Tuesday, July 3, 2012

why not talk about it?

This morning at breakfast I asked my daughter what she wanted to do today.

Her answer?

Go to the beach!

Nothing beats the beach in the summer.

We filled our beach bags with sunscreen, towels & toys & were off to the local lake.

We swam in the warm water & she tried catching the fish that were circling around us with her tiny hands. We built sand castles & I laughed as she rolled around in the sand as if it were a soft blanket. We ate our turkey wrap, fresh fruit & veggie sticks on our sand covered beach towels.

When we got home, she sprawled herself out on the rug in the playroom & quietly played with her princess figurines (aka her “guys”).  I peeked into the kitchen to check the clock on the microwave. I had a few minutes to unwind before starting dinner.

A gentle summer breeze blew in through the open windows of our living room. I plopped down on our brown over sized sofa & reached for one of the parenting magazines that have been calling my name for weeks.

I flipped through pages filled with the latest & greatest toys. Discipline tricks were at my fingertips. Moms dressed in cute outfits with hair & makeup done, making parenthood look so easy. Children smiling from ear to ear. Recipes for summer desserts made with whipped cream & fresh strawberries made my mouth water.

While skimming through the magazines, I noticed articles pertaining to the not so cheerful side of parenting are scarce.

Of course parenting is fun, exciting & beautiful. But parenting can also be demanding, stressful & even scary.
Articles on the challenges that many parents face seem to be hidden away like some secret.

Why are we sometimes led to believe that parenting is a breeze & comes without any complications?  

When I was pregnant, my husband & I briefly discussed Postpartum Depression. I thought this only happened to “unhappy” people & I told him not to worry because it could never happen to me.

My daughter was 7 weeks old when I began experiencing signs of a Postpartum Mood Disorder. 

 I didn’t have stereotypical signs of Postpartum Depression & was unaware of the fact that PPD is an “umbrella term” used to cover a variety of emotional issues that can affect someone during or after pregnancy.

I remember friends cracking jokes about how tired I would be once the baby was here & how coffee would become my best friend.

No one ever told me that insomnia could happen & that it could be a sign of a PPMD.

I read about how I would never again enter a bathroom alone without little feet running in after me.

 I never read about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder happening after having a baby & how very real this condition is.

I heard stories from moms about their children throwing themselves on the ground in the midst of a temper tantrum at the grocery store.

 I never once heard about Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum OCD. And I never read about intrusive thoughts happening or knew how common these thoughts actually are.

Ashamed, embarrassed, confused & lonely, I put a smile on for the world to see. And like many others do, I hid my symptoms of a Postpartum Mood Disorder for over two years.

I believe women would feel less inclined to hide their symptoms if PPMD was discussed more. I believe women wouldn’t feel so alone in what they are experiencing. The stigma that surrounds PPMD would lessen & the suffering in silence would be a thing of the past.

So why not talk about it?


Kristin @littlemamajama said...

You're such an awesome advocate. I love it.

Hannah said...

I love that you're willing to talk about this! I had undiagnosed PPD after the births of both my children (and I'm pregnant with #3 which scares me like you wouldn't believe!) and each time, it showed up with different symptoms. From the things I'd read about PPD, I believe that it was a depression or sadness. I didn't know that feeling like I was in a fog, feeling sick to my stomach whenever my daughter woke up or needed something, losing my appetite completely, etc. for the first 6 months of my daughter's life was PPD. And I didn't know that the uncontrollable anger and feelings of being a terrible mother after the birth of my son was PPD either. I just hope I will be able to recognize if I need help and have the courage to ask for it this time around.