More Women Are Talking About PostPartum Mood Disorders, And That’s a Good Thing
5 years ago, when my daughter Harper was born, I had heard a lot about Postpartum Depression. I thought I knew everything there was to know- and because the crushing weight of depression wasn’t exactly what I was feeling as I slogged through the weight of my big, big emotions everyday, I didn’t ever even consider that maybe I had a Postpartum Mood Disorder.
And that’s a shame.
Because the suffering I was going through, meant my older 2 daughters and my marriage suffered, too. I was angry, I was anxious- and I was very, very hard on myself about my newfound lack of patience and my deeply unfounded fear about danger around every corner. I snapped at my daughters, we rarely went outside or did any meaningful activities together, I fought with my husband…and I stayed up late at night with insomnia most nights even IF my newborn daughter slept for long periods of time at night. I was a wreck, but my symptoms weren’t classic enough for me to recognize they fell within a PPMD framework.
Luckily, I attended a local MOPS group. And, at one of the meetings I attended, Penny Simpkins was our speaker. She spoke more generally about PPMDs, she shared the myriad of possible feelings I could be experiencing, and she offered hope. Not long after I heard her speak, I talked with my doctor and my husband, and I got help. It turns out I had Postpartum Anxiety and my symptoms looked different than the more classic, more oft discussed, Postpartum Depression.
5 years later, I hope my experience is far less common. And, if it is, it’s in part because of people like Melissa Bangs, writer, producer, and performer in the new one woman show: Playing Monopoly With God. Melissa Bangs is just one of the many pioneers sharing her personal story to erase the shame and stigma that often surround PPMDs. Her bravery, and her story will inevitably help other moms (like me) see that there’s any number of ways they could be affected by PPMD’s. And, more importantly that there’s hope.
I’m wondering, what organizations, educators, or art helped you see you were struggling with a PPMD. Comment to let other moms know! We may even do a follow up story with your resources.