When I look back at the first few months of motherhood, I can't help but notice a few regrets. Of course, there's a learning curve to this whole mom thing, so I'm pretty kind to myself and understanding about the few (read: many) new mom mistakes I've made. However, I wish I would've ignored a few key pieces of advice (like sleeping when the baby sleeps) and I wish I was more transparent about my experience with postpartum depression (PPD). Sadly, I let the reasons why I was afraid to talk about my PPD cloud my judgment and keep me silent and, in the end, prolong a suffering I didn't have to endure.
The social stigma surrounding mental illness is no secret but I didn't realize just how powerful it was until I experience postpartum depression and felt the weight of certain expectations on my already-exhausted shoulders. Suddenly I was a mom with responsibilities and obligations and a standard to uphold and it all just seemed so overwhelming. I didn't feel how so many people told me I would feel once I became a mother, and the difference between what was marketed to me vs. what I was experiencing became obvious and, as a result, scary. I wanted help and I wanted to be honest about my feelings and what I was experiencing, but I didn't want to "fail" at being the mother I felt everyone expected me to be. So, I shut my mouth and buried my head and I did what is arguably the worst thing a woman with postpartum depression can do. I didn't say anything at all.
Thankfully, I had a very supportive partner and a concerned mother in my corner, who noticed the signs of postpartum depression and encouraged me to talk to someone and ask for help and seek treatment. However, it's painful to look back at those first few months of motherhood, remember the suffering I endured and realize that it wasn't, at all, necessary. So, if you're suffering from postpartum depression, please learn form my mistake. Don't let the following reasons keep you silent. Speak out. Get the help you need and deserve. You're not alone.