Hey sweet friends! On our Exploring Neurodiversity and Mental Health series this month I am going to be focusing on Maternal Mental Health. May is Maternal Mental Health month. Becoming a mom who struggled with mental health before pregnancy made me acutely aware of the risk of postpartum mental illness. However, even with all my heightened risk factor, I was still shocked when I developed postpartum depression and anxiety.
My postpartum depression stole all the joy from Bug’s infancy.
As I write those words, I’m brought to tears again. I never wanted to not enjoy my baby being a baby. The anxiety and shame in seeking help was so intense though. For those who don’t know, Josh and I began trying to conceive as soon as we were married. After ten cycles, which I know in retrospect isn’t long, I finally had the baby we had prayed for.
Yet I spent most my pregnancy unhappy and depressed. We lost a close family friend right after I found out I was pregnant, we had two high needs foster children, and my hormones were out of control. I went on antidepressants to get through pregnancy. I should have been happy after Bug arrived.
Those should haves can destroy us though, can’t they?
Towards the end of my pregnancy my father was very sick. I’m talking surgery on his brain, scary sick. We also began visits for those foster children and we had just gone through court for another set. I had every right to be emotional. With my history of anxiety and depression, especially, I should have been prepared. On top of all that, my birth with Bug went completely the opposite way I wanted and I was a mess.
Yet I was so ashamed of feeling the way I did. Despite being well educated(in my humble opinion), on mental health, I felt like this was my fault. I don’t want any other mom out there to ever feel guilty and ashamed of how her body, hormones, and mind react to pregnancy, birth and a baby.
I want to spend the month of May talking about Maternal Mental Health. What can you expect? Today I’m going to give a little intro into just that.
I’ve shared how to recognize the difference and some facts about postpartum depression before at “When It’s More Than Just Baby Blues.” I also shared right before Bear “7 Ways I am Trying to Avoid PPD This Time Around.” I’m not going to be repeating this information over again! I have brand new posts to share throughout the month on topics I haven’t covered before.
The Schedule for Maternal Mental Health Month:
May 3rd: An Introduction…well what you’re reading right now!
May 10th: How to Talk to a Loved Mama You Think is Struggling. Sometimes, we notice a mama is struggling even before she does. Coming out and saying that though…that can be hard! I will be sharing some delicate ways to
May 17th: Maybe PPD is Partially Our Fault. Oh snap. this is an article I thought about writing for awhile. It’s going to dive into the possibility that we as a mom society are not helping younger or new moms but instead forcing them into a lonely place where PPD/A developing isn’t a shock. It will also have some ways to ACTUALLY help new moms and families.
May 24th: Talking to Older Kids About Your Mental Illnesses. This is actually something I have been passionately wanting to write about. My kids know I have mental illnesses. I will not and CAN not lie to them about that. I’m going to give you some tips to talk to your kids about yours or your spouses mental health.
May 30th: PLEASE NOTE THE DAY CHANGE. I will be joining a campaign where we are all sharing our motherhood journeys and different lives with maternal mental illnesses. We Are Motherhood is the title of campaign. You can check out the introductory post here! Today will be the day I share about my personal experience with maternal mental health. I’m going to talk a little about OCD and anxiety being intensified after birth and living with OCD, depression, and PTSD constantly as a mother. Again, this will be posted on a Tuesday and NOT my regular Wednesday!