Motherhood’s Dirty Little Secret: Postpartum Depression

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Survival mode in motherhood is no fun. I lived there for a while and it sucked all of the joy out of me.  I was dealing with postpartum depression after the birth of my son and I felt like I could barely get by. I didn’t deal with postpartum depression with my daughter, so it caught me by surprise.

My list of to-dos was a mile long and I had no energy. I felt inadequate and I felt like I was missing out on what should have been a joy-filled season. I was living for naps and bed. I was so exhausted. When I was in this season, I felt like I would be an inconvenience if I asked for help. I felt like I should be able to manage my home and raise my kids well. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t just buckle-up and be good at this motherhood thing, so I didn’t tell anyone how much I was struggling except my husband (who was incredibly supportive).

I wish I would have been able to put away my pride and ask for help. I know people would have helped if I asked. Now that I am out of that season, I have a much easier time admitting that I dealt with postpartum depression.

So many women suffer from postpartum in secret. I’ve heard stories of women who end up committing suicide because of it and not a single soul knew that they were struggling.  This is such a tragedy. If you are dealing with postpartum depression, don’t keep it a secret. Tell someone, actually tell a lot of people. We need so much support in the motherhood game and we need even more when we are dealing with depression.  

The turning point for me was when I was honest with my husband about how bad my depression was. He was worried and wanted me to go to the doctor, so I went the following day.  I went to the appointment and they prescribed me an antidepressant, but they said it takes a month before it will start to work.

Something inside me felt like I shouldn’t take it that day (please listen to your doctor). I decided since it would take a month before the antidepressant would start helping, I would try to personally get better in a month. If I couldn’t, I would take the pills. I called my midwife the following day and told her my plan, and she said I could try it (and she would check up on me).

These four tips helped me get out my dark period of postpartum depression.

4 Tips to Get Through Postpartum Depression

ONE

Write Down What You Accomplish and Who You Are

I started to retrain my thinking. I wrote with a dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror everything I accomplished, even if it was something simple like giving my son a bath. My mirror started to fill up with all of these accomplishments. It was a great reminder that I am productive. My husband would write my positive character traits on the mirror too. I needed those encouragements.

TWO

Ground Yourself in Truth

I started reading my Bible again and it made all the difference. Finding my identity in Christ helped to drown out my inadequacies. Truth cuts out the lies we tell ourselves.  Reading consistently gave my mind something else to dwell on.

THREE

Give Yourself Grace

I started viewing the depression as a season and not a permanent reality, it gave me hope.  I changed my expectations of a perfect Martha Stewart home. If my laundry or dishes didn’t get done, it was ok. This was really hard for me, but the most important job was taking care of my kids and myself.

FOUR

Enjoy the Simple Joys

Once I slowed myself down, I was able to enjoy my children more (and finally stop bleeding). I started to learn how to simply be. The household chores can fall behind for a bit. Our kids grow up so fast, let’s not miss the whole process.

Once my mindset shifted and I wanted to get better, my depression lifted quickly. If you are in this season friend, it doesn’t have to be forever. Get help, speak up, get some rest, and pay attention to what you are thinking. Postpartum depression shouldn’t be a taboo topic; you are not alone.

And for those of you who are not in this season, reach out to the new moms around you. They may be struggling, but will never speak up. Make them a meal, clean their house, offer to watch their other kids, etc. Let’s support each other through this motherhood journey.

2 Comments

  1. Andrea Sullivan

    You know I love you Amberlee and I also went through bad postpartum depression after Megan (27 years ago). I never had to drown out my inadequacies because I was too depressed to think that I had inadequacies.
    I listened to a doctor on the radio who said to get tested for thyroid issues.
    Greg called my GYN who did blood work & sent to to an Endocrinologist the
    next day. I’ve been on thyroid meds since. We need to help each other because it does take a village. Some people do need medical intervention and there is nothing wrong with that. Survival is the immediate goal.

    Reply
    • Amberlee Rich

      So true! I never knew your story. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m so glad you went to the doctor and I totally agree that going to the doctor is important. Postpartum depression is so rough. I’m glad you found help. It does take a village to raise a child!

      Reply

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