When I first told my grandmother I was diagnosed with postpartum depression I could hear in her voice that she already knew. She then proceeded to tell me of her experience. She talked about what she felt after having every child, and the pain she was told to hide. My grandmother had my mother at the age of 16, and had 3 more children in the years proceeding. Her last child, my uncle, was diagnosed with epilepsy and spent the first years of his life in and out of the hospital. You see, my grandmother didn’t have time to dwell on her symptoms. She put everyone first, and still does to this day. She came from a generation of women who were told to show up and shut up.
I speak about my postpartum depression for HER.
For the many women who came before me that couldn’t speak about what they were going through.
I tell my story so that my friends will know they have someone to talk to if that day ever comes for them.
I share my experience for my daughter.
I do it for you.
I do it for the mom who is scowering the internet wondering if she’s the only one who feels this way, because I WAS YOU. I was there, and I still go there from time to time these days. Maternal Mental Illness doesn’t have an end date. Doctors can tell you when the majority of women “feel better” but they’ll never tell you how to get to that point. But the women that surround us, the ones who came before us have the answers. They’ve lived through it, witnessed it, and power on. For a long time I thought of my illness as a weakness. A constant reminder of this horrible time in my life. But on a day like today, when things seem “normal” again I’m reminded where I’ve been. I have a scar that I wear proudly because I’m a survivor.
To the mom who is struggling,
cries all day,
feels an immeasurable amount of rage,
can’t sleep at night,
who is numb,
lashes out at her significant other,
who is in a fog,
who wonders why she doesn’t love her child like the other moms,
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
If you or anyone you know is suffering from maternal mental illness I encourage you to visit Postpartum Support International for support.