For the last month or so I’ve wondered if I had postpartum depression. It’s been confirmed that I do and it almost feels like a relief. And then it feels like guilt. I never thought that I would be a statistic 7 months after the birth of my second kid, but I was wrong. And I wish that I could say it was these thoughts or that event or this conversation that triggered it, but the thing I’ve learned about PPD is that it’s not. I can’t tell you what makes me sad. Its not one single thing that I can go address. But it’s also not everything. What’s causing it are my hormones multiplying like rabbits and then going on strike all in the same day. So as soon as I can figure out how to control my own hormones I’ll get right on turning my mood around on my own. Since it doesn’t look like I’ll be breaking any scientific codes in the near future, I’ve started asking for help. I thought I was doing better, but then my husband pointed out to me that I didn’t seem myself and that was the immediate red flag for me that I’m not doing better and those around me notice.
I’m not suicidal. My life isn’t a spectator sport. My kids still make me laugh, and I’m not crying every day. I would go as far as to say that I’m not crying any more than I would be normally. I don’t need a list of things that I “should try” or “should do” from people. I know exactly what I need to do: I need to get off of the couch, into real clothes, style my hair, and leave the house. But here’s the thing about PPD: some days that feels like running a marathon.
I tell you this for this reason: some days I’m a runner. I’m happy to pop off of the couch and have a reason to blow dust off of my jeans. But some days I need the cheering section at the finish line to pat me on the butt and tell me that I did a good job. I need people not to ask me why I’m not myself, but to not ignore it.
Postpartum depression feels like a failure. But not one that you saw coming, could control, or won’t get past. It happens to at least 10% of Moms after delivery and not a single one wanted it. So don’t be a jerk. Don’t be a Tom Cruise and criticize PPD as not being real. Be the Brooke Shields who tells him to F- off because it can happen to anyone. Be her.