Due to the increased focus on censorship in the media, I feel inclined to speak on the normality of postpartum depression. It may not feel normal, nor seem normal, because of the stigma attached to it, but it happens, and we shouldn’t be silenced on the topic, simply because it might make others feel uncomfortable. A few things to remember:
1. There is no qualifying level for PPD; in other words, just because you don’t feel like inflicting harm upon yourself or your child does not mean that you are not suffering from PPD. If you feel tugs of insomnia, withdrawal, panic attacks, mood swings, or fatigue, you just might be experiencing PPD.
2. Hormones, y’all. Hormones. These things are like tiny little aliens inside our body that we have no control over. It’s bad enough that our hormones go nuts with minor changes in our body. Enter pregnancy, and you’ve got a circus going on.
3. Let’s talk a bit about Dad. He’s that big guy in the corner of the room who seems to be staring into outer space half the time. Truth is, he’s probably thinking of ways to cheer you up, or possibly doing something special for you. But- he’s at a loss. He doesn’t know what to do or say. Now, before you think, “man, this crazy lady is adding to my stress,” I bring this up to remind you of your options. Talk to him. He may not have gone through the roller coaster pregnancy the way you did, and he may not understand completely, but he can be a good support system for you. Sometimes, we just need someone to talk to.
The bottom line is, you are not a bad person, or mother. It doesn’t help that the media loves to demonize mothers experiencing PPD, by labeling them “crazy” or “psycho.” Each mother has her own story, her own journey. This is why it is important not to censor these experiences. These stories add to our repertoire of motherhood experiences, and help others come forward and seek help. Most importantly, remember that everyone is different; while some mothers might just need a break once in a while, others might need more extensive treatment and that’s ok. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid to seek help. Do what is right for you.