I’ve heard the question over and over again, and every time it strikes a nerve: “Well, T isn’t a newborn anymore so is it really postpartum depression?”
The answer is still “Yes.” Why? Because it’s not really any of your business. Okay, defensiveness aside, because that’s what the medical professionals told me. Postpartum depression can crop up within two years after having a child, and even when it lasts it is still a depressive episode triggered by the changes women go through in pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. Voilà, postpartum depression.
If you’ve read some of my other posts about postpartum depression and anxiety, you will have read that I didn’t get help right away. I suffered in silence for over a year. I didn’t want to be that person, that mother, who couldn’t handle motherhood and would forever be labeled as “depressed.” Of course, that was just the depression talking. Now I can see life so much more clearly, and realistically. Depression doesn’t define me as a mother or a person, it just is something I have, like having a freckle or a funny looking toe. It definitely isn’t a favorite attribute, but it is so important to know that it isn’t who I am, and it is something that gets better.*
I’ve been going to therapy and been on medication, and it makes a world of a difference. You know when Dorothy steps out of the fallen house into a world of Technicolor? Yeah, it’s kind of like that.
This isn’t to say that I can’t backslide. Depression and anxiety is something that is like your shadow; always present and pretty hard to be rid of. The good thing is the more light you shine in your life and on yourself, the less formidable the shadow becomes. Being proactive and pushing my comfort zone has been an integral part of my improvement. Social activities, organizing the house, painting, writing, and scheduling personal alone time are all key elements in keeping me [mentally] healthy.
So, no, I’m not really sure when postpartum depression ends and just plain ‘ole depression starts. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I keep moving, ever forward, in my journey and that I don’t want to ever become “that mom” again. It’s not about what people think or the labels they might stick to you, it’s about being the best mom to your child possible.
*If you are struggling with depression and/or anxiety and need help, contact your primary physician, ob/gyn, or check out: https://ppdsilencesucks.com/
About the author
Not too long ago Ainsley became a mother, fulfilling her unrealized calling. After experiencing intense physical and emotional challenges during pregnancy and facing motherhood with zero sense of reality, she found her calling in helping other women. She left her career to raise her son and committed herself to letting other women know they aren’t alone in their experiences. She aims to give women a realistic voice and view of pregnancy and motherhood, while creating a community of support around them and celebrate each unique motherhood experience. She started her own blog and eventually co-created The Luna Mom.