The Mental Health of Motherhood

PostpartumLast week I was able to attend the Listen To Your Mother show for Raleigh/Durham put on by my good friend Keanne. It was beautiful and hearing all the women’s stories was so special. They were funny, caring, sarcastic and REAL. Motherhood isn’t all newborn snuggles and bake sales. It’s gritty and puts you up against some of the hardest decisions of your life {beyond nursery colors and to breast feed or not}. And while I truly enjoyed every performance, even the one about the potty training doll, I really latched on to the story from Ronnie Bower about her postpartum depression. I mean that isn’t really a shocking statement since I have a special place in my heart to help new moms battle such a terrible thing but her exact words slapped me in the face.

You see, that was like hearing my own voice. Really…read this. I have always been a positive, bubbly person and then to face the reality that a joyous event {birth} and just feel overwhelmed and some times just plain hate it, felt foreign and bizarre. I loved my baby but the world of sleep deprivation and hormones seemed like some ring of hell. Ring being the perfect word because you just kept going around in circles doing the same things every day. Rocking, shushing, jiggling…over and over and over. Slap on top of that the sentiments that “this is the best thing, being a mother” and “be sure to treasure these moments because they will be gone”, and the guilt pushed me further down. I made it out and lived to talk about it. Then it creeped back with Oliver but I knew the signs and got help ASAP. My new job here is to reduce the stigma and help more moms get the help they need. To make it ok for then to say they are having a hard time. A safe place, if you will.

So for all the new followers I have gotten lately, at home with your 4 month old babies who aren’t sleeping, I want you to know it’s ok if you aren’t happy right now. You aren’t a bad mom…at all. It’s ok to admit it. I know it’s hard…really really hard. To let go of the control and admit you need some help or just to say “THIS FUCKING SUCKS”. The mommy club will welcome you with fistbumps and a glass of wine because we FEEL you {oh how we feel you}. And admitting it isn’t rainbows and kittens only makes you a better mom. You might be thinking “I’m not sad. I’m not crying all the time” but that isn’t everything, you see. Postpartum depression and anxiety take tons of forms. Jill learned that with her second when her anxiety became crippling. Reading her realization she needed help is empowering and I encourage every one to take a look. Then just on Sunday, my friend Jen opened up about the same type of issues with her second and how the real education process needed is for EVERYONE to learn about it so there is less of a stigma for those new moms. I high recommend sending this to any families expecting a baby in the near future. The moms, the dads, the grandparents, siblings…ALL OF THEM need to read it. And there are tons of more stories at Postpartum Progress along with other resources to help you {really help you}. The internet is huge and filled with some crazy shit but it is also full of some of the best community you have ever seen. I’ve seen it work miracles over and over and it is there to help you if you will let it and know where to look.

If you want to talk about it, email me. I will respond as quickly as I can, I promise. You don’t have to feel alone…there is village waiting for you.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.

I honestly was going to write about something silly today but noticed it was Mental Health Blog Day and thought I would join in. You can too.

10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Mental Health Month Blog Day – Links Round Up 2013 | Your Mind Your Body

  2. LOVED this, Brandy. It’s true. If we moms don’t look out for each other then where would we be? Certainly not here, telling each other it’s going to be okay, that it gets better, that with help we can get better. Nicely done, mama. xo

  3. You are awesome and do such a beautiful job of putting information out there to help others. I don’t know what I’d do without mama friends to tell me it’s okay and that it will get better! Thank you for being one more voice and advocate for those searching.

  4. With my first I had it the entire first year but didn’t realize it until after the fact.

    With my second I was snappy and moody but I wasn’t depressed. I’m not depressed. But, I needed something to help stabilize my hormones. Hello Lexapro. You’re my new bff. I’m on a low dosage at 5ml and slowly weaning up to 10. And I can already feel a difference at 5 weeks in.

    This time, I knew what was up and sought help. I talked to my dr at my 6 week pp visit. He put me on Zoloft right away and I spent a week as a zombie. I took myself off of it. It took a few months, but I finally went to my family dr and said “Please help me not strangle my husband” (sidenote: she is also his dr so she thought it was funny). Instead of just prescribing me something, we talked and narrowed down which med would be best for me.

    The moral to my story? The same med is NOT going to work for everyone.

    • That’s good to hear. They recently stuck a bottle of Zoloft in my hands and I feel like I’m losing my mind. Like I have a mental browser window open with 600 tabs going all at once (let’s not even touch the lack of bedroom interest..). I have a week left of this “trial” before we re-evaluate things. I’m glad there’s other options than this supposed cover all pill.

      • Liz,
        If you are feeling this way… talk to your dr. Make sure you take control of things and tell them you aren’t happy. I would put a call in sooner rather than in another week if it’s really bad.

        good luck!

  5. Thank you for reading, understanding, and supporting. By being open I hope we can help someone. <3

  6. I suffered from Post natal depression with both my kids. With my first, I didn’t recognise it until someone said “I know you are sleep deprived and coping with all this new “being a mum” stuff, but you’re are being a total bitch! Wake up to yourself.” Not exactly the most helpful of comments. I never sought help and just soldiered on. When I fell pregnant with our second child, things were really different. I had all-day sickness, heavy bleeding and ended up on bedrest for a large part of the pregancy. That, along with finding out some awful things about a male family member who had been looking after my eldest (Talk about an “OH FUCK!” kind of moment!) while I was incapacitated, made it very hard to enjoy my pregnancy. I was happy enough to have a healthy baby at the end of it, but spiralled into a deep depression. I sought out councelling for the sake of my family, even though I believed it wouldn’t help. It made such a difference and allowed me to work though my feelings that, in the end, they didn’t even recommend medication. My life has been going along great and my youngest is almost 3, but I am feeling those familiar depression symptoms creep back in. I’m going back to my psychologist to hopfully get back to feeling normal again.

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