Suzanne: On Four Views of Postpartum Depression

February 2008

To: Postpartum Depression

From: Suzanne

You suck. I mean, you really, really suck.

Because of you I cry ALL THE TIME. I'm afraid to leave my house. Walking to the mailbox is a feat. I'm also afraid of my baby, which is the worst torture of all. I don't want to be left alone with her.

My life is over. I will never have time to read a book again, much less clip my toenails.

You have robbed me of hope, confidence and happiness. Starting each new day takes all the energy I can muster.

When the baby cries, I want to dig a hole in the ground and crawl in. And NEVER come out.

I can't sleep, and I've dropped too much weight too quickly. I hardly recognize myself when I catch a glimpse in the mirror.

All I want is to feel normal. To be happy. To truly love my baby.

Please GO AWAY. Please.

*************

April 2008

Dear Dr. T,

How will I ever be able to thank you?

Thank you for inviting me into your office and sitting with me while I sobbed. Thank you for listening to me without judgment. For asking questions that no one else has asked. For empathizing and telling me that I'm NOT crazy.

Thank you for helping me begin a treatment program. For recommending an amazing support group. For telling me — convincing me — that I am not alone in this struggle.

These things are helping SAVE me.

I simply cannot thank you enough.

Suzanne

*********

August 2008

Dear sweet baby of mine,

Today when we were playing you farted and it startled you. I love when that happens!

I just can't get enough of your smile, your curious nature, the way you look at me when you're sleepy and want to be held. And oh my goodness, the rolls. I could nibble on those thighs all day!

I feel like we're FINALLY bonding. Thank God.

It sure helps that you're sleeping more and eating better and you don't scream ALL THE TIME. But still. I love you through all that.

This love is crushing. New. Exciting.

Thank you for waiting for me, sweet girl.

I love you,

Mama

*******

May 2010

Dear new mom,

This WILL get better. You WILL feel better.

You are not a freak or a bad mother or a lunatic.

You are struggling with one of life's most monumental experiences. There is nothing easy about being pregnant, delivering a baby and raising that child. You are doing the BEST YOU CAN. And it is more than good enough.

Be easy on yourself. Please, talk to your doctor. To your partner, a friend, someone you love. It's okay to ask for help. You deserve to feel better. Please, ask for help.

And remember: this WILL get better.

I'm living proof.

Suzanne

Suzanne started blogging at Pretty Swell in August 2009 with hope of connecting to a larger community, especially other new moms. A postpartum depression survivor, she now volunteers with Postpartum Education and Support in Raleigh, NC. She is a part-time news editor and part-time stay-at-home mom who is completely smitten with her two-year-old daughter. Oh, and Suzanne can tell you almost anything you need to know about temper tantrums, cutting molars and negotiating vegetable-eating.

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.

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Comments

  1. I love the way you chose to write this, and I think I may have to write my own letter to postpartum depression – that must have felt great. 🙂

  2. Thanks so much! It DID feel especially good to write that first letter. Although I had to tone it down quite a bit. Didn't want to make my mark among this list of extraordinary women as the potty-mouth blogger. 🙂

  3. This was fantastic! Since meeting you and chatting, I've been curious about your experience with PPD. We seemed to have a lot in common. Although I was never diagnosed with PPD, I'm starting to wonder if that's what it was. I still cannot think back to those first 3 months without fear, dread, regret, and tears. Somehow, my husband and I made it through (alternating 5 minute turns rocking the screaming, colicky baby) but we still haven't overcome it enough to be ready for another. Maybe someday.
    It helps to know I'm not the only one who struggled. Thank you.
    -Abby

  4. Love the format you chose. And for the record, I LOVE potty mouthed bloggers! 🙂 So glad you are better now.

  5. Thanks, Abby. I've heard this very same thing from other mama friends. I really believe a lot of women go through PPD or PPA and don't realize it. That's why I held out for so long without getting help. I just figured that was how I was supposed to feel.
    And I'm totally with you on the question about baby #2. We feel like we've just emerged from a dark tunnel. Not ready to go anywhere near it quite yet. 🙂

  6. Thank you! Loved your post, too. What an extraordinary group of women!

  7. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Suzanne,
    I just loved your idea of the four letters and was so excited when I first read it to be able to share it with Postpartum Progress readers for Mother's Day. It's a great way to show the progression toward recovery that we all can make when we reach out for help. So grateful that you are "living proof."
    — Katherine

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