Do not dismiss postpartum depression with a shrug and an eye roll, Ms. Albert. It affects one out of every seven women. Ms. Elisa Albert wrote a book After Birth that I will definitely not be reading. Her main premise is that women do not have enough support for the choices that they are making. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement and the overall theme of her book. Based on an article with the Guardian, she then contradicted the primary theme of her book as she heaped judgement and shame on women who choose medication as an option to treat their postpartum mood and anxiety disorder.
I recognize the responsibility that I have as a Warrior Mom and as a mental health advocate. I am not a trained professional. I offer support and encouragement to moms who are struggling. I share what worked for me to simply encourage a mom who is struggling to have as many options as possible. Medication saves lives; my medication saved mine. My medication was one of the tools in my toolbox. I utilized many tools in my toolbox to help me recover: therapy, online peer support through Postpartum Progress, support from my friends and family, exercise, proper nutrition, sleep, journaling, singing, and sharing my story with other moms.
Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders manifest themselves differently because each mom is unique. What worked for me may work for a friend, but it may not. Making blanket statements does a disservice to all moms. Ms. Albert made this statement. “The only people I know who did just fine in the postpartum period are those who score the triumvirate: well cared for in birth, surrounded by supportive peers, helpful elders to stay with them for a time.” Guess what Ms. Albert? I had all of that, and I still struggled. I spent my entire pregnancy anxious and depressed. With time and perspective my family and I have been able to pinpoint how these symptoms manifested themselves immediately after I became pregnant. My antenatal depression manifested itself in irritability and rage. I had support from both my mother and my mother-in-law while I was on maternity leave for three months. I had a supportive network of friends and family. I still struggled for seventeen months until I finally got the help I so desperately needed. My baby girl was seven months by the time I realized that I was not getting better. Do not speak for me or for the community of Warrior Moms. Let us tell our stories.