that you can help your baby. Any mom who's been through PPD eventually, unfailingly comes to realize how true this is at some point.

Feeling Terrible Does Not Make You A Terrible Mother Or Person


This was one thing some of the women in my PPD support group struggled with. They felt as though they were bad moms because they weren't enjoying every moment of parenthood. By the time you make it out the other side of PPD, you undoubtedly know this is simply not the case, and you deserve more than to put that guilt on yourself.

Ad failed to load

It's OK Not To Enjoy Being A Mother


There may come a time when you can enjoy being a mother, but if that's not in the first few months, or even a year, that's OK. After all, your baby won't remember what you were like then. Just focus on getting better, don't give yourself more reasons to feel guilty.

You Can Feel Awful And Still Successfully Take Care Of Your Baby


The reality is that you and your family will work together to keep your baby alive, with all of their needs taken care of. You may feel like sh*t, but you'll do it.

You Are Not Your Depression Or Anxiety


It may be hard to wrap your head around when you're deep in it, but you are more than this disease. PPD affects many women, and we eventually find a way to manage and hopefully get through it. Please, if nothing else, believe this: You are more than this.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills