Postpartum Depression Shouldn't Make Moms Feel Ashamed

sad momIt doesn't surprise me that there's still enough of a stigma associated with postpartum depression that many moms don't seek help.

Postpartum depression is an illness, but we treat it as a character flaw, a personal failure. I know the shame women with PPD feel, because I've been there myself.

I'll never forget the despair and self-loathing that marked the postpartum depression I went through after my daughter was born. I knew it was "normal." All the baby books listed it as a postnatal symptom right alongside engorged breasts and fatigue.

But nothing prepared me for the reality ...

Advertisement

I loved my new baby more than I'd ever loved anything on the face of the earth. I was beyond lucky, and I knew that. That's why I couldn't forgive myself for feeling like I was emotionally at the bottom of a deep, dark well, fighting to keep myself afloat. That's really the best way to describe it ... for me, postpartum depression was like falling. And falling, and falling, and having no idea how to climb my way back up.

I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to take care of my daughter, but I was even more terrified to admit that to myself. I was less afraid of what other people would think, which is why I didn't wait very long to make an appointment with a therapist once I realized that I needed to see one. In my case, the "stigma" was self-imposed. I can't help but wonder if it's not the same for other women ... we expect so much of ourselves, we want, more than anything, to be the "perfect" mothers to our new babies.

But we're not perfect, and that's okay. The first step in getting over postpartum depression, for me, was accepting that fact, and realizing that I could be a good mom in spite of my own personal limitations.

My heart goes out to moms who are going through this incredibly difficult time. I can promise you that it won't last forever. The sooner you get help, the sooner you'll start to feel better. You deserve to feel better.

Did you go through postpartum depression?

 

Image via Bryan Gosline/Flickr

Read More >