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 . 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.