….that I’m still struggling to get out of its grasp, that I’m still battling demons and/or that I’m still dealing with unresolved issues– like guilt, regret, or anger– from my experience nearly 7 years ago.
I have friends and colleagues–and acquaintances to whom I tell about my postpartum depression (PPD) experience–who ask me, even today, whether I’m okay. I look at them quizzically and try to deciper what they mean by that question. I ask them, “Oh, you mean, am I fully recovered from PPD?” And they nod their heads. I tell them “Well, heck, yeah….I’ve completely recovered and been off my meds for nearly 6 years. I have no residual issues I’m still battling from my difficult childbirth and postpartum experience.” I couldn’t be more honest to them and to myself for saying that. Period.
I think some of them have their doubts. Why? Because I seem to be focusing a lot of my time on things that have to do with PPD. My book. My blog. Postpartum Support International conferences, fundraisers, friends. My “liking” PPD-related pages on Facebook. My taking on an interest to articles, blogs, news, conversations that mention perinatal mood disorders. I seem to be a different person to them than before I had PPD. Well, after writing a book for 6-1/2 years and blogging for 2-1/2 years, and a lot of other things going on–like my world revolving around my daughter’s daily schedule of school, activities, etc.–being a “different” person isn’t quite how I’d put it. People evolve over time. That’s just a natural occurrence. Priorities change. Life circumstances change. Friendships change. Experiences change people. As I mentioned before, I believe my PPD experience has made a significant impact on my life. It has changed me for the better by opening my eyes to how closed the eyes of people around me really are with respect to perinatal mood disorders. Actually, to depression, in general. Lack of knowledge leads to stigma, which we really can do without. But how are we going to fight the stigma? By speaking up.
So, to all those who know me and wonder if I have truly and completely recovered from PPD….rest assured, I have. But does being fully recovered and being at peace with what happened to me nearly 7 years ago mean I’m now going to close a door on that chapter? No, I’m going to keep on doing what I’m doing to try to help other mothers realize the truths versus myths of motherhood, as well as the importance of adequate social and practical support, sleep, and self care during the first several weeks postpartum!
For those of you mommies who are fighting the PPD battle right now, even though it may seem that you will never see the end of the dark tunnel, you will survive. With the right help and support, you’ll be alright!