20 Reasons why Moms Don’t Speak up About Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 women the first year following birth.

For many moms that struggle with postpartum depression, there are many reasons why we don’t speak up about our postpartum depression– I say “we” because I know all too well about hiding my postpartum depression.

 

My postpartum depression story.

After my second son was born, my experience was completely different. I felt very depressed and not myself– but why? I Googled postpartum depression so many times and read a ton about it…yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to reach out for help.

 

In this article that was featured in Scary Mommy, I open up for the very first time about my battle with PPD.

We all have our reasons

We all have our own reasons why we don’t speak up about postpartum depression. Below I listed 20 reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression.

 

 

 

1. We feel like bad mothers.

2. We have so much guilt.

I know all about the mom-guilt. I talk about it here in Scary Mommy.

3. People will think that we don’t love our baby.

4. We think that it will go away.

5. We listen to our family or friends say that it’s just the baby blues.

There’s a huge difference, mama.

 

6. We feel like nobody will understand.

You are certainly not alone in your postpartum depression.

 

7. We don’t want to burden anyone with our problems.

8. We feel like we can handle it all.

We are the mother and we feel like we are supposed to keep it together for our family.

 

9. We fear that our children will be taken away.

10. We don’t want to be labeled as crazy.

11. We believe that these feelings are our new normal.

We hear other mamas talk about how motherhood is an emotional and over-whelming experience, so when these feelings surface, we think that this is our new normal.

 

12. We don’t know how to reach out.

Most of the time, we simply do not know how to make that first step in asking for help.

Here are some great online resources that can help:

13. We don’t want to be loved any less.

14. We want acceptance.

In a society where mental illness is a stigma, we just want to be accepted.

 

15. We’re in denial.

16. We just want to be that picture-perfect mom that does every-thing right.

17. This was what we wanted, so we’re not supposed to feel depressed.

We wanted to be a mama. We wanted to have babies. So, we’re not supposed to feel depressed. Why should we?

 

18. Everyone keeps telling us that we’re so blessed…making us feel even worse for our depression.

 

19. You don’t want your partner to love you any less.

You’re afraid of what your partner will think of you– what if he/she stops loving you because of your postpartum depression?

 

20. You didn’t have it with a previous child and you feel absolutely guilty.

I know this all too well because I didn’t have PPD with my first son…but I did have PPD with my second.

 

There can be many reasons why moms don’t speak up about postpartum depression. If you have postpartum depression and you can relate to a few or even all of these reasons, I want to tell you– you’re not alone!

Can you relate to me, mama? I would love to hear what your reason for not speaking up about postpartum depression is… leave it in the comments below or shoot me a message.

There are resources. There is help out there. We can battle this, together.

Why Self-Care is Important for Every Mom

It can be something as small as making sure you drink enough water and take your daily medication, to going to your yearly dental exam.

Not sure where to start?

Trust me, mama, I now all about not making enough time for myself. It’s tough when you’re a busy mom! I have two toddlers to chase after…I can barely go to the bathroom alone!

Since I became a mom, I strongly believe now that self-care is important for every mom.

I’m an example of why self-care is important for every mom.

I’ll use myself as a good example of why every mom needs some self-care in her life.

After I became a mom, I stopped taking care of myself. I would feel guilty if I did ANYTHING just for ME. Yes, true! I would consume all of my time and energy into my newborn baby boy…and when I would practice self-care, well, the guilt would be so unbearable that I wouldn’t do anything else for myself months and months later.

This was a CRAZY thought in my head, but– I believed that doing things for MYSELF made me a bad mom.

After my second son was born, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I would literally be running on E, yet I would STILL be giving my family every last bit of my energy and happiness. That was the ultimate recipe for disaster, and it made me a very moody mama!

I started taking care of myself and I was slowly brought back to life….I began to make MYSELF a priority again!

 

Self-care can be easy.

I will tell you that self-care is easier than you may have imagined, mama.

Are you stuck and need some self-care inspiration? Or, maybe you need that extra nudge to start doing something for yourself.

 

I put together a list of some really great ideas for self-care.

It’s totally free!

Start taking care of yourself and find out why self-care is important for every mom.

After you tried my ideas, please let me know what you think!

 

I Am 1 in 5: The Truth Behind Postpartum Depression And Anxiety {Cara’s story}

Cara’s Story

{previously featured on A Purpose Driven Mom}

 

 

I was sitting in my therapist office one day and we were talking about guilt and shame and why I always feel like if something goes wrong, it’s automatically my fault.

“Well, that’s the depression talking”, she said so calmly.

Wow.

We had talked earlier on in our sessions about my anxiety and it was very clear that I was struggling with Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) but we had never talked specifically about Postpartum Depression (PPD).

To me PPD felt so much more real, so scary, and it honestly just made me feel so much more broken.

I felt like I could ‘deal’ with having PPA, I mean isn’t everyone just a stressed out mom? But PPD was so foreign to me. I felt fearful that people would think I was a bad mom, that I couldn’t take care of my kids, that there was something wrong with me. I mean I didn’t feel depressed. I wasn’t under the covers crying and unable to get out of bed (which was my previous experience with my depression when I was in high school) and I felt like I was getting better.

