Postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety — you either know it or you don’t. Before I had a baby, I remember hearing about new moms who shook their babies and wondered, “HOW COULD THEY?” However that first night home with my new baby, I suddenly understood. I never actually shook my baby or caused her any harm, but that doesn’t mean that the thoughts and fears didn’t find their way into my sleep deprived, chemically and hormonally imbalanced brain.
The scariest things about postpartum depression and anxiety are the macabre and horrifying thoughts that pass through a new mom’s mind, and how perfectly logical they seem to her. In retrospect you’re horrified that you could ever think anything like that towards your baby, but at the time … at the time you just want a release at any cost. I asked some of my closest friends, all survivors of postpartum depression or anxiety, what their darkest thought was when they were in the trenches. I started off by admitting mine, and as the answers poured in there was so much support and solidarity. Although we all had such different experiences, we all understood what it felt like to be defeated and tricked by our own minds.
It’s important to understand these are survivors, women who made it through to the other side of postpartum depression. As I talk to moms about their experiences with PPD/PPA one of the biggest regrets is the guilt they feel towards the involuntary thoughts that invaded their minds when they were at their weakest. To type out these confessions felt otherworldly for all of us, but if it helps even one more mom feel less alone then our vulnerability is worth it. These confessions come from moms of all ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds and life circumstances, PPD/PPA is not selective in who it tries to ruin.
From one of the contributors:
Thank you so much for starting this thread. This is fascinating, gut wrenching, and cleansing. I am so grateful for the honest responses here, and all of you mamas floor me; I am in tears with love for you all.
If you’re currently struggling with postpartum depression, or think you may be, please visit Postpartum Progress for information on getting help, getting back and feeling better. Because you will feel better.