Writing Publicly About PPD & Mothering: What Is OK to Disclose?

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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 my blog!!), 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 effect 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, albeit non-paying, 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 Ihope that the words I've chosenwill 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?

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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. I agree with you.
    & I'm not sure I do the best job of this, but I try to make it so that if he reads it, he understands that it's ME that is problem. My disease. Not him. That I love him, I think he's beautiful, & I AM THE PROBLEM.
    & I hope that all of the other aspects of my blog point him in that direction, too…that I love him. Not just the posts about PPD.

  2. it's a difficult subject to think about, because it has the potential to bring on even more guilt as a mother. but here's the way i think about it: by the time my child is old enough to be using the internet, he'll be old enough to listen to me when i tell him that he can't read my blog. my blog is for adults.
    and when my son is an adult, we will talk. and hopefully, he will understand that he (and my other son) brings purpose to my life i never knew i had before.

  3. Samantha says:

    Honesty is always the best policy. I will always be honest especially with my daughter about the first few months of her life. And I will always reinforce that it was not her fault and it was not mine. god Forbid, my precious daughter ever has to suffer the way I did.

  4. I have been told that I am very "honest" and "candid" in my posts. I talked a lot about my struggles with bonding and how I struggled to find that head over heals love for my son…I wrote that because I felt like I was the ONLY WOMAN in the universe to feel that way. But soon other woman spoke up and were grateful that I did.
    That's why I blog about it. Of course I think and double think of what I throw out there because my sons privacy and respect come first. I hope that when he is old enough we can talk about PPD…openly and honestly.

  5. I commented on Kimberly's blog, and I'll say it here, too. My blogging about PPD/A is for me and other mothers. I hope to raise my son to be caring and compassionate. I want to prolong his discovery of me as imperfect, but I also want him to know that I'm only human. Also, I hope that by the time he's old enough to read my writing, he'll be old enough to understand.

  6. I blog about PPD/A as a way to process & heal from my experience, and a way to let other mothers know they are not alone and they will be well. I talk about my struggles with bonding and my struggles with mothering quite a bit. But I always counter that with the love for my son and how much he has taught me and made me a better person. I hope to have an honest and open dialogue with my son when he's older about depression and anxiety and struggles in general in our lives & how we can use those things to become better people and to help others.

  7. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I feel the same way.

  8. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Everyone has provided great input. It seems we all think pretty much the same way.
    It's important to help others and we would hope our children would learn that from the work we are doing to help eliminate the stigma of PPD.