But there it was, clear as day and right out of my therapists mouth. I was a woman who had Postpartum Depression and Anxiety.

Did you know that 1 in 5 women suffer from either PPA or PPD? And so many moms out there just suffer in silence. They are afraid, just like I was and sometimes still am.

“What will people think of me?”

“Am I really crazy?”

“Why can’t I just get it together?”

For me, my anxiety isn’t always panic attacks or heavy breathing like they show so often on  TV but more of a mental tug and what we refer to in my home as my ‘spiral’.

It starts with the smallest trigger, mostly connected to me feeling like I’ve made a mistake or am inadequate in some way and it turns into spiraling thoughts that I struggle to shut down. Something as simple as getting the wrong thing at the grocery store can become catastrophic.

“Ugh, I don’t have time to go back out”

“I always do this”

“I am so forgetful”

“See this is what happens because you never pay attention”

“Why are you so stupid?”

“Ugh, why are you thinking like this again?”

“See, now no one wants to talk to you because you’re crazy and ruined dinner.”

This spiral is followed by some tears on my part, my family looking confused because they don’t know what to say to me, and me feeling even more guilty because I ‘ruined it again’.

It wasn’t until this pattern had happened for a few months in a row, and a LOT more crying on the middle of my kitchen floor that I realized I needed help. I told my husband I had to do something, I was tired of feeling so tired, and life was just exhausting me. As a life coach, I felt like an even bigger fraud because I felt even less together than I ever had been, and I knew that it was going to have bigger repercussions for my family if I didn’t get help.

So one day, I bravely walked into a therapist office and just said it “I think something is wrong with me”… followed by those ever flowing tears.

After a few sessions, she had diagnosed my PPA (and later my PPD) and we had come up with some coping techniques that have helped me get through my days better. I share them openly with my husband, though honestly I sometimes worry that I am TOO vulnerable with him, and they help him help me with my anxiety when it gets really bad.

In the 5 months since I realized that I needed help, I am proud to say that many of the techniques (from counting, to breathing, to reframing, and more) have really helped me when I am in a spiral. And while I would love to say that my spirals are gone, at least I can say that when I am in the moment, I can self identify what’s happening and bring myself out of it much quicker.

So many of us are afraid to speak our truths because we don’t want to be judged. We don’t want to admit that something is wrong with us. We love our kids and want to be seen as a ‘good mom’. But in keeping our struggles silent, we not only harm ourselves but our family and other women who are suffering in silence.

In that vain, I’ve had a few amazing women be willing to speak out on their struggles and share their personal experiences with PPA/PPD. Because the things is, it affects everyone so differently, which is why it’s also hard to identify right away. We might just think we’re stressed or hormonal or just having a bad day. But mama, if you feel off, if you’re struggle lasts a bit, if you know something just doesn’t feel right, can I encourage you to go and talk to someone, be it another mom, your doctor, or a family member? Because you don’t have to feel stuck, you don’t have to feel alone, and you don’t have to feel lost. Because YOU are not alone!

 

Read more

3 Ways You Can Help Your Partner Through Postpartum Depression

In the early days of my battle with postpartum depression, it was a lonely and scary time for me.

It felt like nobody knew what I was going through.

If you have never experienced postpartum depression (basically every male on the planet) or even depression, it’s impossible to understand the daily struggle of it.

I imagine that it’s also very frustrating.

 I know how hard it was for my husband to see me suffer from something so debilitating– he even told me how lost he was on being able to help me.

Truthfully, while I was at my worst, I didn’t need someone to talk to (that was actually the last thing that I wanted)— I didn’t need a therapist for a husband. I just needed my husband. I just needed him there– period. There was no secret thing to say because this was my battle and he could gush out all those lovey-dovey words he could think of and it would still not be enough.

Man, that’s real exhausting, isn’t it?

I can’t tell you how guilty I would feel because I was putting my husband through my depression– silly, isn’t it? Isn’t that such a mom/wife thing? Even when we’re going through a terrible struggle, we’re still worried about other people.

 

Perhaps your partner is struggling with postpartum depression (or there’s a strong chance to believe that she is– read the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression here) and you have no idea what to do for her. And maybe you feel like you really can’t do anything…but I promise you that you can…and even though it may feel like she doesn’t need you right now, she needs you now more than ever.

 

 

 

1. Let her know that she’s not alone.

You don’t have to understand what she’s going through but you do have to let her know that she isn’t alone in this; depression is a very lonely time and our mind can take us to some pretty dark and twisted places.

Let her know that you will weather this storm with her– this storm will pass.

Here are a few ways in which you can let your partner know that she’s not alone in this struggle:

*let her know that you are always available to talk.

*remind her that there are blogs, facebook groups, and an abundance of resources out there for ppd.

*remind her that no mom is ever perfect and it’s okay to not always love motherhood.

