The Wall Street Journal blog "the Juggle" recently posted a piece on going back to work after suffering from postpartum depression. It was written, bravely, by a Journal editor named Michelle Gerdes.
"I also struggled with what and how much to tell my co-workers and managers about my PPD. I worried that if I said too much I’d seem unprofessional, like I was blubbering about my personal problems, and it might open the door to questions about how I would be able to handle my job. PPD is widely misunderstood and I didn’t want my cube neighbors to be worried that I was going to break down on the job, throwing myself out of the window shouting “Pacifier! Where‘s the pacifier! Aaaaaaaaack!” Also, I didn’t want my managers to go light on me because they were worried that I’d crack.
So far, well up until this is published anyway, I’ve only told a few people at work about my PPD. Most of my co-workers were very sympathetic and supportive, although some seemed uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject. I’ve been back at work for a couple of months now and am really enjoying the business of journalism again and engaging in professional life. After this life-changing event I feel like I’m even better than I was before I had the PPD, both at work and at home."
What would you do?Tell your colleagues, or not? How about your boss? Howwill you get things done while still recovering from postpartum depression?
These are great questions, ones that I struggled with myself when going back to work 4 months postpartum while I was still in the throes of PPOCD. I only told a few colleagues — people I also considered to be true friends. I didn't tell my bosses because I didn't feel it was any of their business and because I worried about the stima, of course. I must admit I had a pretty hard time being at work while I hadn't truly recovered yet. In some ways it helped that I had something else to focus on, rather thanwhat I believed were myinadequacies at motherhood. In other ways it was tough because I had such a hard time focusing and really being present in my work. It's hard to write a marketing plan when you are so tired and confused and miserable.
For those of you that have been in this situation, what did you do? Did you hide your postpartum depression? Did you share it? Did you take more time off?