What I Really Needed When I Had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
When I finally put two-and-two together that I had postpartum depression, I refused to tell a single soul.
I was embarrassed.
As a strong independent woman who needed nothing from no one, I could barely admit to myself that I was falling apart.
Then to admit that I needed help? Ridiculous.
And what would happen if I did admit that I needed help? Would I have to head off to a psychologist? A counselor who’d prescribe me medication that I didn’t want in the first place?
No way. Not going to do it.
To see a counselor was the ultimate slap in the face. It meant that I was afflicted with a psychological problem. That I was crazy. That I needed some medical treatment to fix me.
And for the love of God, I wasn’t broken. The pieces were still there. I just had a hard time holding them all together.
But in the moment, the only thing I could think of was how much I didn’t want that label. [ Side note: Am am soooo grateful this has all changed in the last few years and the stigma behind mental health is being lifted. ]
- I couldn’t have told you what I did need in that moment.
- I couldn’t have told you that what I was really scared of was being shamed.
- I couldn’t have told you that if someone would have told me how to heal in postpartum, that I wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place.
Ten years and four kids later, as a Postpartum Bliss Coach, I know exactly what I needed.
- I needed sound postpartum advice.
- I needed to know that I wasn’t alone.
- I needed to know how to heal my postpartum body, that my baby was normal, that I was a good mother.
- I needed permission to do what I thought was right but didn’t have the courage to do because society expected different.
But I went so long without any of that, that I fell into a deep, dark hole and spent years of my life trying to climb out.
Part of preparing for motherhood is also preparing for the physical and emotional shift after having a baby.
But our society has trained us to believe that it isn’t worth your dollar or time in planning to be a mother. That you are able to heal “just fine” without that extra help and support. That you will be able to go about life as “normal” after you simply “pop out a baby”.
Nothing is further from the truth.
Over 30% of postpartum mamas are experiencing postpartum depression and/or anxiety. That’s of the mothers who, unlike myself, have admitted it.
1 in 7 will experience an autoimmune disease of the thyroid in postpartum. That doesn’t account for the other autoimmune issues that arise during this time.
But most women will fall victim to such challenges because they weren’t given the tools and knowledge on how to care for their body.
They weren’t told that:
- Their body was in a state that produces fewer enzymes and therefore, was much harder for your body to digest raw veggies and heavy meals.
- In order to get the best sleep, her own sleep schedule and priorities had to change well beyond “sleep when the baby sleeps”.
- Their hormones are not naturally out of balance and that they control a great deal of their hormones.
With these statistics, it’s clear that this isn’t the time to skimp. This isn’t the time to be independent, to decide to hold back, to choose to do it alone.
This is the time that your children’s lives with be forever shaped by what you do and how you, as a woman and mother, approaches life. And you can’t give your fullest when you aren’t mentally, emotionally, or physically able.
Make the choice NOW to get real practical help and postpartum support. (And by postpartum, I mean in the YEARS after having had a baby).
Do whatever it takes to make sure your baby never has to have a mother with depression/anxiety.
Because, speaking from experience, the effects last a lifetime.
It’s not too late to reach for help.