*sit up with her in the middle of the night when it’s the loneliest time for her.

*ask her, “how are you feeling today?”

*never make her feel wrong for having ppd.

*connect her with other moms that experienced ppd so she has someone to relate with.

 

I want to add– don’t be discouraged if she’d rather talk to other moms about her struggle than to talk about it with you. Remember: this isn’t about you…her choice to not share these emotions is her decision. Respect that and be grateful that she can share the struggle with someone else.

 

 

2. Offer her your support.

She needs you THE MOST right now so your support is very needed.

Here are a few ways in which you can offer your partner support:

*reassure her that she’s doing a fantastic job with motherhood.

*respect her boundaries of not wanting to share every emotion but always offer an open ear.

*when she does open up, let her vent about it freely.

*never judge her.

*research postpartum depression on your own time to know as much as you can about it.

*if she wants to take medication, support that.

*if she wants to go to talk therapy, support that.

*if she’s not into being intimate, support that.

*urge her to do more things for herself while you watch the kids and support that.

 

3. Pay attention to her cues.

Have you ever felt like your partner is going off the deep-end and you have no idea why?

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things?

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner?

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work?

Listen, it’s the postpartum depression that is doing all that ugliness and until you begin to pick up on her cues, it will be much harder on her (and you!). She may be moody and snapping over a dirty kitchen sink and you need to just get over that and really pay attention to what she’s trying to tell you.

You can literally begin to make this time a little more easier for her (and again, you!) by simply paying attention to her cues and needs.

For example:

Why is she always snapping at the smallest things? – She probably reached a limit for the day and ANY tiny thing- from spilled milk to a whiny child- can send her over the edge.

What you can do: tell her to go take a walk, a bath, or you take the kids out to the park or a movie. She needs time alone. Kid-free.

Why is she so moody every-night after dinner? – It’s probably because the kitchen is now loitered with dirty dishes, a dirty stove, and grumpy kids that didn’t eat the 35 minute meal she prepared.

What you can do: offer to clean up the kitchen or to give the kids a bath– if she doesn’t tell you which one to do, make the move and start helping.

Why is she never happy to see me when I come home from work? – It’s not that she’s not happy to see you, it’s just that she’s tired and overwhelmed from a long day. She needs YOU to take over now.

What you can do: instead of jumping on a video game or going to the gym, here are three things you can do to ease her mind.

1. ask her if there’s any-thing that you can do now that you are home, 2. make dinner…if you can’t cook, order take-out, 3. give her some time to herself.

Postpartum depression can be a very lonely and scary struggle– remind her that she’s not alone, offer her support, and pay attention to her cues. You can weather this storm together.

 

Resources:

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Self-Care For Those That Suffer From Depression

When you suffer from depression, it’s not always easy to find things that make you feel good. I really had to dig deep to find things that make me happy. And not just that, but to actually apply it to my daily life. 

As you may know, it can be a real battle to get moving on your hardest day when struggling with depression. However, it’s still so important to practice self-care and I’ve learned that the smallest things can really help my mindset; here are some things that I like to do when I’m in need of some self-care.

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This post contains affiliate links. That means, at no cost to you, I will receive compensation if you purchase something through one of these links. For more information about this, see my disclosure here.

 

Essential oils-

I’ve never been the type to get into the hooplah of essential oils but once I tried them, I’m not really sure why I shyed away from them for so long. I make sure to incorporate essential oils into my daily life- lavender, cedarwood, orange and grapefruit are just a few of my favorites and I use them by rubbing on my temples/wrists or diffusing. 

Check out my favorite brand of essential oils that I purchase through Amazon.

Epsom salt bath-

Whenever I can, I love to soak in a hot bath…accompanied by epsom salts and some lavender oil. It’s extremely relaxing and also a good way to detoxify the body.

I also would recommend these Dr. Teal’s epsom salts because they’re amazing!

Step outside-

It’s just a proven fact that the sunshine & warm weather puts me in a better mood. I love being outdoors so much and I try to get out even for a few minutes a day. In the summer time, I make it a habit to lay outside in my hammock to enjoy the fresh air. 

Move your body-

Even when you don’t feel like it, move your body… a short walk, a jog, anything. I can guarantee you to feel better because of those amazing little endorphines that will put off your “feel good” senses. 

Put the phone down-

It’s not an easy thing to do, especially in today’s modern society, but whenever I’m feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out, I turn off my phone. My phone is such a huge distraction and sometimes social media is a real mood killer. I’ve found that the days when I don’t check facebook, my mind feels better.

Buy yourself flowers-

This is something I recently started to do and for some funny reason, it helps my mood. Once a week, I try to buy some fresh flowers at the local market to put in my kitchen. I always try to pick the brightest colors and for about 2 euro, I have an instant mood booster in my home.

Create a routine-

Once you establish a routine of self-care make sure to stick with it. When we’re not feeling our best, it’s more important than ever to take care of ourselves!

There you have it.

Those are some of the things that I love to do for self-care. 

Let me know which ones you try out and tell me your favorite self-care methods!