Postpartum Depression Is A Thief And A Liar

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thiefPP contributing writer Robin Farr, who blogs at Farewell Stranger, wants you to know that your postpartum depression is telling you lies and stealing from you. Big time.

You know the saying, “Depression lies”? Those who have been there, especially those who have come out the other side, even a little bit, know exactly what that means.

It means depression tells you things that aren’t true – things about yourself, your life, your family, your abilities, your likelihood of ever finding the light again. It lies, convincingly and indiscriminately.

But depression doesn’t just lie. It steals too. This is especially true of depression of the postpartum variety.

If you feel as though your experience with postpartum depression or anxiety has taken things away from you, you’re not alone.

Joy.

Memories of your baby.

Your relationship with your partner.

Your ability to be the mom you want to be.

Your ability to simply live each day without each minute, each hour feeling like an agonizing struggle.

I’ve lost some of those things, but for a long time I felt as though my experience with postpartum depression had stolen one thing in particular from me: the family I had always envisioned.

My husband and I have always intended to have more than one child. He always said two; I – coming from a family with four children – joked that three might be better. (Based solely on my experiences being pregnant I can tell you that two is quite enough, thank you.)

Before our son was born we always figured we’d have our kids a couple of years apart (or so). But around the time we would have had to start trying for a second I was really struggling. When my son was 18 months, I was really struggling. When he was 3, I was really struggling.

It took me a long time to get past that struggle, and throughout that time one of the things constantly on my mind was how much I wanted another child and how very far away, if not impossible, that seemed.

My husband used to try to reassure me that if we only had one that would be okay.

But it wasn’t.

I never saw myself as a mom of an only child. It’s just never how I pictured my family. For reasons I can’t explain, I wanted more. And I raged against postpartum depression for taking my vision of my family from me.

As of this writing, I am two weeks away from my due date with my second child – the child I thought might never be.

My son turned four three months ago, which is a bigger gap between my kids than I had originally desired. But it’s okay. And in some ways it’s really good. He’s more independent and I’ve had time to really get past my earlier experience and start to feel really and truly better. I’m re-entering the new mom phase with a bit more faith that things will be okay.

So while postpartum depression stole something important from me, I can now say that I’m happy about what I’ve been able to steal back.

~ Robin

Photo credit: © ia_64 – Fotolia.com

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About Katherine Stone

is the founder & editor of Postpartum Progress. She was named one of the ten most influential mom bloggers of 2011, a WebMD Health Hero and one of the top 25 parent bloggers using social media for social good. She also writes the Fierce Blog, and a parenting column for Disney's Babble.com.

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  1. Cristina Miller says:

    Perfectly written and I can so relate! As usual…it is so comforting to know I am not alone. I come to this site daily and it literally carries me through. Please please keep going. My first born is 8 months and I am still struggling…albeit, better but still struggling. I, too, have dreams of more children but am simply terrified. Will the 2nd go around be worse? How would I cope with having another child running around? Would my husband survive another bout with this HELL? Would our marriage survive? I am rambling. Just wanted to thank you for another amazing post. Keep on keeping on to all warrior moms out there. And aren’t we all?

    • I’m so glad you find it helpful, Cristina. I did too during the worst of my struggle, and still love the information here.

      You’re on the right track – keep on keeping on. It does get better and those questions will get easier to answer. I promise.

  2. Gina Stalcup says:

    This site is so very comforting to me. I struggled with postpartum OCD with all four of my children. I recently had a setback and hearing from other moms really helps. I still have times where I go back to that scary place. Why can I not let this go? I think certain things can trigger those moments that I would soon rather forget. Thank you for this blog.

    • I’m sorry to hear you had a setback, Gina. That seems pretty common, at least from the moms I’ve talked to, but that doesn’t make it easier, I know. I struggled for a long time with how to let it go, and finally found that learning how to cope with those moments and accept them for what they are was a better solution. Easier said than done, I know.

  3. So glad you stole it back Robin. love you! xox

  4. That last line is so so hopeful.
    xoxo

  5. I can totally relate. And honestly never looked at it that way, that PPD stole from me but you know what it did!! And although I have come out on the other side and have two beautiful daughters. It still haunts me to think of what I went through. How I felt everyday for months on end, the agony of being a mother instead of the joy of being a mother. But I am stronger for my experience and try and help other mothers now going through PPD and anxiety disorders. I applaud you, Robin. So glad you stole back PPD!!

  6. I love that last line, Robin. I’ve really seen you take back the joy that PPD stole from you. And I do think you’ve been given back a lot of it tenfold. I hope this next time around for you is a wonderful experience. You give me hope that I can do this too.

  7. You say it so well in teh title. PPD is an absolute liar. I thought for the longest time that I didn’t want to be a mother. And that was absolutely false. I was just so ill that I couldn’t imagine enjoying life again. Thank you for this article.

  8. Love you, Robin. So happy you’re stealing back. And looking forward to Hector’s arrival! :)

  9. Thank you Robin! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. Lately I have been feeling that rage against the Postpartum OCD that took my vision for the family that I always saw from me. I can relate to almost everything you said in this post. You give me hope that this will happen for me & I will be able to steal it back too.

  10. I love this Robin, thank you.I have struggled so much with having two kids. I always envisioned more, four in fact. But after being hit hard, twice, with postpartum depression, that needed to be it. There were other reasons it made sense to stop at two, but it’s been such an incredible struggle to be okay with this decision. I feel like it’s one I didn’t make; the disease made it for me. It was so bad I would cringe each time I saw a family with three kids, or more, thinking, I had somehow failed. I wanted it not to matter to me how many kids I had. I wanted to stop feeling like I had to say ‘just two’. I wanted to stop feeling like I needed an excuse for why we had ‘just two’.
    It’s gotten much better, as I’ve become much healthier and have a bit of perspective about it all (and not so much shame) but I still have to fight it. Fight to be okay, to be content with what I have, not what I do not.
    Thank you again,

  11. At nearly 3 yrs. PP w/ first baby, I too, fear the same thing. It has gotten and is getting better. Thanks for letting us know we’re not ‘the only one’. Just like to say too that I’m angry at PPMD’s for stealing my ability to keep any record of my baby’s ‘firsts’ or growth. I am grateful that I remember some things and that I’ve always been able to parent and aware of what she’s doing. Thank you.

  12. Exactly how I feel – in fact this seems like I could have even written it. My second baby is due in less than 3 months and my first child will be 3 years and 3 months old when our second is born. I too struggled with having another baby even though I’ve always dreamed of having 4 or 5 children. I now realize that will NEVER happen. I finally feel like things are a bit more normal (which is why we tried for baby #2) – but I must admit that I’m quite apprehensive about how things will change again once he arrives. I want it to be different this next time. I hope it will! I want to steal back what postpartum depression stole from me.