I have to admit the number of people who took the time and effort to share their postpartum depression stories with me have been overwhelming. They were friends, family members, people I hadn’t spoken to in the last ten years. Dig this – people messaged descriptions of what has probably been their darkest hours, unsolicited, as a form of heads up to me! I was a little confused inwardly to be honest, wondering how that was meant to help me. Especially when they only shared their experiences, and did not offer any real solution.
This piece is for those logic-driven, rationale-hungry minds amongst you, who may be on the same boat, as I once have been. It was only after I had delivered that I understood what an unbelievable support system I had (and continue to have) in my girl friends during my pregnancy. How unbelievably blessed that made me. Because it is only now that I fully fathom the extent of what a postnatal depression might entail. How the gush of hormone-driven feelings you have, good or bad, can be totally outside of your control. And I also realise that it is one of those things where until or unless you are at the receiving end of it yourself, you don’t quite believe the full fatality of. And how, at the end of it all, motherhood is a journey so fraught with self-doubt, that noone, not even our partners, fully understand how much of any shortcomings we tend to blame ourselves for.
But it’s not the knowledge received from my good ladies that make me write this piece today. This post is instigated by naysayers and their ignorance on this issue. The brutal dismissal of the entire phenomenon I have witnessed in some people that also include very well informed health professionals. For those of you who have been lucky enough to have not experienced it – congratulations. You’re privileged. And the least you can do is be a decent human being and not gloat in it and rub it in our faces. Thank you.
But for those of you like me – the majority, who have and are fighting this currently, you are not alone and you are definitely not exagerrating any of it. The waves of the blue that come and go are not part of the real world. And the only reason I have been able to identify and differentiate between feelings triggered by actual ongoing incidents in my life, and postpartum anxiety and depression, is because of the wonderful support people who have called, texted and messaged to provide me with the bleak details of the symptoms. Now I know what a wealth of information that has been. How valuable it is for my mental wellbeing right now. And to those people I say – I’m indebted.
Identification is key and often the first step to solution in itself dealing with postpartum anxiety and depression. I’ll stop there because I am not an expert in the field but the good news is that there is enough help available out there. Beyond blue is one of the services available in australia for example. So I urge you today to not let people who have not dealt with PPD to make light of matters if you find yourself in the midst of it. In fact your first step to recovery would be to get away from those people and the insensitivity that they so easily mete out, and get real help from real support people. I wish you all the best in your road to recovery.