Postpartum Depression Hurts

Do any of you remember the pharmaceutical ad with the tagline, “Depression hurts, but you don’t have to”. It was an ad for an antidepressant several years ago. {Could have been five years ago, or even ten. It’s 2021 and time means nothing}.

I want you to break down that messaging with me for a moment::

Depression hurts, but you don’t have to.

Depression hurts…but you don’t have to.

Depression *hurts*.

If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you may be nodding your head right now.

If you haven’t, please keep reading. Because if you know twenty people, you know someone with depression.

If you know five moms, you know a mom who has experienced postpartum depression.

And if you don’t know twenty people or five moms… well, you know me

After being diagnosed and treated for depression in my early twenties, I worried throughout my first pregnancy that I would be one of those one in five women. And even after my birth plans fell apart and my child was delivered in a way that was traumatic to me, I was grateful to experience just a short lived “baby blues.” 

Then, I had my second child. At first, I thought the exhaustion was just a symptom of being a mom to a newborn who was up around the clock and an energetic preschooler who still demanded my constant attention. Adjusting to life as a mom of two was unexpectedly difficult, though I was madly in love with both of my children.
Postpartum Depression Hurts

But as the months crept by, darkness won.

When previously treated for depression, I had lost my zest for life. I felt hopeless, often. I felt a fog, sometimes like I was watching myself muddle through my life from somewhere outside of myself, smiling when it was expected, laughing when it was expected. All forced, all to hide a deep sadness.

As a second-time mom, these feelings were there too. And so was the guilt. My goodness, the guilt. Guilt that I was missing out on savoring my last baby. {Please, never remind a new mom to “enjoy every moment.” This is the kind of thing that sent me way over the edge during PPD.}

And something more disturbing that {for me} is the reason it’s so difficult to talk about postpartum depression. I had visions of harming myself or others. I felt myself slipping from a place where I felt numb and wanted to stay in bed all day {not exactly possible when caring for a baby and toddler} to not wanting to wake up at all.

I never considered myself suicidal but I wished to no longer exist. 

On the outside, I was a happy albeit flustered momma. On the inside, I was terrified that if I shared my truth with anyone, I would risk losing my children or being committed. That added yet another layer of guilt, shame, and sadness. 

And for the record, keeping things to myself is not the advice I’d ever give a friend. I am the first one to urge anyone to find a therapist or see a counselor– for ourselves and for our marriages. Yet my PPD created an irrational fear that kept me from seeking help for nearly 10 months. 

Why should any of us suffering postpartum feel alone? This is real. It’s not a flaw that just lives in me. It’s nothing I had control over, and it’s nothing I would have chosen if given a choice. 

I saw a therapist. I got on Prozac. I bought a double jogging stroller and started taking walks in the sunshine and fresh air for exercise.  And things slowly began to turn around.

I was able to enjoy my children again. I felt a fog lift.

I’ve read that depression feels like you’re trapped in a dark room, but it’s actually a tunnel.

That rings true for me. I had to claw through that darkness to finally find the light on the other side.

Even now, I sometimes feel myself returning to that tunnel. The pandemic, in so many ways, mimicked that postpartum phase for me and I felt those insidious thoughts returning more than I’d like to admit.

But I’m not scared of my depression anymore. It’s just a part of who I am now, and while it’s not something I embrace it’s something I live with. I survived it. I’m still surviving it.

Postpartum Depression HurtsIt’s been years and I haven’t shared this much about my experience with PPD…well…ever. I still feel some shame associated with it.

But maybe one of you needs to know you aren’t alone. Maybe one of you needs to know how to better support someone you love going through it. Maybe I needed to just own this part of my motherhood journey in a public way to move forward from it. 

No matter why you’re here, I thank you for reading this. And I send you love and healing if you, like me, are one in five. 


Pin this post and be sure to follow Houston Moms Blog on Pinterest!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here