Postpartum Depression and Anxiety: The GUILT
Guilt. Rooted in shame, postpartum depression is cloaked with a sense of guilt. A sense that what you’re feeling is wrong, that its offensive to be struggling. Even mommas who aren’t experiencing PPD, or who have overcome it, still struggle with guilt.
I look at my little baby’s face, his sweet chubby cheeks and his big bright eyes…he already looks for me when he hears my voice and smiles when he sees me. And I am overwhelmed with guilt. I love him, I am so happy I have him and this beautiful life - so why do I feel this way? And what’s even worse, how could I be diagnosed with postpartum depression? Depression is for people who are unhappy with their life, who have regrets and wish they were somewhere else…right? But I LOVE my life. I absolutely adore my new baby, and my teething toddler and my chatty Kindergartener. Even though my baby doesn’t sleep, I don’t regret him! And I wouldn’t change him - he is who he was created to be. When I have to admit that I have postpartum depression, though, I feel like the world must think the opposite. They must think I hate my life and regret my baby.
And then I look once again into the little faces of these three boys that call me mama, and I feel guilty for not being good enough for them. I feel guilty for feeling stuck on the couch some days and for having absolutely no patience the next. I feel guilty that my baby is stuck with a sad mommy, that my older boys are stuck with a mommy who can’t pull it together enough to leave the house and take them to a park.
Sometimes I look at my new baby and cry, because I feel guilty that he got stuck with me as a momma. And I cry, because I want to have joy and take joy in him. I want him to have more than I feel like I can give in this season.
Challenge your guilt - face it head on. This is what I told myself, and its what I’m challenging other moms to do, whether they’re struggling with postpartum depression or not.
Guilt is fear, fear of failing, of being inadequate, of disappointing… and it is a lie.
By definition guilt means a feeling of having committed a crime, of having committed some offense. It is associated with doing something wrong.
And so that is the perspective that must changing - having postpartum depression, or even being overwhelmed at any time because of the high demands of motherhood is NOT a crime. There is nothing wrong with you, nothing wrong with your feelings, nothing wrong with your life. You aren’t failing anyone because of your PPD. There isn’t anything wrong with being overwhelmed and needing a break, PPD or not. Feeling guilty only fails yourself - take care of yourself, be honest about your struggles, share with other mamas.
Are you struggling with Postpartum Depression and/or Anxiety? Join me in shining a light on the darkness of PPD by sharing your story, or snippets of your story, by using the hashtag #ThisIsPPD on Instagram. Join me on Instagram to bring awareness to PPD, and keep checking back because we have a lot of fun giveaways coming up! And if you haven’t already, please talk to your doctor and confide in a friend who can keep checking in with you! We are not meant to be on this journey alone.