What we don't usually do is take the time to care for ourselves, to make sure we are well rested and healthy.
For a mother that is suffering from a perinatal mood disorder (PMD) like depression, anxiety or OCD, the holidays can make those feelings even stronger. I, along with many other women, suffer from postpartum depression and anxiety and it's something that we don't often talk about.
In fact, the number one medical complication from childbirth is PMD, but in our society, there is a stigma attached to admitting that we are feeling this way. I want to share with you my story and my struggle with PMD's with the hope that it will help other women know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
My struggle with postpartum depression started almost immediately after I gave birth to my first child.
I was TERRIFIED of giving birth, so once that was over, and I survived, I thought we were in the clear. I assumed that breastfeeding would be this natural beautiful experience, but for me, that was not the case.
IT WAS SO HARD!
It was not natural or beautiful, it was painful and exhausting. I saw countless Lactation Consultants, read the books, watched all the videos but we just couldn't get it right. I would wince in pain every time she latched and cry for hours afterward wondering what was wrong with me.
I felt resentment towards my daughter for the pain she was causing me. I know it's awful and it doesn't make sense but it's the truth. When she wasn't nursing, I saw my beautiful baby and I LOVED her so much, but the minute she started to nurse I just wanted her off of me.
Even after we got breastfeeding under control, I still wasn't sleeping.
I would wake up in a panic that she had stopped breathing or that I had rolled over on top of her, even though she had never slept in our bed. I was out of my mind, but I never told anyone. I was so afraid to show weakness and admit to anyone that I was struggling, after all, I am her mother and my job is to take care of her.
If anyone knew the truth, the fear and intrusive thoughts I was having, they would take her away from me and lock me up. So, I buried it, and I pretended like everything was perfect. It wasn't until several years later and the birth of my second child, that I learned about PMDs. I truly believe it would have made such a big difference in that first year to understand that what I was going through was normal and that I wasn't alone.
So, as we head into the Holiday season and are surrounded by family and friends, I ask that you be considerate to those of us that are struggling.
Ask your cousin who just became a new mom how she is adjusting or ask that friend that has 3 young children how she is doing. Sometimes all it takes is asking the right question to make a difference in someone's life.
Finally, to all the moms out there getting up every day and taking care of your family, YOU ARE DOING AN AMAZING JOB AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
If you or anyone you know may be suffering with PMD there are resources available including local support groups, SAFEchildnc, and Postpartum Support Institute. For a full list of NC resources click here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also read my full story here.
Trisha is an ABC11 Influencer.