Wow, 3 posts in a row! What inspired me to write at 12:30 AM on a Friday night? Something irked me. Irked me real good…or bad, actually. Wanna guess? Oh, the title gave it away? Darn. Well, let me just tell you then. I ran into some more ignorant comments about PPD just now, which got my blood boiling.
I am just going to highlight this one in particular because it just shows how a person who’s NEVER BEEN DEPRESSED AND THEREFORE HASN’T GOT A CLUE WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE DEPRESSED can let such words come out of her mouth without realizing the impact such ignorance has on moms who have suffered or are currently suffering from a postpartum mood disorder:
I have hypothyroid and if I don’t take a thyroid pill everyday…I’m exhausted like I haven’t slept in weeks. As a mom, [exhaustion and sleep deprivation don’t] stop me from loving my child and taking care of her. I know I’m not going to let my condition get in the way of my parenting.
Excuse me? You KNOW you’re not going to let your condition get in the way? You think a mother just brings PPD upon herself? You think a mother (like me) who’s dreamed of having a baby–only to have those dreams come crashing down a few weeks postpartum with the sudden and unexpected onset of PPD symptoms–brings these symptoms upon herself and she has full control over them? All of a sudden, she can’t sleep, she can’t eat, she may have panic attacks, she is completely and utterly debilitated, she can’t smile, she can’t function, PERIOD, and there are those like you who question whether there is a physical/biological basis to these symptoms? Well, I’d say not sleeping, not eating, and not being able to function–even if it entirely the desire of the new mother to do all that plus take care of her baby–are all physical/biological issues. PPD is NOT a mind over matter kind of thing.
Society overall uses the word depression in the context of a state of mind where “sad” and “depressed” are interchangeable, which feeds the misconception. Misunderstood not just by the public at large, but by medical professionals, and largely because there is no singular cause. Though the word “depression” implies a mental condition that impacts a person’s thoughts and feelings, its symptoms—caused by a combination of biological and psychosocial factors—are physical, affecting the way a person eats, sleeps and functions.
I’m going to end with these last few thoughts. Get real, lady. It’s comments like yours that contribute to the stigma keeping mothers out there suffering in silence. Until you have experienced PPD for yourself, keep these types of comments to yourself and stop judging others. Just remember that PPD is the #1 complication of childbirth. That is not a fictional statistic. No one is immune, not even you. It just might do you some good to become familiar with what PPD is REALLY about. You never know if you or someone you know may end up with PPD one day. Read some of the blogs out there that belong to PPD survivors. Read some books. Become educated and do us all a favor and stop saying and thinking those ignorant things!