May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month. Year after year we are seeing more and more brave mothers come forward to talk about their depression experiences – and long may it continue. Postpartum depression comes in all shapes and sizes, with no age, race or social class bias, and it’s so important for society to truly understand how far and wide this mental issue spreads.
One of the most powerful articles about postpartum depression that we’ve come across is this one. Katherine Stone, founder and author of Postpartum Progress, asked her community of depression and anxiety survivors, to share a photo of themselves that could be captioned by filling in the following sentence:
“When this picture was taken, I was suffering from ______________. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt / was going through _____________.”
The responses were incredible, revealing just how well postpartum depression can be hidden, and stay undetected by friends and family. One mom said:
“I told no one. And all everyone said was how great I looked.”
The pictures Katherine received showed smiling moms snuggling with their babies – just one of the many types of pictures you see splattered across social media daily. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, and they should also say ‘don’t judge a photo by a smile.’ Behind the biggest of smiles can hide the most heartbreaking of struggles. Another mom posted:
“When this picture was taken, I was suffering severe depression. You can’t tell by looking, but I had to force myself to leave the house, was crying all the time, and hated being a mom.”
Just like there is no one type of sufferer, there is no one type of symptom when it comes to postpartum depression. It’s important for moms, both first timers and seasoned moms, to know this. Having a baby, be it your first or fifth, can involve a difficult and confusing postpartum transition for many women.
A safe, non-judgmental outlet for moms to discuss this issue, whether they are suffering or not, can be so helpful and inspiring. To support postpartum depression month, our Blooming Mamas postpartum group with Rachel Davis, MFT will be free of charge throughout May (Thursdays at 1 pm).
Some believe it takes a village to raise a child. We believe that it can also take a village to help raise a mom up. The village mustn’t ever forget to look after mom, too.