This is hard to admit. I’ve shared parts of it with my friends, but I’m putting it out there for the entire world to read in hopes that I can help someone.
I have post-partum depression. Yes, even though Ben is 2, I still have it. Why, you ask? It started when he was born and got really bad when we moved to Mississippi and the entire time I was there. I ignored it, pretended like I was okay, but people saw if they looked close enough. People still see it if they really look. It’s there in the broken plans; the smile that doesn’t quite reach my eyes; the hot mess appearance; the mess of my house; the withdrawn behavior. I was and am too stubborn to admit that I had, yet again, fallen victim to it. Even now, I am ashamed. I am ashamed because despite our difficulties, I am very blessed. I am ashamed that I am not strong enough to fight it on my own, and I have to rely on medication. I am ashamed that even though my “baby” is 2, I am still fighting it. I fight every day to be happy and content. I fight every day to look at my blessings, not fall into despair, and to not compare my life to others. I fight every single day to wake up, get dressed, and to not collapse into anxiety or tears. Every. Single. Day. I am tired. I am tired of fighting it. I am tired of feeling like this. I am tired of relying on medication to make me feel like a happy person and not a ball of depression. I am ashamed. Every time my anxiety or depression makes me change plans, I am ashamed. I am ashamed every time I lose my patience with my kids over something small and petty. I am ashamed that I am letting PPD win.
Time for Change
It’s time for women to stop being ashamed. It’s time for society to stop putting a stigma on mental health. It’s time for women to build each other up instead of knocking each other down. It’s time for moms to have a village of support around them, instead of being expected to do it all on their own. It’s time for a change.
To the new moms out there: You are not a failure. You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are worthy of love, adoration, and support. You are strong.
To the families and friends of new moms, heck moms in general: Help them, even if they don’t ask. They probably won’t ask, because they feel like they should shoulder it all on their own. Don’t let them. Help. Even if it’s something small. Tell them how beautiful they are and how much you appreciate them. Tell them how they are a good mom and doing a good job. Be there for them. Be a safe place for them to break down and do not ever shame them for their feelings. Depression is a horrible monster and never makes sense.
Motherhood is the most rewarding job out there, but it’s also hard. It’s exhausting. It’s isolating. It’s overwhelming. Do not ever feel like you aren’t good enough, because you are. You are doing a great job. You are raising tiny humans to be contributing members of society. The rewards are small, but fulfilling. Focus on those, but also ask for help when you need it. Reach out to me. Reach out to a safe friend. Reach out to your support system. PPD is not something that needs to win. It’s time us women fight back and regain our strength. It’s time we stop being ashamed of something we can’t control. It’s time for us to be us again.