I was a 27 year old, strong, working woman, with the world before me. I had an amazing support system, a wonderful husband, an awesome job, and a brand new, healthy & beautiful baby.
And I had postpartum depression.
I was prepared for the first 3 months postpartum. My friends scared me to death talking about the lack of sleep and life I would have. They warned me about the crying, the difficulties and the exhaustion. I was ready for that. In fact, I crushed that.
I always thought postpartum depression looked like a woman sitting in the corner crying or have strong, unhealthy thoughts about her new bundle of joy. I thought postpartum depression hit the minute you arrived home from the hospital or that it looked like someone who couldn’t get out of bed.
I thought postpartum depression looked a lot different than mine did. But it is real and it can look a million different ways.
I went to work 12 weeks after I had my son.
And my brain didn’t work. I couldn’t control my emotions. I felt like I was in a fog. And overwhelmed. Beyond overwhelmed.
How could this happen? What did I do wrong? I just did a great job at owning what everyone says is the hardest part of having a new baby.
But it happened. And no one warned me this could happen. No one talked about postpartum depression as a real thing.
I felt like I would never feel normal. I would never be able to cope. I would never be able to actually function and do my job.
It was the absolute worst, and most helpless feeling I have ever felt.
No one knew how bad it was. I didn’t tell anyone I was struggling because I felt like admitting it out loud made it more real. I suffered in silence.
I am strong-willed. I always have been so I tried to make it on my own. I felt like I did something wrong to deserve this. I thought it was my fault.
Finally, after worrying so much that I would lose my job, I confided in my boss (she had had her 2nd baby 3 months prior to my son and struggled with PPD with her 1st). She suggested going to the doctor.
I sat crying at the doctor’s office. I didn’t tell anyone I was going. I was mad at myself for letting this get to me. I was mad that I felt overwhelmed and not blessed.
The doctor was great and he told me it was totally normal – that I should not feel ashamed or embarrassed. He told me I wasn’t weak and it was okay to feel overwhelmed – it was a huge life change. In fact, he told me I waited too long to come to him.
I hate medicine and didn’t want anything to hold me back but I knew if I didn’t get on something, it would hold me back. I am not advocating for medicine – it is what worked for me.
And it worked quickly. After 2 weeks, I could actually think. The fog I had lifted and I could function like a normal person.
It is an odd thing to share this broadly on the internet but I am convinced that if I can help someone – even just 1 person – sharing my story is worth it. You are not alone. You are not less than. You are not weak. You are an amazing mom, whose body just performed the ultimate miracle. This new life is hard. It is oh so hard. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. Talk to someone, talk to me (I’m happy to listen), go to counseling or see a doctor.
There is no shame in asking for help. We all need help at some point.
I am proof that you can adjust. You will survive and getting help works. It is okay. Don’t feel less than or like your body betrayed you. You will be okay. This too shall pass.
After all, having postpartum depression does not mean you are ungrateful for that sweet baby. It just means your body is adjusting. And there is no need to suffer in silence.