Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Labels

Shameful. Pathetic. Embarrassing. Ungrateful. Selfish. Attention seeking. Unfaithful. Unrighteous. Weak. It's all in your head! You just don't pray enough. You just don't read scripture enough. You're just not righteous enough, not close enough to God.

These are some of the labels that I often felt when someone would find out I was experiencing postpartum depression. It's not as if I didn't have my own set of labels I was busy sticking on myself.

Crazy. Stupid. Weak. A total mess. A horrible mother. A monster to my kids. An awful wife. A pathetic housewife. An horrible friend. Crazy, crazy, crazy, and a failure at pretty much everything.

Throw in postpartum anxiety and PTSD, and the list of labels and hurtful comments from others grew even longer.

You just need to exercise more. You're just allowing yourself to be weak. You brought it on yourself. It's because you had all those kids!  You're just nutritionally deficient. You just need more minerals. You just won't let go of negative feelings. You're just holding grudges. You're just blowing things out of proportion.  It's because you've judged others. It's because you've judged your mother.

Labels in and of themselves are not bad things, in fact I've found that labeling things often helps me understand them, and then know how best to deal with them. But the labels on my life as I dealt with PPD were heavy, weighing me down, and worst of all -- I believed every one of them. Somehow this was my fault because I just wasn't enough, wasn't good enough, and wasn't doing the right thing. Somehow I could fix this if only I were good enough, but no - I was a failure.

It wasn't true. It wasn't true for me, and it isn't true for you.

Now, it is labels like this that I try to use to help other mothers experiencing PPD understand what's real. What's true. And what they can do.

Postpartum depression is a REAL physical problem, that isn't all made up in your head.
Postpartum depression is not uncommon, and it's certainly not something that is your fault, or that you can fix just be being good, eating the right vitamin, or simply by thinking the right positive thought.
Postpartum is complex, there is not one cause, and there is not one cure. But there IS something that will help you. There is hope. You will get past this.
Postpartum depression means you are STRONG. You are strong! You have given birth to a baby. YOU are amazing. You are going through a hard time, but you are strong. You will get through this. You won't always feel this way!
Postpartum depression is a little piece of hell -- but you ARE amazing, and you WILL get through this!
Postpartum depression is REAL. It is a physical ailment, just as having two broken legs would be. 
And yes, I know I repeated myself. The fact that PPD is a real and is a physical problem is perhaps one of the hardest things for someone to wrap their brain around - until they go through it themselves. 
There is HELP for postpartum depression. There is HELP available for you.
You are not weak. You are not weak for needing help. You are not weak for accepting help. 

And, you are NOT in this alone. 



PS -- Congratulations to Katherine Stone at PostpartumProgress for her 7 year blogiversary! You've helped so many people, and I refer friends to your site so many times since I found your blog again.




 

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