If You’re In the Throes of Postpartum Depression …

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 in the middle of postpartum depressionIf you’re in the throes of postpartum depression …

It’s not a matter of will. It’s a matter of well.

The advice to “try to think happy thoughts” will not work for you, and it’s not your fault.

If you’re in the throes of postpartum depression …

You feel like you’re not good enough.  The truth is you’re just not healthy enough, and it’s not your fault.  When you fall ill with a virus do you blame yourself or do you treat it?

If you’re in the throes of postpartum depression …

It’s not always a matter of company. It’s often a matter of honesty. Being surrounded by a room full of people can be a good distraction, but it won’t take away the isolation. It’s easier to be in a room with one person you can be vulnerable with, than twenty you have to hold it together for.

If you’re in the throes of postpartum depression …

You’re not failing. You’re flailing.  Flailing indicates hope, a struggle … and with help, chances are you won’t drown.

If you’re in the throes of postpartum depression …

Your family isn’t better off without you, they’re better off with the whole you.

If you’re in the throes of postpartum depression, tell someone.  Tell your partner, tell a friend, and tell your doctor.  The shame cannot thrive in the light.

I write this not as a doctor (because I’m not one), but as someone who has been “in the throes.”  The first step I took in the right direction was when I finally uttered the words, “something’s not right with me.” So few of us are the exact mothers we envisioned we would be, but there were times when I wasn’t even me at all.

The baby I had cherished before I even felt him move in the womb had suddenly become the biggest mistake I had ever made.  I felt misplaced.  I felt useless.  I felt crazy, and I wanted out.

Postpartum depression can affect people in many different ways.  Some women cry constantly – some hardly at all.  I experienced periods of hopeless crying, sudden rage, and then at times complete disconnection from everything,  but I rarely experienced feeling comfortable as “me”.

YOU are worth fighting for.  YOU are in there somewhere…

and if you are in the throes of postpartum depression …

it’s not your fault,

and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

~ Jenni Chiu

 

Photo credit: © Piotr Marcinski – Fotolia.com

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About Jenni Chiu

Jenni Chiu is a writer, blogger, and vlogger best known for her 68% humorous blog - MommyNaniBooboo.com. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, two boys, and two lesbian dogs.

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Comments

  1. Kristy Tandy says:

    I LOVE this! I could have written it myself word for word and it still moves me even though I’m well. Thank you for saying all if that :)

    • I’m so glad that you can say that you’re well. It gives others hope each and every time they hear someone say they’ve been there and come out the other side. Thank you.

      • Dr. Chiu, thank you! Can you give me some insight as to why, 2 years later, I am still suffering? Can it be? Could it be? i am recently changing medicine. I am definitely improved but certainly NOT whole. Can you provide encouragement of others you may know who went this long and still recovered? or is this me forever?

        • I’m not a doctor, so I can only speak as someone who has been through it… and revisits it sometimes. I know so many mothers who do have to change medication every now and then and work closely with their doctors. For me, talk therapy plays a huge role… and is the most difficult to find the time to do becasue I’m the primary care giver in my home. It’s hard to play guinea pig with yourself, but what worked for me five years ago doesn’t work for me now. Eventually you’ll find the right combination of things (ie., meds, therapy, excercise, homeopathic remedies, rest, etc.) that works for you.
          I’m sorry that you’ve suffered so long – it was years for me as well. But I truly believe YOU CAN be happy. Don’t give up. You’re worth it.

        • I am taking a long time getting better too. Suspect there can be many reasons, mine are to do with my monthly changes in hormones and how to manage those. ALso b I was so shut down before postpartum problems, so a long way to get better. Over a couple of years my psychiatrist gradually upped my medication, kept going up, very carefully. And the last up, I really noticed another significant difference. I felt like I emerged…sounds really weird I know, but I kept finding the space to notice “here I am in this situation how do I choose to respond” rather than not really being there at all, just sort of watching myself from the outside. Anyway, fiddling with medication can help. And agree about talking therapy. I really find it helps me ground and process stuff. And as a normal part of my recovery I have always had psychologist appointments as well as the psychiatrist appointments to monitor the effects of the medication.

  2. sarah freeman says:

    really like your phrase “feeling comfortable as me” . I too am taking a long time to get better, I started getting better straight away and am still improving! Wouldn’t have thought I could get SO much better :-) but I didn’t know how sick I was before I had postpartum problems. Anyway, learning to feel “here I am” and this is OK has been a long journey, 95% of my day I don’t know where I am…I am just responding to this and that and the other without knowing what is going on inside, but when I remember to be me, to think “where am I, oh there I am, inside my body, sitting down, reading a book, or driving this car” then everything is completely different. I choose and watch and manage my day, I’m not pushed around by unknown factors and stretched and stressed and invisible.
    so I do like the phrase “comfortable being me” and its really nice to hear someone else using it