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Disclaimer: The following article mentions the topic of suicide or other sensitive subjects, which may trigger negative thoughts and feelings for those currently suffering or still recovering from a mental or mood disorder. Reader discretion is advised.

When my second son was born via c-section at 37 weeks, I saw him and knew something was wrong. He was blue and not crying. The pediatrician said my son needed to be on a ventilator because his lungs weren’t fully developed, and he was transferred to the children’s hospital downtown. My husband went with our son, leaving me alone and scared. I felt like I was torn open, with my heart was on the other side of the city.

When I finally saw my baby hooked up to the machines, I just knew right then: I had failed. I had failed my son from the start. My son was in the hospital for two weeks, and by the time he came home, my husband had to go back to work and I was left alone with my two children.

I didn’t expect to think about hurting my children. I didn’t expect to imagine car accidents where we ended up in the hospital. I didn’t expect the crying and hopelessness. I didn’t expect to break down at my doctor’s office at my six week check-up. I didn’t expect to be admitted to the psych unit. I didn’t expect for be away from my children, my husband, and my home for three days. I didn’t expect to have to see a therapist once a week and a psychiatrist once a week, or to switch from medicine to medicine trying to find the right fit.

I also didn’t expect to find light. I didn’t expect that I would find hope. I didn’t expect to feel better. It’s been four months since being diagnosed, and I finally feel right. I take my medicine, go to my appointments, and I don’t want to hurt my kids or myself. Things are starting to settle.

One mom lost to postpartum depression or anxiety is one mom too many. If you’re struggling, please talk to someone. Scream it from the rooftops. Ask for help. It’s not in your head. You’re not a bad mom. It’s a segment of time, and with the right help, this time will pass.

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