My husband and I had an interesting discussion this past weekend. It was about blogging and postpartum depression. He was somewhat surprised at how honest women are on the web about PPD (he knows because he reads the site), and, even more, at how open some of them are when discussing how they feel about mothering and their children. He wondered aloud whether that was really a good thing.
He wasn’t being judgmental. He was just thinking out loud about how it might affect the child down the line, or how it might affect how those around a mother think about her and whether that might hurt her in some way. I think it’s an interesting topic.
I made the choice to speak out about my postpartum OCD experience because I was moving toward dedicating my life to advocacy. I am not beholden to any other job because this is the only one I’ve got, so it’s not like someone’s going to fire me for what I’ve said. My friends know what I went through, so it’s not like they’re going to be shocked about what I disclose. And I don’t care what others think, because it’s more important to me to help new mothers.
As for my children, I guess I have written about them in ways that they might question, though not often. Usually when I write about them it is in a very positive light. And I hope that the words I’ve chosen will make it clear to them, should they read the archives of Postpartum Progress some day, that I was struggling with motherhood but not in ANY WAY struggling with loving them.
I’m so very glad that women have become more open about PPD. I have seen how much it helps suffering moms to read the stories of others. I also think it is important for women to be able to speak with each other and share honestly so that they can work through their frustrations or difficulties with motherhood in general and see that so many other moms have similar feelings. It helps.
Should they share as much as they do? I suppose it would be prudent for every mom who writes about her children publicly to try to choose her words carefully, or to be selective about what she shares. I don’t know. I don’t want to be the one to judge. I need to keep myself busy keeping my side of the street clean.
What is the line between what should be a child’s personal business and what can be shared publicly in the name of honesty, openness and the collective of motherhood? What do you think?