Postpartum depression (PPD) is a challenging experience, to say the least. Not only do you have to deal with the burden of those overwhelming feelings (which can be nothing short of relentless), but you have to do so while recovering from the physical trauma of giving birth, being sleep-deprived, taking care of a new life and adjusting to a change as drastic as parenthood. That's why it's so important to understand all the reasons why PPD doesn't make you a bad mom.
Despite those of us who are fighting the stigma (we like to call ourselves Warrior Moms), the myth that new mothers should only be joyful (tired, sure, but still joyful) continues to be endlessly perpetuated. Not only do you have hormonally-driven depression to deal with, you simultaneously have the guilt of feeling like you aren't living up to society's bullsh*t standard of what it means to be a new mom, or how you should feel now that you are a new mom. It's the perfect storm, really, and one that you can easily lose yourself in.
I feel pretty lucky, as far as my experience with PPD goes. My midwife was able identify the signs of prenatal depression and anxiety early enough to get me into a treatment program while I was still pregnant. We weren't entirely sure whether I'd develop PPD once my son was born, but I knew I was at higher risk, given my prenatal depression. When the PPD did hit, I was placed in a support group with six other women, and my social worker and psychiatrist spoke with me extensively about whether or not I should go on medication. During this entire process, I experienced numerous moments when I was overcome with guilt, thinking I wasn't the mother I imagined I would be. With time and treatment, though, I was able to understand that I wasn't a bad mom for suffering from this disease.
I'm not sure if I would have believed someone telling me that without my treatment, but I think it's worth repeating, regardless: you're not a bad mother if you suffer from PPD, and here are just a few reasons why: