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Dark - Darkness.
Those are some of the words people threw back at me on my Facebook
Page and Twitter when
I asked them to play word association with Postpartum Depression.
Most people have two images in their head of what Postpartum
Depression (PPD) looks like. The listless sad mother, unkept,
sitting in the dark crying, unable to do anything. Or the cold
faced pychopath that did the unthinkable to herself and or her
I have had PPD with all four of my children and while on some
days I may fit the first image more often than not I just came off
as a angry bitch with a short fuse.
Yep, on top of being sad and depressed and having scary
intrusive thoughts I was angry. Want to feel like a really bad mom?
Just have your temper flare up and get angry at a newborn. Yep,
sometimes my baby's cry would make me shake with anger. Why wasn't
anything working? What was I doing wrong? Why won't you sleep!
PPD is a tricky beast. It's a shape shifter that changes you and
changes in you. Sometimes it's scary and dark and sometimes it's
sad and weepy. Postpartum depression looks like the mom next door.
The mom with the frazzled hair who maybe snaps at her kindergartner
getting out of the car or gives a scowling look to her partner. It
also looks like the mom who has it all together and shows up
smiling dressed and showered at a school event two weeks
postpartum. I've been both, and that mom that looked totally put
together? She could barely get out of the house because of the
anxiety on her chest. While she stood there smiling her heart was
beating out of her chest and she was digging her nails into the
palm of her hand.
Every few months a story comes out that pushes PPD into
mainstream news. A horrible tragedy or a celebrity who tweets
something about being blue, and suddenly everyone is talking about
it and making speculations.
While many times these stories make me cringe as the tend to
reinforce stereotypes. The good thing is that it forces people to
talk about it, think about it, have it in their conscious. It's
cliche, but the more you know about PPD the better prepared you are
to get help, to tell someone. According to
JAMA Psychiatry, 1 out of every 7 mothers (14%) will get
Postpartum Progress sites an Australian study that puts it
closer to 20%.
What I know is that moms are struggling.
I struggle, my friends struggle and every time I write about my
struggles someones says 'me too'. Yet we are afraid to talk about
it to each other, afraid to tell our doctors, friends and
So I keep putting it out there. I keep talking about it and
telling others it's okay. Motherhood will change you, and that's
okay. However if after six weeks you are still feeling really off,
talk to someone! Too many moms are suffering and too many moms are
Melissa is mom to 4 kids and 2 angels. She chronicles the sticky bits of motherhood at Peanut Butter in my Hair.
See more of Melissa's stories here.
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