Lindsay Maloan: On Why A Mother’s Arms Are Home

postpartum depression, mental healthDear New Mom,

Those shiny sitcoms and commercials that are flashing before you right now? They aren’t real.

You are real.

These waves of emotions rushing over you, pulling you along like a current…happy, sad, overwhelmed, uncomfortable, tired, elated, lonely, conflicted. They are real. They are normal.

Darling, I wish you well
On your way to the wishing well
Swinging off of those gates of hell
But I can tell how hard you’re trying….

You don’t have to feel confident or competent all of the time.

You don’t have to like your husband or boyfriend or partner all of the time.

You may not like yourself all of the time.

::Whispers:: You don’t even have to like your baby all of the time.

The dislike will ebb and flow, leaving behind beautiful tide pools filled with snuggles, slobbery kisses, unexpected compliments, beauty, and love.

So much beauty. So. Much. Love.

This thing you’re doing is the single greatest thing you will ever do. It may not feel that way right now. You’ve given this world a beautiful gift, a genuine part of you.  To that little cooing (or screaming) ball of sweet-smelling confusion that relies on you for everything, you are perfect. Your arms are home. Some days, that may not feel like enough. You may not feel like enough.

You are.

Motherhood is very much like treading water. You can do your best to keep up with it, but eventually you’ll need to give yourself a break and float on your back and let the water carry you a little to the left of your spot on the shore.

I just have this secret hope
Sometimes all we do is cope
Somewhere on the steepest slope
There’s an endless rope
And nobody’s crying…

My postpartum depression and anxiety went undiagnosed for six months, despite my protests to my doctor. Pay attention to the next thing I’m going to say. You do not have to accept no for an answer.

Surrounded by support, I still felt so alone, except for my son. For those long months, the world spun around me, confident in my ability to fall into motherhood naturally, which I did. What I couldn’t do was be a mother on top of everything else I was used to being. My husband became my last priority, even though he did everything right.

I finally found doctors willing to listen to me. My husband and I repaired the cracks in our foundation. I’m more genuine and confident than I have ever been.

You can’t always control the way your brain behaves in times of trial. That doesn’t mean you’re broken or a failure. It means you’re human. It means you’re normal.

Which, in my opinion, is beautiful.

May you dream you are dreaming, in a warm soft bed
And may the voices inside you that fill you with dread
Make the sound of thousands of angels instead
Tonight where you might be laying your head.

Darling, I wish you well
On your way to the wishing well
Swinging off of those gates of hell
But I can tell how hard you’re trying….

“Wishing Well” lyrics by Patty Griffin

~ Lindsay

Lindsay is a master multitasker juggling motherhood, full time work in the science field, blogging, and too many hobbies. She lives in her native New Orleans with her husband, 17 month old son, and two diva dogs. She blogs about life and battles the stigma of PPD at www.withalittleloveandluck.com . You can follow her on Twitter @lilloveandluck

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 creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director 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 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think

Comments

  1. Thank you for this. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to struggle. You are so amazing for writing this and I’m so glad that you manged to overcome so much.

  2. Robin | Farewell Stranger says:

    This is beautiful, as are you. Beautiful and true.

  3. Lindsay ~ your analogy of how motherhood is like treading water is so true! I think we so often forget to give ourselves a little break and float, and the next thing we know we’re sinking. Thank you for sharing your story. You give hope to others who may be in the same boat. Happy Mother’s Day! xoxo

  4. I love your writing, Lindsay, the way it flows and carries such a powerful message. Much love to you.

  5. yes. this is lovely. we just have to feel our feelings…all of them.

  6. This is my favorite thing you have written. This is amazing. I want to print it out and hang it on my fridge. Thank you.

  7. I think telling new moms that they are real is the most genius thing. Ever.

    Kudos.

  8. Yes. Ebbs and flows. Ups and downs. I thought so much with No1 that everything had to be great…that I had to feel great all the time and love/like her all the time. It makes a huge difference to cut yourself some slack and allow yourself to be real.

    Bravo.

  9. This is so true Lindsay…we only have to be good enough. There is no perfect mother out there.
    Thank you for reaching out to me when I needed it most 😉
    Xoxo

  10. “You do not have to accept no for an answer.” This is so powerful. Your courage inspires me daily, Lindsay with your honesty and transparency. I knew something was not right very early on, but I could not articulate it.

  11. Catherine Gallagher says:

    What a great site. Thank you Katherine for the making of it. You were inspirational at the Hudson Valley Birth Network conference on PPD. I learned so much from you and will use the power of the shared knowledge with the patients in our practice. YEAH FOR WARRIOR WOMEN, all of them/us.