Embarking on this challenge of writing out and sharing my postpartum depression journey here has been the ultimate exercise in vulnerability. I didn’t think I would ever in my life write on these topics, and now I’m not sure I will ever stop writing about these topics (I mean, in general. Don’t worry, Brimming will get back its regularly scheduled programming of gifs, novel-writing, and mom stuff again, too).
I am truly healing from sharing these experiences, and this final post feels like the last suture of those old wounds. I’m not sure if this is the end of a chapter, or the beginning of a new one. Maybe both. Thank you for letting me share myself with you.
Though we don’t get awards when we make it to the other side of a particularly bad episode or bout of mental illness, we totally should. It’s no small feat.
There are so many people to thank, who help us on the road to mental health. I am stronger and healthier than I’ve ever been and I did not get here alone. This week has been my own award, so this is my version of a speech.
You may have noticed throughout these posts that I can’t tell most parts of this story without using the word “we”. That’s because, for as alone as I felt, I never actually was alone. My husband went through this with me every single step of the way. He’s the only one who saw me at my rawest, darkest, scariest.
My husband is the kind of guy you hope you’re getting when you say “I Do”. The one you want on your side when life hits the fan. He has always been so utterly good to me, I can’t even count the ways. During this time in particular, during the traumatizing pregnancy, the move across the country, the loss of a job, becoming a father, and holding the hand of his exhausted and depressed wife, he was steadfast and tremendous.
In this time when we were both so stressed and so f-cking tired, he was not only working a demanding and important job, but also shouldering my stress. Easing my panic. Taking my rage. He took over baby-duty whenever he could, letting me get sleep whenever possible. He brought me donuts and treats whenever he went out. He held me while I cried, listened while I talked endlessly. Soothed me again and again and again. Never agreed with me when I said I was insane or a bad mom, only ever encouraged me and told me all the things I was doing right.
He has done all of this for fifteen years, but when your person does this for you during the darkest time in your life? You don’t take it for granted. It isn’t par for the course. This isn’t just what partners do. This is what good, strong, patient, kind, loving partners do when they are spun of gold. I am here and okay and mentally healthy again because of him and his support. My love. Thank you.
Always and forever. My mom. Thank you.
Edie Falco (Yes, you read that right.)
I watched Nurse Jackie when I was in the deepest pit of my despair. I binged the entire series in a matter of weeks. I chose Nurse Jackie over precious sleep I loved it so much. I needed Nurse Jackie so desperately. It is dark, unforgiving, relentless in its honesty and tragedy and pain. I needed to go there during that time and Edie Falco as Jackie was my way in. I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to watch it again, but it was the art and soul that kept me dear company and told me it was okay to be so utterly flawed when I was at my absolute lowest.
There are so many people in this category who showed me love and support and endless patience and compassion. My sisters. My best friends. My mom friends. My loves. All of you did your part to get me through and kept shining your sunshine into the dark. Thank you.
My New Mom Support Group
When I had other new moms to talk to, compare notes with, get tips and advice from, with whom to laugh about the absurdity of it all, I started to emerge out of myself again. I could feel my anxiety waning, my feelings of emptiness dissipating a bit. That community of women buoyed me and prevented me from falling too deep. I will be forever grateful to each and every one of them for that. Thank you, ladies.
For always being the light. Thank you, my darling joy.
Thank you for reading and following along on this journey of sharing. For all of your comments, messages of support, and your own stories. I had no idea that this was going to reach and touch so many of you. In return, you have reached and touched me and I am so grateful to you. Thank you.
And Finally, My Depressed Self
Girl. You did it. You had no idea how life could ever look good again. You were in the bleak. In the drain. In the dark. And you found your way out while suffering, suffocating. You crawled, fought, pushed through the gnarled branches to find your air again. Well done.
Thank you for never giving up on me. I’ll never give up on you.
How To Get Help
If you think you could have postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to get help. You deserve to be happy. You’re not at fault. It is treatable. You don’t have to suffer, you don’t deserve to suffer.
Postpartum Support International: Call or Text the hotline, there are online support groups, a smart patients online forum, and so much more:
Call: 1-800-944-4773 or Text: 503-894-9453
Help for Moms: Love their mission statement: “We are glad you are here. We want you to know that you are not alone and you are not to blame. Help is available. You will get better.”
Get The Facts: Learn more about perinatal mood disorders including symptoms, risk factors, & treatments.
*This is Part 5 of a five-part series in honor of Mental Health Awareness month. I posted about maternal mental illness and my own experience with postpartum depression and anxiety every day during mental health week (May 14-19) in an effort to reduce stigma and raise awareness for maternal mental illness. You can read the posts, starting with Post 1 here.