Post-Partum Depression is Not a Character Flaw
About this time four years ago, my husband and I decided that we weren’t done with having kids. At the time, our kids were 5 and 8. We had some things we wanted to work on in regards to our marriage, so we waited about another year to start trying. Two years and two miscarriages later, I finally got pregnant with our youngest, Miss Crankles. When I had her I felt that all of my fears, anxieties, and depression would go away because she was finally here. However, I have found myself dealing with post-partum depression for the last several months. I haven’t discussed it a lot with most people because of the stigma associated with it, but it is because of that stigma that I think it’s time to break the silence so that other women will know they are not alone!
After my miscarriages, I was in a bad place mentally. At the time, I thought it was just grief. However, it could have been the hormonal changes as well. I didn’t get help at the time because I thought I would get over it. I thought if I did get pregnant with my rainbow baby that all those feelings would disappear as soon as I had her. They didn’t though. When Miss Crankles was a newborn, my husband had to leave soon after to work out of state. I was trying to nurse, and she wouldn’t latch. I hardly slept that first month because I was determined to pump milk for her. I didn’t have a lot of help. If I had to do it all over, I think I wouldn’t have worried so much about giving her breastmilk, and I definitely would have sought out a better support system. Even the few times I did have someone come over, I wasn’t even sure what to do. I felt bad for asking, and I felt I needed to play hostess even though I know the person came over to help.
I know I am not the only one that thinks that we should all be superwomen, but I think that mentality hurts us sometimes. Our houses don’t always have to be cleaned. It’s okay if our meals occasionally come from a box. We need a good support system. We shouldn’t have to do it all on our own.
I knew something was wrong with me about six weeks post-partum. However, I waited another month before I sought therapy. I really thought I could beat it on my own, and I was ashamed. I felt guilty because I went through a long process to have this kid, and I felt that my feelings made me look like I wasn’t thankful for her. Truth is, I love that kid and my other two kids dearly. Even if I could have foreseen the hell that I went through to have her, I would have still done it. I felt like I had done something wrong, that it was my fault, and that I wasn’t good enough. If you have ever felt like that, please know that it’s not your fault. Many women go through post-partum depression. While a lot of women seek help, others do not because they are afraid of being seen as weak or fear that someone will say they are not good enough mothers. If you have depression, you are still good enough. It’s not a flaw on your character. Getting help does not mean you are admitting you are a horrible person. Getting help means that you love yourself and want to get back to having a normal life.
I still have my days where I am not quite myself. However, it’s getting better. It’s a “one day at a time” type of thing. I have opened up to my spouse a lot about how I am feeling, and I find that it helps to have him by my side. I admire his strength to carry me when I feel like I am weak.
If you are having issues with post-partum depression, please know that you are not alone. Also know that you are still a good mother. Make sure you take care of yourself. Go to the doctor. If you need therapy, find a way. If you can’t afford it, try checking out charities that help women or your local church. Just remember that you are still worthy and a good mother!