A new mother posted a question about postpartum depression over at Yahoo the other day, and her words really struck me. She is six months postpartum, and this is part of what she wrote:
“I’m moody, I’m sad, I’m grumpy, my sex drive dropped from a 10 to a 1, I’m gaining weight, I’m stressed, I can’t sleep! And this list goes on and on… And my life is fine, I’ve gone over it a million times. My relationship with my husband is fantastic (other than the me not wanting to have sex), my daughter is the light of my life, money is tight, but not overly tight, and everything is going good. I don’t have a reason to be like this! And it’s driving me nuts, I want my life back. I’m normally such a happy person, I’m not used to being like this and it’s taking a toll on my health seriously.”
I’ve been over it a million times, she says. “I don’t have a reason to be like this!” It makes my heart hurt.
Just because your life is generally good doesn’t mean you don’t have a reason for having postpartum depression or anxiety. Maybe your reason is genetics. Or a family history of mental illness. Or a bad childbirth experience. Maybe your reason is … in fact, you don’t have to have a reason at all. It’s an illness. You don’t have to feel bad if you can’t come up with what you would consider a good enough excuse to have postpartum depression or anxiety. You just don’t.
If you have it, you have it and it’s not your fault you have it and you didn’t do anything to make yourself have it and if you could just get rid of it by doing more or doing better I’m certain you would have done that already.
Please don’t feel bad that you are in this position, as though you just aren’t grateful enough for what you’ve got. What you have is temporary and treatable. Just reach out for help. We’ve got your back.