What is Postpartum Depression and What Does it Feel Like?
Postpartum depression can happen to any mom. It’s important to know what its and when it happens. What does it really feel like to have postpartum depression?
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. It’s a hard topic because there are so many hard truths about postpartum depression that no one talks about for a reason.
People judge, people look down on you, and it’s hard to say your feelings out loud. Because you know you“SHOULDN”T” be feeling that way, but you do!
Saying it out loud makes it real, and that’s the last thing you want.
I remember so many times trying to WILL myself to feel a different way, and I just couldn’t.
Postpartum depression is a topic that is, I want to say “dear” to my heart, but that doesn’t quite make sense. It’s not dear to me, but it is definitely a part of me. It changed my life and was one of the hardest challenges of my life.
I hope that by sharing my story, someone else can find hope in their struggle.
(You can read more of my depression story here. I had depression with both of my kids, but it was the worst with my first little girl.)
I understand the sensitivity of the topic and my heart goes out to any mom having this struggle. (Feel free to contact me with any questions or just to talk) Maybe you can find some validation, support, and assurance here.
DISCLAIMER. I do NOT hate my child. I never hurt her, she was always in good health. I pushed past my emotions. I had a lot of support. I put her down when I got overwhelmed and I got help. She is safe, happy, healthy little girl today that I love with all my heart. She’s now 5.
Anyway, ok, let’s dive in.
My Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is hard….did I say that yet?
You have all these thoughts and feelings that you don’t know what to do with and it’s hard to make sense of life when you feel all hope is lost.
For the first 6 months of my daughter’s life, I pretended like everything was great. I told everyone “I loved motherhood. It was hard and a change, but I loved it. Things were going great.”
BUT, things weren’t great. And I felt very alone.
I felt very depressed and anxious all the time, and I absolutely hated life. I was going crazy on the inside.
I hated life
I hated my child
And I hated myself
I felt like I was just being a baby, and I needed to suck it up because this is just life now. “Everyone struggles when they first have a baby, so I’ll learn how to deal. Things will get better. I just have to keep going. I mean, maybe I am just sleep deprived. Maybe this was just the “mommy blues” everyone talks about and it will get better.”
But it didn’t.
I finally decided to open up to some friends, and found out they had felt some of the same feelings.
Then, I started a small blog just to get my feelings out and people responded with love and support.
After that I was able to share my story knowing others could relate. It was therapeutic for me and hopefully helpful for them. This started my healing process. With all the support from friends, I was able to find the courage to help myself.
I was able to accept my emotions
Realize I needed help
Get the help
Know that it would be okay
Know that I wasn’t a bad mother
It was definitely not easy, but now it seemed possible.
A lot of people don’t talk about their feelings during their time of depression, mostly because they feel crazy, irrational, and it’s hard to come to terms with.
But I’m here to tell you that you aren’t crazy! And these feelings are real and hard to deal with.
If you are experiencing any of the following, after having a baby, you might be struggling with postpartum depression.
Here are the mommy depression truths that no one talks about:
10 Hard Truths about Mommy Depression
You Feel like you aren’t bonding with your baby
Several people experience utopia once they have delivered their first baby.
I have heard so many amazing stories about how it was love at first sight and they cried because they were so overwhelmed with joy. This was not me.
My first thought was “what have I done?” I was scared, worried, tired, and in pain. Those emotions took over any love I might have felt. It was very surreal for me and all my worries just flooded in.
For the first several months my daughter was just a baby to me. I couldn’t bond with her. I didn’t miss her when she was a way, and I was constantly looking for someone to pass her on to, which made breastfeeding miserable.
I felt like I didn’t really bond with my daughter until she was about a year old.
If this is you.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the idea that I struggle with bonding with my babies.
It’s not because I’m a bad mother. I just usually bond more with them when they’re a little older. My daughter and I have a great relationship now and continue to grow closer together.
You feel like you don’t love or like your baby
This was one of the hardest things for me.
I thought I loved my baby, but I wasn’t sure because I felt like I hated her. It was hard for me to feel for her when she cried. I didn’t want to pick her up, and whenever I thought of her, it was always negative.
Everyone always said that they didn’t know how they could love someone so much, and I just didn’t feel that.
I just felt hate. There was this little human being that just took and took and took from me without giving anything in return. (Side note: My daughter was extremely colicky for the first 6 months, all she did was cry).
You feel hopeless.
The feeling that there is nothing in life to look forward to, nothing to make you happy, and that there is no end in sight to your turmoil is one of the worst feelings in the world.
I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
No matter how hard you will yourself to see the good or the positive, it doesn’t happen.
When you get to this point, talk to your doctor. See if medications or therapy is something that could work for you. Those things combined with positive living have changed my life.
And DON”T FEEL SHAME in it. Really everyone could benefit from a therapist.
You have thoughts of hurting your child.
Before having a child I couldn’t understand how anyone could shake or hurt a baby. They’re so sweet and innocent. Then I became a mom with raging hormones.
At least every other day I had to put my daughter in the crib because I had the frustrations of wanting to hurt her. I mean, deep down I knew that I didn’t, but these feelings of rage towards her were hard. And then you feel guilty for feeling that way.
I never hurt her, but the feelings are real. If you feel this way, then make sure you always put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes.
You feel like everyone else is a better mother than you
You wonder why you’re the only one who feels this way.
Why don’t other mom’s struggle?
Everyone else’s life looks perfect. Having a baby was the best thing that ever happened to them, and you just can’t understand why you don’t feel the same. Everyone else seems to bond with their baby and have an out pouring of love.
Try not to compare yourself to other moms, which I know is hard, but every mom has their own struggle no mom “has it easy”.
You regret becoming a mom
I kept wishing for my former life, and I kept living in the past. I’d think “if we didn’t have a baby right now we could ____.” I hated the mom life and I didn’t want to do it. I wish I could just give the baby back to someone.
I didn’t want this life and now I have a whole 18 years ahead of me. How would I get through this? How could I learn to love it? How to people have kids and more than one?
You don’t want to do it any now you feel trapped.
You feel like you’ve already failed as a mom
You’re barely a mom and you’ve already failed. You feel like you’ve let everyone down especially this tiny human that just came into the world, helpless, needing you, and you feel like you can’t be there.
You feel alone
You feel like you’re the only going through this. “Where are all the other moms struggling with this because I don’t know any!”
You feel like no one understands you, and how could they, your thoughts are so irrational and crazy. You just feel lost and alone.
You hate everything.
Nothing is satisfying.
All the things you used to love, you no longer look forward to.
You hate yourself for how you feel and that other people have to deal with you.
You hate your friends for not having to deal with this, and you might even hate your spouse who isn’t understanding.
You just can’t seem to win or see light at the end of the tunnel.
Thoughts of running away.
There were a couple times when I was at my lowest that I just didn’t want to be in my life anymore.
I wanted to run away. They didn’t need me, I wasn’t contributing, and they’d be better off without me. I just wanted to get away from everything and everyone that made me feel this way.
I can’t believe how far I’ve come since feeling this way.
At one point I didn’t think I could have another kid, but I did. And now, I am so grateful for them. I love them with all my heart, and they mean the world to me. I enjoy being a mom (most of the time).
So I’m here to say it does get better, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it just yet. It might suck for a while, but hang on and don’t be ashamed to get help!
And you are NOT alone!
If you or anyone you know is struggling with these feelings get the proper help. It’s so hard, but it does and can get better, especially with help.
“Be strong because things will get better. It may be stormy now but it never rains forever.”
Related: How I Cope with My Mom Anxiety