Back in April I was attending one of my “Birthy Coffee” meetings with 1/2 of the outstanding Doula Duo, Bri Dewey. Most of us birth workers spend many minutes in the car and what’s the latest rage? PODCASTS. While Bri and I have a shared interest in true crime (that’s a blog for another day), she recommended a very real, emotional and heartbreaking subscription, “Terrible, Thanks for Asking.” Literally, 1 episode in and I was sobbing like I hadn’t cried in days. Here’s the tagline: “You know how every day someone asks “how are you?” And even if you’re totally dying inside, you just say “fine,” so everyone can go about their day? This show is the opposite of that. Hosted by author and notable widow (her words) Nora McInerny, this is a funny/sad/uncomfortable podcast about talking honestly about our pain, our awkwardness, and our humanness, which is not an actual word.” Grief and sadness are so relatable, you will find a piece of yourself in every story. But this week I am not talking about just any pain – Episode #4, titled “Me, Too”, is all about Postpartum depression and other not-so-fun stuff.
I find myself nodding my head as the episode’s guest honestly talks about her evolution from picture perfect pregnancy into a mom who has no more straws to grasp. She was lucky enough to have friends and family who recognized that something was wrong, and she still has dark days but now is a vocal advocate for other moms suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Excerpt from “Me, Too” → “It IS going to be okay. I think when you’re in the darkness you can’t see the other side. When you’re in the thick of it all that matters is that moment. And so you don’t see beauty on the other side of it. Everything that they are feeling in that moment, the opposite is on the other side…I know you’re feeling worthless, but you’re worthy. I know you’re feeling cold but it’s warm over here. You can get here. I’m here. I hear you. I see you. I feel you. Because I think you feel invisible during that time, and that’s isolating as hell.”
I see you.
I feel you.
You are not invisible.
My experience with PPD was not my own, but rather my witness in the beginning to my friend and client’s struggle. My husband and I have been friends with Caitlin and Eric for gosh…9 or so years? We had mutual friends bring us together for “Game of Thrones” night back when it first aired and the rest is history. Caitlin cheered me on through beginning my photography business and always exclaimed that one day it would be her turn. And then surprise – our dear friends were expecting. I documented their pregnancy announcement and maternity images, and while C. did not have the easiest time health wise (Hyperemesis Gravidarum is no joke), she and E. were still very very very excited to meet their son.
About 3 weeks after James’ birth I jaunted over to their house for their in-home lifestyle newborn session. I was giddy with excitement to meet the baby and chat with the parents about their new roles. James was so gorgeous, the picture perfect mix of his two parents. His two parents who were exhausted and worn out. James’ first weeks were spent at various doctor appointments, both for him and Caitlin. I watched my usually vibrant gal pal stare off into the distance with glassy eyes, and even stare at her baby with a sort of wonder, like “Now, what?”
Caitlin had/has postpartum depression. She posted a couple weeks ago right around the time I listened to that episode and I asked for permission to share her words –
“This is a topic very near and dear to me. Being a mom is hard. Add in PPD and a lack of sleep it becomes nearly impossible.
Take care of yourselves, mommas. It gets better. It gets easier. Ask for help. It seems impossible but try to find time to take care of you, even if it’s a short walk around the block.
Do not be ashamed to seek medical help. Do not be ashamed if you can’t breastfeed. Do not be ashamed because you made a choice and people feel the need to tell you how wrong you are (because literally every decision you make will be controversial). Do not be ashamed if you cant be a SAHM. Do not be ashamed if there are times you can’t handle it.
You’re doing amazing even if it doesn’t feel like it. You’re making the best decisions you can for your baby and don’t let anyone else tell you different (for the love of all things holy avoid toxic mom groups).
You got this. I got this. We got this.
I never truly understood “it takes a village” until I became a mom. I’m so grateful for all the love, help, and understanding I’ve received.”
There is love, help, and understanding here in Portland, Oregon.
Reach out. We’ve got you ♥
- Baby Blues Connection
Support, resources, and peer to peer assistance for “women and families coping with pregnancy and postpartum mood disorders”.
- Belle Âme Therapy
Supportive counseling for women concerning maternal mental health, anxiety, and life transitions.
- Bloom True Wellness
Individuals and Family Therapist, “Heal from your past, connect to your true self, and hope for your future.”
- Mindful Papa
Mindful Papa offers individualized services to create practical and effective solutions for stressed out fathers who may be struggling with any number of challenges including feelings of depression, anxiety, traumatic stress, grief, loss, anger, life transition concerns, addiction, parenting or fatherhood issues, relationship conflict and challenges with other family members.
- Empowered Families Project
PDD is a serious condition and it must be treated as such. The timely professional intervention will help resolve the issue faster and will leave you more time to enjoy the new experience of being a parent.
- Postpartum Support International
Information, support (phone & online), resources and referral information for women and men in areas of pregnancy, postpartum & mental health.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Provides,”24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones”.
#MaternalMentalHealthMonth #babybluesconnection #mentalhealthmatters #fightthestigma #maternalmentalhealth