Katie Sluiter: On Hating Yourself During Postpartum Depression

postpartum depression, mental healthDear You:

I know you.

Whether you are a brand new mom, or a fifth-time mom, have feelings that something is not quite right …

Where you are a dad or spouse searching for answers or resources for why your lovely wife is being so damn mean or angry or sad or just … not the same lately …

Whether you are a friend or family member of someone who just had a baby and you think something might be “off” …

I know you.

I was that new mom who cried and raged and threw things, including hateful words, at the people who loved me most.

I was the new mom trying so hard to conceal the fact that I had nothing together even though everyone thought I had everything together. My baby was a mess. I was a mess.

It pains me to write this, but I didn’t like my baby. I didn’t like my husband. I didn’t like my mom or my family or my friends. But most of all? I hated myself.

I hated myself because I couldn’t do it on my own. And somehow I got it in my head that I was supposed to do it on my own.

It took nine long months before I found the symptoms of postpartum depression on a blog and felt like I was looking in a mirror. The only thing I had known before was that postpartum depression was feeling “sad” and like you didn’t want anything to do with your baby.

That wasn’t me, so whatever this thing was must just be me.

I could tell you the story of how I have figured out that it started with not bonding with my son after my not-planned, emergency c-section. I could also tell you about his raging case of colic. Or his digestive issues and our search for something to make him less gassy. I could tell you about the hateful, damaging things I said to my husband and my mother – the two people who love me most in this world. But I won’t, because I am going to tell you this: Despite all that, I got better.

Medication and therapy helped.

Now I am sitting here, eight weeks postpartum with my second son. And there is no hint of postpartum depression in sight.

Oh I went through some baby blues that were hardcore awful. They were clearly hormonal and occurred when my milk came in about three days postpartum and lasted about four days.

But one they were gone, I was myself again. Myself only better.

I had a new little guy who I couldn’t get enough of. Even now, I will quite freely throw all of my other responsibilities like cleaning, laundry and blogging aside just to cuddle up with him under my chin.

My first son made me a mommy, and after hard work and lots of tears, he and I have an incredibly strong bond.

My second son healed my heart, and even though he is on the outside of the womb now, we are practically one person.

My point is, YOU are not alone. Whether you are the one struggling or you are seeking answers for a loved one who is struggling, it is NOT a solitary struggle. And it’s not a prison sentence either.

There is hope. There is light.

The darkness is not forever, but you can’t get out alone. Reach out, get help and come back to the warm sunlight of motherhood.

You can do it. I am proof.

 

family of four


~ Katie
Katie Sluiter is just a small town girl…wait no, that is a Journey song. Although she does live in a small town. She is a wife, a mother, a teacher, and a writer. She and her family have joys and they have struggles. Just like you. Follow her on Twitter @ksluiter.
The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit 501c3 that raises awareness & advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider making a donation today, on Mother’s Day, to help us continue to spread the word and support the mental health of new mothers.
About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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Comments

  1. fantastic post about triumph on the other side. I experienced ppd after my 2nd and 3rd pregnancy, but not my 1st or 4th, go figure. Knowing there is help and hope is half the battle. Thanks Katie!

  2. “There is hope! There is light!”

    BOOM. Love you, friend.

  3. I love this. What an amazing message of hope.

  4. Katie ~ LOVED your letter! My favorite part was when you said at the end that the darkness is not forever, but you can’t get out alone. How true. We need the love and support of our family and friends to dig out and get back to the happiness that has always been there waiting for us. Thank you for writing today. Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo

  5. Robin | Farewell Stranger says:

    Your story gives me hope. Much love and happiness to you.

  6. What a powerful picture to end this post with…even your new little guy seems to be smiling. I am so happy for you, katie!

  7. That self hate is what I don’t really hear a lot of the medical professionals discussing either. This is an important point in discussing PPD — and you did it so well.

  8. Katie, your letter resonated with me. I hated the person I had become. I too said horrible things to my poor husband who bore the brunt of my anger. I am so happy that you are thriving after the birth of your little guy.

  9. You give me so much hope friend.
    You really do xo

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