I Was Gone: A Mother Opens Up About Postpartum Depression and Maternal Mental Health

by Natalie McBride

I Was Gone: A Mother Opens Up About Postpartum Depression and Maternal Mental Health

Do you remember those early moments of motherhood? You might say “No, everything was a blur.” or you might say “Yes, I was so happy and so tired.” Either way and every story in between, one common thread to each momma’s story is this: we were never the same from that moment.

After I gave birth, I felt like a shell. I didn’t know where I had gone. I fought it – hard – and I lost every time. I was gone. Looking back, now that I’m better and I’ve opened up and shared my rawness with other moms, I knew that it changed me and I wouldn’t ever be the woman I was before I became a mom. I was brand new – like my baby, just a lot less innocent.

Since I didn’t know that was going to happen to me, my preconceived vision of my life after birth was blissful breastfeeding and happily humming little lullabies to my newborn at night. Instead I was broken and bloody, long after I gave birth. I had haunting thoughts and cracked nipples; I was numb to everyone and angry about everything and anxious beyond relief. I sought help, realizing I had postpartum depression and anxiety. Even after I got help, I was so far removed from myself, I became disengaged and made damaging decisions that affected me and my family. At rock bottom, again, I sought help from my therapist.

It was the second positive pregnancy test that snapped me back into focus. Of all the times to get pregnant – really? I was a total mess. Clearly not fit to be a mom. But, it was as though I finally found myself again – the new me and I came to peace with her and we made a commitment, to myself and to my family, to do better. I was worried I might go through this all over again, but I also knew I was going to approach this pregnancy, birth, and mothering-thing differently.

When I was honest about my short-comings, struggles, challenges and triumphs, un-cleaned messes around the house, let go of my “plans” to listen or vent with a friend — it made all the difference in my next journey into and through motherhood.

Next week is MMHA Week – “Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week”. This week belongs to everyone, not just moms, because it takes a village, and we can do better together. We must support new moms and dads in the journey into and through parenthood. Women’s bodies, hearts, minds – everything changes after becoming a mom and that’s exactly why moms need support. Moms are remarkable at juggling and hiding and it’s mystified the reality of what it’s really like to be a mom in America. It’s time to be honest about our thoughts, our bodies and our messy home. No more “I’m fine, how are you!” No more “you’ve really bounced back after baby!” No more posting pictures of your breakfast with an ideal background because we all know there’s a pile of laundry and an unwashed baby bottle right there – and it’s OKAY.

The BlueDot Project puts on MMHA Week annually, and this year’s theme is “Making Over Motherhood” – posting pictures of the perfect house and kids disillusions one another to the reality of motherhood. This week is engaging and will “fight stigma and shame”. We invite you to join us as we post honest pictures of your motherhood journey. We encourage messes wherever you have them! Tag as suggested below to magnify the community of moms, especially, but also partners in parenthood. Sign up to take the Making Over Motherhood Challenge here!

How will you be Making Over Motherhood in 2019?

@thebluedotprj
@motherhoodunderatood
@babyboldly
#makingovermotherhood
#MMHWeek2019
#2020momproject
#babyboldly

Today’s Bold Momma

Natalie is co-founder of Baby Boldly, wife to James and mom to Abigail (4 years) and Mabel (1 year). Her passion (alongside pizza and chocolate) is with new moms and dads, striving to empower them for improved birth and postpartum experiences and changing the way society relates to new moms’ and dads’ unique needs.

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