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Rachael

When my first child was born, I immediately plummeted into postpartum depression. Depression and anxiety were things I had already been dealing with my entire life, so the fact I had postpartum depression was really not a surprise. I remember crying as I held my daughter, wondering if putting her up for adoption would make me a bad person. I also remember that when she cried during those first weeks, panic would shoot through my body. I can only describe it as being afraid of her.

My daughter had colic and didn’t sleep well, which exacerbated my own symptoms because of the sleep deprivation. I felt inadequate and like a failure. Women had been having babies for all of existence, and I couldn’t handle one? What was wrong with me? I soon found myself a psychiatrist. I was already on medication, but I added more medication and found an amazing therapist.

My advice to other struggling moms is to get help – it’s there. Confide in someone, regardless of the embarrassment, because there are greater things at stake. If you can, be an observer of the way you feel, and do things for yourself that you would do for a loved one going through the same thing. Do not isolate yourself. Things may feel hopeless, but it is simply not true. After you begin taking steps with therapy and medication, let time be a healer. You will sleep again. You will feel joy again. As time passes, we grow, learn, adapt, and find balance. You are the perfect imperfect mother for your child. Just hold on. Exhaust your resources, know you are not alone, and just hold on.