Postpartum Depression (PPD), like other mental conditions, is difficult to capture in words. Depression has been likened to a cloud hovering above one’s head 24/7, never lifting. It has been compared to a monster that is not afraid to grip the very life out of its victims until they are gasping for breath, then letting go albeit briefly (only to return a short while after). Depression of any kind, including PPD, feels like drowning, flapping hands in the air and screaming for help, but the sounds are muffled before been sucked up in a black hole.
I have shared my journey on PPD before (and I want to appreciate every mama who reaches out for help, courageously so. It is nothing to be ashamed of) but today, I just wanted to pen down what PPD looks like, in plain simple mama English.
It’s knowing you are supposed to love and care for your child, but you just cannot seem to get around to doing it. That’s what PPD looks like.
It is having almost no recollection of those newborn moments, because motherhood in all its glory was nothing but a hazy experience. That’s what PPD looks like.
Read More: My Postpartum Depression Story
It’s struggling to catch sleep, sitting upright, right before the invasion of crazy intrusive thoughts of self-harm. That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s crying into a pillow at 3AM, wondering what the future holds for you and your baby, and then reeling into utter despair because hopelessness is such a close companion. That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s the incredible mental exhaustion of trying to stay afloat, only to plunge deeper, high on sleep-deprivation, confusion, and often self-hatred, because that’s what bad moms are like(?) Nop, because That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s looking at your baby, day after day, and wondering whether that magical bond was nothing more than a myth. It’s looking at your baby and feeling… nothing. Like life would be better without been a mom, day after day. That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s sitting there, and feeling like the worst human. Missing the old life with such zeal, unable to embrace the new life, because all the brain sees is the horrible. That’s what PPD looks like.
Read More: Good Enough Mom, Or Not.
It’s wondering to yourself, “ What is wrong with me? I always thought I would love this experience? Didn’t everyone allude to the fact that it would be bliss? Where’s the bliss when all I see are bibs and round-the-clock diapers?” That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s thinking about sharing the struggles of motherhood, but holding back because ‘they will think I am a selfish, ungrateful monster of a mom’. It’s feeling alone in the struggles. That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s waking up in the morning and wishing the sleep would be forever. It is fumbling through the day in a haze, only for night to fall and it is impossible to sleep. And when sleep finally comes, around 3am, it feels like a drunk lover just walked into bed – erratic, rude and unwelcome – Only for the cycle to repeat the next morning. That’s what PPD looks like.
It’s wondering whether this haze is actually a thing. It’s wondering whether to come forth and admit that help is much-needed. It’s the limbo between ‘I got this, I can do it’ and ‘I just want out, I am failing.’ That’s what PPD looks like.
You are not alone. You are not a bad mom. PPD is a mental health condition that affects moms; it does not respect race, social status or age. It can affect any mom. The good news is that there’s help available for you. Do not suffer in silence. I share my experience over and over again to encourage moms, that yes, Postpartum Depression reared its ugly head, but yes, they can overcome.
(PS: If you need help, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or use the contact form available.)