When I found out I was pregnant and started thinking about new motherhood and what it would look like, postpartum depression wasn't part of the picture. So when I found myself holding a newborn, crying for no reason, and feeling anything but myself, I was lost. What I thought would be a joyful time in my life, turned out to be difficult, scary, and sad. It's easy to look back and be upset that I was forced to endure something so debilitating, but I refuse to be ashamed of my postpartum depression. In the end, it's part of my mom story, has given me invaluable lessons, and has shaped the kind of mom I am today.
While I've been in therapy before I became a mother, I've never had a mental illness overtake my life the way postpartum depression did. I felt like I wasn't really living, but rather watching my life from the outside. There was a veil of sadness, exhaustion, and uncertainty that kept me an arm's length from my baby, my partner, and my support system, and that veil was reinforced by the social stigma attached to postpartum depression. I spent far too long suffering in silence, because I was so afraid people would judge my parenting the moment I said I needed help. Thankfully and luckily, my partner researched the signs of postpartum depression, knew I was suffering, and encouraged me to seek the help I needed and deserved. With the assistance of medication, a mental health professional, and people who loved me, I realized that not only was postpartum depression common, it was something I didn't have to hide.
That realization was not only life-saving, it helped me understand that I had nothing to be ashamed of. I can now talk about my postpartum depression with confidence. I can say this was part of my story, but it doesn't define me. I can speak with other women and feel connected to them instead of judged by them. So, no, I won't be ashamed of my postpartum depression, and here are just a few of the reasons why: