Uh what!?! Why in the world would anyone think they’re a bad mom because of a real and true illness like postpartum depression?
Unfortunately when you’re trudging through the midst of it, you may not even know you need medical attention. Inside of the illness, “feeling” like a bad mom is very commonplace. And that guilt and shame can keep you from reaching out.
I know I felt like a bad mom, and at the time for what felt like very good reasons. Most days I was so overwhelmed parenting two children. I was endlessly on the defense protecting my newborn daughter from my terribly jealous 2-year-old son. I watched helplessly as he destroyed the living room as I nursed her, the dog barking all the while. It felt like a nightmare and I just wanted to wake up. I wanted to run away, fly right out of the front door screaming. What. Did. I. Do?
There were days when anger flared so quickly my fist would hit the floor hard just to release some of the rage. Days when all I could bring myself to do was stay in bed. When the stress built up so intolerably high that I would be physically, as well as mentally ill. My husband forced to stay home from work, again. When all I could do was ask myself through tears, why can’t I handle this?
I can NOW say with no guilt and no shame…
I am NOT a bad mom because I had postpartum depression and anxiety.
Period. End of story.
So how did I get to this place where I can honestly say that I am not a bad mom for having PPD?
I finally asked for help, and I got it. It took time and it wasn’t easy. But it was so worth it. Truly it’s not easy to reach out, but saying I needed help was one of the strongest things I have ever done. And now I know how important it is to continue to reach out and seek medical attention every. single. time. I need it. It takes constant vigilance from me and from my husband. But that’s okay. Life is better when I’m getting the help that I need.
Today with a 20-month-old daughter and 4-year-old son, I have more good days than bad, and that helps remind me that I’m okay. I can look at my children most days and be filled with a sense of love for being their mom.
I rarely want to run.
I rarely punch the floor.
I rarely need to stay in bed.
And it’s all because I sought treatment.
It was scary but so worth it to ask for help. I truly believe it’s never too late, even if you have a 3-year-old and are still not feeling yourself. Postpartum depression can hang on. It’s like gaining weight: goes on easy, comes off hard. But worth every second to focus on your health for you and for your family.
You are not a bad mom. You may feel like a bad mom today. But trust me when I say it is a temporary feeling. With the right treatment and therapies, you can get past it and walk right through postpartum depression and find hope. And maybe someday in the not-too-distant future, you will be the one telling your story and helping others.
You will be able to say. “I am not a bad mom because I had PPD.”
Period. End of Story.