Did you know? 1 in 7 Moms and 1 in 10 Dads suffer from postpartum depression. Reaching out to speak with someone is the best way to help determine what path is best for you. Consider reaching out to Postpartum International Support by calling 1.800.944.4773, texting 503.894.9453 or visiting http://www.postpartum.net/
Dear Friend with Postpartum Depression Who Doesn’t Think She Has Postpartum Depression,
I don’t know if you see yourself. But I see you. And I’m scared for you.
Because I’ve been there. And I almost didn’t make it out alive. I know, I know - this is different for you. It was for me, too. I could get out of bed. I could fake the smile - hell, once in awhile I even had a genuine smile. I changed my cloth diapered baby, cooked dinner from scratch, posted all the pretty pictures on Instagram; if you could see a physical example of a ‘functioning post-birth mother’, I can assure you, I was what you were looking for. I even filled out that 6 week checkup form with flying colors because, I mean...come on.
I made sure no one could see me inside.
I had been told about the ‘scary, spooky PPD’ stories. What I was feeling wasn’t anything quite like I had heard, so at the time I thought that wasn’t what I was going through. Whatever it was, I was ‘just was in a funk’. Something I needed to adjust my attitude in the bathroom quickly and then continue to take on the day. After all, I was just adjusting. I was just tired. I was just...failing.
I want you to know that Postpartum Depression is SO difficult to see and define, that if you *are* struggling, you will likely not fit nice and neat into a predetermined box. And like an abusive relationship, it will be easy to make excuses, brush off ‘isolated’ incidents, and accept the voice in your head that keeps apologizing, saying ‘It will never be this way again. That was the last time. I promise.’
No, I can’t see your soul. Maybe I’m way off base. But if the fact that I see even a glimmer of me in you scares the hell of me. I don’t want this pain for you and I wish I could do more. A side effect of not getting help when it is needed means that this can have life-long, lasting effects; so, yes, I am coming to you as a person who has never completely healed - and as someone who is begging you to consider a different path.
I want you to know that I see you, I feel with you, and I. LOVE. YOU. I may not be able to heal you but I still want you to know you can come to me and just be. Not the ‘You’ pre baby, not the ‘You’ you thought you would be post baby - the You that you are right now.
I need you. I need you to be honest with me. I need you to be honest with yourself. With your significant other. Your doctor. With anyone and everyone who will listen. Maybe we won’t all understand and we may make mistakes. I just want you to know it’s all with good intention, with the attempt of showing you how much we love you.
Just please don’t wait.
Teresa Robertson is a Photography-degree, award-winning, published Photographer specializing in all things women & birth. Maternity, Birth, Newborn, Children, or Family, she proudly serves multiple locations, including D.C., Atlanta, Michigan, Orlando, and Oahu. Her Fine Art series ‘Mele Ma’i: Procreation Chants’ can be found here. For information on Bereavement Photography, please visit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep