Below are some stories that women have shared with us. If you would like to submit your story to be published here, please send via email with permission to share.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING...STOP THE SHAME!
"When I was pregnant with my son I was so excited to be a mom. But when I went to the hospital not feeling well, and he was born fast it was not what I expected. He was with me for less than 12 hours and was taken to the NICU. I felt like I was in the hospital following surgery not having my first child. I cried every night even though I know he was in the right place. After we came home I still battled with depression. I could barely take care of myself and at times taking care of my son was too much and I didn't feel like it. I posted on Facebook one day how I knew I was taking control of my PPD. About 15 minutes later I get a phone call from a family member saying to take it down because I was looking for a job and even though it wasn't something to be ashamed of--it will show an employer I can't do my job. I was more upset. I had little support and still feel very alone!! PPD needs to be spoken about more because of the taboo behind it, no one deserves to suffer in silence. As a nurse we take care of someone having pain from things such as broken bones, and heart attacks, and headaches. But don't mention PPD because will be perceived as weak or just sad. As a new mother finding her way, the last thing I should be dealing with is sadness and if I do have to deal with sadness, depression and anxiety I should do so with support! Break the silence of depression and replace with smiles and giggles from your new baby!!!" - Mother with PPD
*Please note that in no way am I advocating for the no medication route--medications don't work for me in particular as I am sensitive to everything, so it's something I'm cautious of. I feel that every body and chemistry is different and different things work better for different people*
My son is 6 months old and in that time I have learned a lot of the unspoken truth about motherhood. Secrets that once you enter that sisterhood you only begin to learn of. Caring for your child is the easy part or maybe it is for me personally as I have a boy who only complains when he needs something. But everything else that comes within that territory is scary. No one talks about the pains of being a mom. No one talks about the demons you have to face that you never had or didn't ask for and that is the torture of postpartum depression.
I had a very rough pregnancy. It seemed that almost every week there was some physical issue that I was developing and it was a struggle. I cried A LOT. I panicked A LOT because the support that is offered during pregnancy is zero. I went from being self determining and confident to a skeleton of who I truly was. They tell you during this time of the "joy" you will experience about becoming a mom and that the doctors are always available with any question and not to be afraid to ask. But truthfully they aren't always helpful. In fact, there are times where they were more detrimental than anything and I would often leave the office feeling more hopeless than when I walked in.
During the early stages of my pregnancy I was diagnosed with antepartum depression therefore I was a prime candidate for postpartum depression. We knew once he was born that I was most likely going to have it and we just had to prepare ourselves for what was to come. So I did. I made lists of everything I knew that would help keep me sane and functioning. And this is when the OCD started, I literally had a ten page document about how I should be handled before, during and after my son's birth to prevent me from going off the deep end.
What most people also do not realize is there are different subsets to postpartum depression--obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety being the two prime candidates that I also suffered from. But, as well there is a postpartum psychosis that I am thankful to have avoided. Postpartum anxiety is SO common and a lot of new mother's often go undiagnosed and aren't even aware that PPA is an actual issue.
No one tells you that you could go from never crying to crying everyday all day long. And when I say cry I don't mean a gentle tear or two. I mean, sobbing hysterically, wailing on the floor as if someone was causing you bodily harm. Fears and emotions just come pouring out of your heart and eyes. The emotional pain you experience is petrifying and you can't control it. You want it to stop, but you can't. You do everything to try and ground yourself and it just makes it worse because the thoughts just don't stop. And you seek some type of shelter for it but, the world looks at you like, you are an awful woman, an awful mom. And...all you are trying to do is find peace and get this pain to stop so you can enjoy these moments, because they are only this age once. You only become a new family once.
No one tells you that you will panic about EVERYTHING. There is truly not enough space to describe every.little.thing you will panic about and its sad. And then, you panic about the guilt. About the time you lost with this insane disease. And then you start a grieving process and the sadness starts all over again. But, this time...you know it's fading. You know that in the near future it will be gone and that this emotional journey was only temporary. But, you will NEVER forget the damage it caused or the loss of time you will NEVER get back.
We shouldn't have to fight for that time. We shouldn't have to grieve that loss. But we do. And as that doctor told me "Yea, it sucks." But, instead of not doing something about it, LET'S do something about it and give the women after us some hope. - Nicole Llewellyn