When you become a parent a lot of things get put on the back burner: your career, your friends, your alone time. You get the picture. One major thing a lot of parents set to the side is their own mental health. We are told it makes us weak or bad parents if we suffer from any mental health ailments. It’s simply not true and way more common than we realize.
Postpartum depression affects 10-20% of new mothers and it is not talked about nearly enough. Having a baby is supposed to be a time filled with joy and happiness. If we struggle to feel connected to our child due to the baby blues or postpartum it can cause a tremendous amount of guilt. I was one of these people who suffered in silence.
When I was pregnant I was told how incredible the rush of endorphins and oxytocin would feel. I did everything right. I didn’t take pain medication. I didn’t have an epidural. I did everything I could anticipating that rush of chemicals. It never came. Instead I was staring down at my new born child feeling like I was holding an alien. I didn’t feel a connection and I felt like I was failing.
Was I a terrible mom?
Maybe I wasn’t cut out for this.
Why don’t I feel anything?
I left it untreated for a long time and tried to cover it up. I didn’t feel a connection with him until he was 2 and I finally got treatment. Don’t do what I did. You are not alone. Whether it’s postpartum, anxiety, depression, bipolar or any other mental health issue; do not leave it untreated. I think if we all started to accept that we will never be perfect parents and supported each other along the way it would make getting help a lot easier. Let’s normalize it, because it IS normal. Parenting is hard. Giving birth is hard. That rush of chemicals filling your body is a lot to take on at once. Be kind to yourself. You are doing a great job and no one is going to hold a grudge against you for getting help. As the great Marcus Parks said, “mental illness is not your fault but it is your responsibility.” Get the help you need when you need it. Stay strong.