When my first child was born, nothing was the way I had been promised. The baby books, magazines, pamphlets and friends' stories about having a baby all left me with one image: blissful bonding of mother and child.
I looked around me in the first few weeks home with my beautiful son, and I saw the dream had come true for every new mother I encountered, but me. Playgroups, diaper bag clubs, in supermarkets and baby stores, women so overtaken with their new role of motherhood, they couldn't help but smile and coo at their little one. I only had tears.
All of this made me hide deeper into the isolation and shame of my feelings. Instead of joy, I had panic. Instead of napping with the baby, I paced. Instead of laughter and giggles, I had sobs and despair.
Where was anyone like me? Why wasn't there anyone like me? What was wrong with me?
When I finally sought help, I found community and acceptance through the postpartum support group my physician referred me to. It was these women who welcomed me and together, we created the one place where we were no longer alone, where we were safe to share our feelings. In the company of these women, I felt the promise of recovery.
On Aplus today, five women share their stories of postpartum and maternal mental health. I am honored to be among the women whose story of postpartum depression and anxiety is featured.
I hope you take the few minutes to read of our journey, then consider sharing our stories with someone you know, someone who may be struggling. Depression and anxiety tell us we're alone, but the five of us here share our postpartum experience to tell you otherwise.
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