My Story

 
 

I am a wife and a mother of a 3.5 year-old boy. I am a warrior of postpartum depression and anxiety. My symptoms began during my pregnancy, around second trimester. I associated them with being a first time mom, being scared of not knowing what to expect and the stress from working and attending graduate school full-time.  My pregnancy was difficult because I was under a lot of emotional stress, not knowing how to decipher from what was "normal first time mom jitters" or depression and anxiety. I continued to ignore my symptoms and go about preparing for the arrival of my son. It was not until my son was born,  when we got home that I began to feel an immense sense of fear and worry that I would not be able to care for my son. I did not sleep, I cried constantly, I refused to let anyone help me because I worried they would not be able to do things right as well as also fearing being labeled a mother who did not know how to care for her child. Like most mothers, I felt alone (even with people around), I felt judged, ashamed, scared and in constant sadness. My support system was not big, my husband went back to work after a few weeks and my mother and father were the only ones who came over to spend time with me and my son. Friends rarely called, some did not even visit me and I felt lost and confused as to why this new chapter in my life was consuming and drowning me rather than making me feel happy and blissful. I did not share what I was feeling or thinking due to fear and shame of being labeled a "bad mom." As a clinician, I did the checklist in my head of my symptoms and knew things were not right and that I needed help but that took over a year for me to ask for it. I thought I was just supposed to suck it up and manage it. I thought that since I was so strong and I had surpassed other challenging things before in my life, this would be just another stepping stone I would get over without having to seek professional help. A part of me was also in denial that motherhood was tough. No one prepares you for the mental and emotional changes you are going to experience that at times it's easy to ignore the signs by just assuming, "this is just motherhood." When my son turned 1, I began feeling a little hopeful. I began thinking, "ok, I can handle this, he is a little more independent, he is walking and I can take care of myself a little better." Exactly 2 months after that, I lost my father tragically and that led me to fall into a more severe depression. It was not until I spiraled out of control, in the summer of 2016, that  I seeked professional help. I called my previous therapist and scheduled an appointment. It took a great amount of work and a lot of learning about my symptoms, thoughts and feelings. It was what I like to call "peeling back the onion" that I came to acknowledge what I was going through, what I was feeling and how badly I needed to connect with other mothers to not feel alone. Now, 3.5 years later, I am so passionate about helping other mothers in this situation understand that they are not alone, they are not bad mothers and they can overcome with the right help those dark moments of motherhood.