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What Postpartum Depression is Really Like

Photograph by Twenty20

As a new mom, you're supposed to be tired. You're supposed to spend those early days snuggling your newborn and trying to remember to eat. But for some moms, postpartum depression (PPD) sneaks in somewhere between diaper changes and feedings and throws you off balance, making you question yourself and your capabilities. PPD can be debilitating and these moms shared their own experiences of what it really was like and how it affected their relationships.

If this is you, if these are your similar feelings, know you are not alone.

"It's difficult for me to pinpoint the hardest part of PPD. I spent the better part of my son's first seven months with extreme anxiety, being prone to angry outbursts and general nastiness toward loved ones. I also withdrew completely from socialization because it was just 'too hard.' All of those things (with the exception of anxiety) were completely out of character for me. I was a stranger in my own body and to my family and friends. It's also difficult for me to remember a lot of my son's milestones and activities during that time."

"The hardest part was trying to function consciously. I was in a fog, on autopilot, and overwhelmed with guilt for not feeling like I was being a present mother to my other girls."

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"For me the hardest part was I didn't even know that's what I was suffering from. I thought PPD was awful depression that made you think about hurting yourself or your baby. I never felt that way. But I suffered from major anxiety. Something as simple as taking a shower and forcing me to be away from my baby was paralyzing. The fact that I had no knowledge of what was going on, no education, and no one ever talked about it, made me think it was normal. It wasn't."

"The hardest part was crying all the time! My son was so colicky, it was awful. I felt so alone and isolated."

"The hardest part was feeling guilty and ashamed for suffering after enduring our infertility battle. I felt like I couldn't admit I had a problem to anyone because I had always wanted to have a baby. I felt like I couldn't talk about it because no one would understand or I would be judged."

"The hardest part of my experience was not loving my daughter with my full heart. I detached myself emotionally from her as I thought any second she could be taken from me. The first five months of my daughter's life I slept in the living room recliner with her next to me in a Pack n Play so I could be awake every hour to check her breathing."

Everything really sucked. My joy was gone. I wanted to be by myself and not go out or do anything with anyone.

"Hardest part was going through the struggle with infertility for eight years and thinking I would finally feel happy once I had my baby and I wasn't. I felt the worst I'd ever felt and everyone around me kept saying, 'oh you must be so happy' and I just kept thinking, no, I feel awful, like I had made a mistake going through all this effort and expense to have a baby. Something felt so wrong. I feel like PPD took the joy away the first few months. It didn't seem fair."

"Bringing home a brand new baby is stressful enough on a marriage. For those with postpartum depression, marriages and relationships can become even more strained."

"It wasn't until after my second counseling session that I opened up to my husband about what I was experiencing. For the most part, I was just beginning to understand it myself. He was relieved to finally know why I was acting in certain ways and supported me as I healed. In a way, it helped us start communicating our thoughts and feelings. The relationship I had with my mom suffered the most because I was easily the most hateful toward her. Thankfully, we've found our way back over the last year."

"Everything really sucked. My joy was gone. I wanted to be by myself and not go out or do anything with anyone. My husband didn't understand."

"The impact of PPD on my marriage was close to catastrophic. We were on the verge of divorce because of it. We started therapy and I started anxiety meds to help me through the process. But the damage was already done. My husband had a really hard time moving on from it and I had a hard time forgiving myself for how I was. I wasn't living in the present and because of that I missed a lot of my son's early days being lost in my head."

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"My husband struggled with my PPD diagnosis because he doesn't understand depression. He thought I should just snap out of it. Once I got the medicine in my system, he could tell I was back to my seemingly normal old self. He knew all the signs to look for with our second baby!"

"I refused to believe I had PPD and it came to a huge meltdown last summer. My husband put his foot down on me getting treatment and after the first few months, I understood what it was like to love my daughter with all of my heart."

"Luckily, my husband is incredible and recognized that I was really struggling and took over a lot of the baby care in those early weeks when I was trying to take care of myself. It actually made our relationship stronger because I saw how wonderful of a father he was and how loving a spouse he was (I knew these things already, but the experience with postpartum depression reiterated them for me.) We learned how to be a team during that time, and support and love each other-that's just as important as loving and taking care of a new baby."

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May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and we're coming together to embrace all mamas today and every day who are suffering or have suffered from PPD. We'd love to share how you overcame or are overcoming PPD with our readers. Tag us at #FACESOFPOSTPARTUM and #momdotme on Instagram and share your story with us.

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