For those of you who are new to this blog, it’s difficult to tell that I had once suffered from postpartum depression. My children are now 10 and 8 and motherhood is no longer overwhelming, depressing and lonely. Yes there are still moments when parenting feels difficult, but none that I can’t handle with the help of prayers and support from friends and family.
These days I’m happy, whole and balanced. I feel close to God, close to my husband and children, close to my friends. I know I’m extremely blessed to say these things.
However, it took a lot of tears, heartache and pain to get here, because I suffered from postpartum depression in 2007 during months following the birth of my second child. I don’t think about it often now that more than 8 years has passed–and I have since healed from this dark disorder that gripped my soul.
Today as I was cleaning my bedroom, I came across an old journal I kept during this dark period of my life. This is before maintaining my public blog and I remember this journal being my lifeline, my only source of healing and therapy.
As I re-read its pages I was gripped by my own words, and its honesty, transparency and rawness made my heart ache for that lonely mother again. I wish I had known back then, what postpartum depression really is, and that there are millions of mothers who suffer from the same illness. I wish I knew that I wasn’t crazy or alone.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) Statistics
Outdated studies have shown that approximately 10 to 15% of women suffer form postpartum mood disorders (PPMDs), including postpartum depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum psychosis. It is my personal belief that this number is misleading, because these studies only account for self-reported cases where the mother actually seeks help and is medically diagnosed.
Knowing that many women suffering from postpartum depression do not seek help or guidance due to feelings of guilt and shame (a looming characteristic of postpartum depression), one postpartum website argues that the average number of new mothers who experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders is more likely in the 20% range, which would mean around 1.3 million annually.
In conclusion, there are more women suffering from postpartum depression than those who suffer from diabetes (Nat’l Diabetes Information Clearinghouse), stroke (Centers for Disease Control) or breast cancer (National Cancer Institute) and not enough resources available for mothers.
Final words before sharing my story
So today more than 10 years later, I’m opening the pages of my personal diary from 2007. I do this with a grateful and empathetic heart because I know there are mothers out there who are suffering from this very serious and painful illness today. I do this so that my pain and obstacles– and more importantly, overcoming of these obstacles can add value to someone else’s day and instill light in someone else’s darkness.
Postpartum depression casted a dark cloud during what was supposed to be the most beautiful months of my life. Now looking back however, those months were perhaps not meant to be all that beautiful and perfect. Perhaps those months were meant to be difficult, so that the rest of our journey into motherhood can be that much more meaningful and colorful, like the rainbow after pouring rain.
It’s my sincere hope that my journal entries can shed light on this very real and debilitating disorder that millions of mothers suffer from each year.
If you are going through this today, you’re not alone. In fact, there are millions of women who suffer from it behind closed doors with no one to talk to. Seek help and find ways to get out of its gripping power. There IS light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Trust me. I survived it — and today, it’s hard to believe I was once this depressed and lonely. Thanks to my journal, I’m able to look back with a humble and grateful heart. Everything does happen for a reason, and perhaps one of the reasons was so I can share my story with you today.