Postpartum Depression Isolates
originally posted jan 26 2021 on facebook & instagram
This is my mom
In a time with such limited opportunity for support, my parents' physical and emotional presence was a huge part of how we survived the transition to having two children during COVID.
While they were there, I was dealing with intense postpartum depression, but I didn't tell anyone. I didn't tell my parents. I didn't tell my husband. Even though they would have listened and given me a hug and been there with and for me, I didn't tell them.
I thought about it, but there was too much in the way.
The shame I felt that I didn't feel love for my child was too strong to admit out loud. To admit to myself, even.
The fear that I was hurting my child was too terrifying to give a name to.
The depression made me withdraw into myself. It told me lies, like I was alone and there was no hope for anything to change.
More than that, depression takes away your ability to think. To feel. Things that may seem simple (like that my parents would be able to support me in my depression) totally evade consciousness.
Actually, I didn't even realize I was dealing with postpartum depression. I thought it was baby blues. I kept waiting for it to just lift. And it didn't.
I felt a heaviness, a despair, a sadness, and I felt totally alone in it.
I was suffering and I needed help and support and also I completely hid what I was dealing with and didn't tell anyone I what I was dealing with.
Depression-- mental illness in general-- is so hard because part of the illness is that it makes you isolate yourself. It makes you pull away from your normal supports and people who lift you up in normal times.
And this isn't because you are weak or stupid or stubborn. It's because you're dealing with a real and terrible illness.
It isn't because your loved ones aren't good enough or intuitive enough or trusted enough. It's because your brain is tricking you into hiding what's happening from them. And that's no one's fault.
If you can, let someone safe in. But don't blame yourself if you can't. Keep trying.
You're not alone in this. I promise.