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Kyleen on thinking postpartum depression couldn’t happen to her

mom taking selfie with baby - essay on postpartum depression

Content warning: Discussion of postpartum depression, birth trauma, domestic abuse or other tough topics ahead. If you or someone you know is struggling with a postpartum mental health challenge, including postpartum depression or anxiety, call 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (tel:18009435746)—The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline This free, confidential service provides access to trained counselors and resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, Spanish, and more than 60 other languages. They can offer support and information related to before, during, and after pregnancy.

I remember putting on a smile everyday as if I was happy, when deep down I was not okay. I was FAR from being OK.

Roughly one month postpartum, I began getting symptoms of postpartum depression.

I NEVER thought I would be that woman who ended up with postpartum depression. I thought I would be the perfect mother and perfect wife after our baby was born, but that wasn’t the case.

Related: When I tell you I have postpartum depression, here’s what I want you to know

My symptoms of postpartum depression were lashing out at my husband, our son and our dog. I was easily irritable, my patience was spread thin and I felt alone. I would always want to take a bath and when I did, I would cry. I felt lonely, but at the same time I wanted to be alone. My son would cry and only want me (and sometimes still does), but I wouldn’t want to hold him, because I was home with him all day and needed a break. I was also ashamed of my body and felt like I should have bounced back better than I did. I felt like my husband didn’t want me, because I didn’t have the same body as I did pre-pregnancy.

I didn’t want to admit I had postpartum depression because I was ashamed. One day, my husband came home from work and mentioned postpartum depression to me and told me he thought I was having symptoms. I agreed with him.

It’s crazy though, because I was about to mention it to him once he came through the door—great minds think alike. My husband worked and still does work long hours and is gone for over 12 hours a day and doesn’t deserve to come home to a witch of a wife. I finally had a turning point and I am unsure of what the turning point was.

Related: Spotting postpartum depression can be difficult. Here’s why you should enlist your partner’s help

There are a lot of things that can contribute to why a women gets postpartum depression, but I feel like I was defeated by it, due to not being able to breastfeed my son, hormone changes, body image issues and being a stay at home mom. I definitely noticed how much of a toll the symptoms were taking on my body, emotionally, physically and mentally.

Did you know that women are at the highest risk of committing suicide 9-12 months postpartum? I honestly just learned that myself and was shocked by those statistics and honestly, I am scared of that statistic. I am scared to see how I handle being 9-12 month postpartum.

I am currently 6.5 months postpartum and have been pretty good. There are still times that I lash out, have very little patience and want alone time, but I believe I am progressing. I never went on medications or saw a therapist, but there is NOTHING wrong with going on medication or seeing a therapist to HELP you! I can’t say that enough.

Related: Do moms really only get 30 minutes of ‘me time’ per day?

I am so far, one of the lucky ones when it comes to postpartum depression and am continuing to strive to be the best mother and wife that I can be. Without my supportive husband and family, I don’t know how I would have dealt with my symptoms of postpartum depression.

Just remember…

YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOTHER.

YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARTNER.

YOU ARE NOT A BAD PERSON.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IS NOT THE END.

DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE.

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