We are Motherhood: Megan’s Story
“When a mother is battling postpartum depression you can help by letting them vent. Yes, it’s a lot of negativity. Yes, it gets old hearing the same complaints all the time, but they need to let it out somehow. They need to let it out in a safe place with no judgment.”
On the outside, I look like any other momma. Loving, happy, full hands, and tired. Really. Really. Tired. What people can’t see is the overwhelming depression. The sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, and emotional pain that I carry with me every day. My second pregnancy was full of challenges, and I felt awful for almost all of it. About a month before my daughter was born my mother-in-law retired and moved across the country to live with us. Around the same time my mom, who lives a few hours away, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer- at Christmas of all times. Needless to say, I suddenly had way more stress than I could handle. I knew I was going to be in trouble when the postpartum hormones started going crazy. I spent the last month of my pregnancy worrying about my unborn baby girl, adjusting to a whole new living situation, and trying to cope with my mom’s diagnosis.
“I don’t know when the Postpartum Depression started. Everything was already a blur.”
If that wasn’t stressful enough, my newborn daughter turned out to be high-needs, constantly needing attention and to be held. She was also a horrible sleeper. I quickly became sleep deprived. I’m not talking your normal new baby sleep deprivation. I’m talking about actually clinically sleep deprived. My doctor was really concerned and pleaded with me to find any way to get more rest. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, PPD started setting in. I don’t know when it started. Everything was already a blur. One day I realized that I was bothered by things that would normally just roll off my back. I was going through the motions of living every day, raising a family, and working, but I wasn’t really living and enjoying each day.
“I felt like I had no energy to interact with my kids. They deserved better.”
I was disconnected and annoyed. I felt worthless because I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Hopeless because I couldn’t find a solution. I was worn out, and I could barely keep up with the housework. I felt like I had no energy to interact with my kids. They deserved better. Then there was the sadness. I wasn’t just a little sad. I was in a fog of sadness that I couldn’t escape. I began to feel like I was drowning.No one around me could tell anything was wrong. I still went out and did what needed to get done. I wasn’t mopey or crying. I acted normal around coworkers and family. There were no visible warning signs for them to see. I confided in very few people. They didn’t know how to help, so I still felt unsupported. Honestly, I was the one who needed the help, but I didn’t even know what that entailed. I am fortunate enough to be in some private and very close mom groups on facebook. Safe places to talk about this. The moms in my groups were incredibly supportive and encouraged me to seek help. Some even continued to check in on me from time to time to see how I was doing. I needed them, and they were invaluable in my fight against this lonely condition.
After months of thinking about how to help someone with PPD, I think I finally have an answer. When a mother is battling postpartum depression you can help by letting them vent. Yes, it’s a lot of negativity. Yes, it gets old hearing the same complaints all the time, but they need to let it out somehow. They need to let it out in a safe place with no judgment. When they are focused on only the negatives, acknowledge them, and then point out some positives. Even better? Try twisting those negatives into positives. Try to be open and keep things optimistic. They really need it reinforced. And encourage them to get help if they need it. PPD is a lonely place to be.
I’m Megan and I am the face of Postpartum Depression. I am the face of Motherhood.
Think you or someone you know may be struggling with postpartum depression, anxiety, or another mental health disorder? Please contact your health provider including your OBGYN or family doctor. Need more information? Visit Postpartum Support International for great information on maternal mental health and more. If you fear you or someone you love may be contemplating suicide or facing a mental health emergency, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline and get to your nearest emergency room. Please consider buying a PPD Awareness t-shirt, all proceeds go to help mothers in need. Have questions or need support please join the discussion on Facebook.
About the author: Megan is a busy working mama to two beautiful girls. She found out after her first born, that she has a rare blood incompatibility with her husband that causes potential internal bleeding in her babies. Luckily, after a scare with her first she was able to receive treatments while pregnant with her second that prevented any complications. However, this makes pregnancies very hard on her and after such a rough journey, her struggle with PPD came as no surprise. Megan is an outdoorsy girl and she enjoys camping with her girls and husband.