In the three months since Cullen was born, I have been lucky enough to not feel any of the traditional signs of postpartum depression. To be honest, it was something I was a bit nervous about, as I’m a naturally anxious and intensely emotional person. After babies are born, there is so much emphasis on the mother’s health – healing, nutrition, lactation, postpartum fitness, and hormones.
But rarely do you hear anyone ask about the mental health of new mothers. And when taking care of a new baby, mental health is probably the most important of all, right?
Mental health is something that people are often afraid to talk about out in the open. It’s okay to be healing slowly, and it’s fine to have lactation problems and seek help from as many professionals as possible. But if you’re feeling depressed, or spending hours and hours each day crying? My guess is that most moms feels like they need to keep that to themselves.
Like I said, as it turns out I’ve actually had a wonderful experience with motherhood so far. But I’ve also come to understand exactly why and how many moms end up experiencing some form of postpartum depression. Motherhood is a beautiful, enriching, and often indescribable experience that only other moms can fully understand. But it can also be isolating and very frustrating, and it can take you to the depths of emotion you didn’t know existed.
For every one thing I learn about my baby, I learn two more about myself. Most of those things are good, some of them aren’t, but they are all things that will help me learn and grow as a mother. Having dealt with anxiety before, and with a history of depression in my family, I know that it’s so important to share all of my feelings – both the good and the bad – with the people closest to me. Because without my mental and emotional health in order, my physical health can only take me so far as a caretaker. It’s important to remember that the “health” of a new mom is not just physical, but rather something that effects her whole being, as well as the whole family.