Are you a mother feeling miserable when everybody expects you to be enjoying “the best time of your life?“
Are you tired like you never knew was possible, but when you finally get time to rest you can’t sleep because your mind is racing with worry and self-loathing? Do you feel guilty all the time? Do do you think you’re the only freak in town?
I made this short video for you:
You are not alone. Far from it. Maybe the freaks are the ones who don’t have a post-baby freakout. I don’t know a single one. (If I happen to know you and you had a smooth transition into motherhood, don’t tell me about it!) Because a freakout is the most normal and natural response to the avalanche of change and upheaval that is new motherhood (and fatherhood too!).
Yes, you’ve probably heard of the the baby blues, and if what you’re going through feels like it’s on its way out, then good for you*. You are one of the lucky ones for whom the baby blues does not progress into full-fledged PPD. That’s as it should be; things should start feeling better within a few weeks. But if you have been suffering for a longer period, chances are, you do have Postpartum Depression.
* Even if what you’re going through is “just” the baby blues, reading and learning about ppd and coming to meetings, if you can, are useful. The info and skills you will gather can prevent your baby blues from going downhill.
PPD is very common and under-diagnosed. About 15 percent of new mothers (more than 800,000 a year in the U.S. alone) grapple with it. That’s more than those diagnosed with breast cancer and stroke combined. Only 25 percent get treatment. The rest suffer alone, with devastating effects on their families. With proper support PPD is highly curable, but when things go terribly wrong it can be lethal.
The lack of awareness means most women go through this torture blaming themselves for being weak or bad. Guilt and shame tend to cause the most pain, and push mothers over the edge. So breaking the silence, educating the public, and creating community are essential for recovery.
And that leap of faith? It’s all about you. About having faith in yourself, in the process, and in your community. For those who believe in a higher power, that leap might be easier, but the leap is available regardless. The first step to getting better is to stop resisting and denying what is, accepting the challenge (it’s OK to accept it grudgingly), and embarking on your journey to recovery.
Are you one of us? I’m sorry you are hurting. You’re in the right place. Welcome to the sisterhood.
Things we talk about in here:
Motherhood . The cute, the mad, the lonely. The hard and the painful. The joyful, too. But mostly we talk about what’s hard, because there is so much of it, and not enough people talk about it. And after growing up in a society that displays a completely distorted view of motherhood, it’s no wonder you feel that if you’re having a hard time, you must be a bad mother. (This would be a good place to introduce you to the number one (#1!) sisterhood truth: there is no such thing as a bad mother. That is a judgment, not a person.) Bad mothers are like vampires: they’re scary, they’re fascinating, and they do not exist.
So come on over and join our conversation. We talk about pain, depression, sleep deprivation, loss: loss of our figure, of control, of privacy, of self. We talk about the beauty and the opportunity in breakdown (full post on this one is in the works for the blog). We talk about picking up the pieces and rebuilding structures that support you and your family throughout this most important and extended transition, and for the rest of your life.
Please post your comments. I love to hear from you. Did any of these ideas strike a chord with you? Ask questions, make requests; I will do my best to help.
Prefer email? Here’s the address: ppdtojoy (at) gmail (dot) com
Tweet me: @yaelsaar