We are convinced that it is necessary to break the law of silence surrounding motherhood and determined to lift taboos that should not be. By testifying, you are offering support and comfort to all women going through a similar ordeal without daring to talk about it. Thank you for them, thank you.
“I was blessed to experience a smooth pregnancy, with a super healthy baby, and I was able to be active until 10 days prior delivery, however taking a step back I realize that 10 days off is not enough. A perfect delivery and unconditional happiness, which all of you must have experienced as well…. Baby was 3 days old, and mom was ‘hit’ by baby blues, I had been told about it, but I was never warned about the violence of this hormonal decline. I was showering and suddenly started to cry, cry, and cry and was unable to stop. The midwives explained to me about baby blues, my obstetrician as well; however, I was very far from realizing how intense it could be (as far as I was concerned).
And when it rains it pours, judgments and pressures from outside also came into the picture… “you don’t have the right to cry!”; “Get yourself together please, that’s ONLY due to hormones”; “Are you aware that you are living the best life and you are in this state!” etc, etc, etc.
I don’t recall everything I have been told, but I can remember feeling guilty and unheard especially, with no support, and no shoulder to lean on. I was a mother now; I had to stay strong and had no right to feel this way. Those feelings stayed with me. Finally, the day I had to go home came, baby, mommy and baby blues of course… Daddy came to pick us up. He was there without really being there…. It didn’t help me get any better, as reality hit me. Day after day, I was in awe of my baby, my reason to live, but my baby blues was still there too. My midwife started to talk to me about postpartum depression even though I never neglected my baby. Couples’ issues were taking over, a more and more absent dad and a more and more lonely mom, having to handle everything night and day. After going back to work, my doctor put me on sick leave due to parental burnout. My blood tests were pretty bad; I was exhausted, feeling empty both figuratively and literally. It took me 4 years of bad, very bad times (house, break-up, and job) for me to agree to see someone. On my birthday, there was only one thing I could think about, disappearing. I didn’t want to belong to this world anymore, and I felt like I was an awful role model for my baby. I told myself that his father would be better suited than me. My best friend forced me to see a psychiatrist and start therapy. It was hard for me to admit, but at this point, I couldn’t go through it anymore without help. I had to get out of this funk that was harming my physical and mental health.
Despite the constant feelings of failure and shame, I gave in and made an appointment. A little voice was still telling me that my baby chose me as his mummy, and if I didn’t do it for myself, I had to at least get better for him. At the first appointment and first tests done, the diagnosis was made: severe depression with therapeutic follow-up required for at least 3 years along with antidepressants for 6 months — everything I had always refused before. I finally started the procedure, and honestly, I never thought I’d say this, but since I started, I came back to life. I found myself again, and I want to live!
Don’t let judgments, critics, a father’s absence, and routine at home overwhelm you, because before caring about all of this and even your baby, you need to care for yourself. You: the wife, friend, lover, mom, colleague and so on. Moreover, if you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will do it for you. Don’t overestimate yourself, but above all, don’t underestimate yourself! Nobody knows better than you about how you feel. Taking a step back, I honestly think some important decisions should have been made earlier on, but when we are stuck in a situation, we stay there without being able to get out. To this day I still don’t know if I suffered from postpartum depression, but one thing for sure, it was the baby blues, which resulted in depression. It took me 4 years to accept it and get support! Good luck to all the mums who are going through this; you are not the only one, and you are not alone! Please accept help.”