Mental Health Motherhood & Baby

My Experience with Postpartum Depression

DISCLAIMER: 
As much as you may want to, please resist the urge to get prescriptive on me or Theo about anything after reading this. You may feel compelled to recommend probiotics or lavender or eliminating dairy or ask me if I’ve looked into X. Please don’t. Because 1) nothing is helpful in retrospect, and 2) I lived in this reality for MONTHS. If you thought about it after reading my experience, I promise you I did too. We looked into everything. We had everything checked. There were doctors and naturopaths and baby chiropractors in and out of our lives for months. There was nothing “wrong” with either of us (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you see it, haha). This was just a sucky chapter in our lives and we’re happy to have moved past it.

Also, keep in mind that at the time of this post, I’m feeling much better.

Let’s get into it.

IN THE THICK OF IT
“So do you love being a mom?” The first time I heard this was 5 weeks postpartum. I forced a smile at the barista who asked and politely replied, “absolutely,” before walking home to my perpetually screaming new baby. Later that same week I left Theo with my husband to step out for some fresh air. The streets were empty except for one car speeding down the street I was about to cross. I briefly thought that if I timed my steps just right, I could “accidentally” get hit. No no, not so badly I would die (though that didn’t scare me), but just a little. Like, just enough that I’d have to be in the hospital for a minute. At least it would be quiet there, right? And I wish I could write about just one specific memory when I felt completely inadequate to mother Theo, but those feelings haunted me every hour of every day for months. 

So at 5 weeks in, how do I even respond to a perfectly innocent yet totally loaded question like, “So do you love being a mom?” I wasn’t upset that she asked; we can’t expect strangers to anticipate and appropriately react to our internal struggles. But this question killed me. My husband explained it REALLY well: asking me this at 5 weeks in is like asking someone who just quit their job to start a business if it was worth it. How could you possibly know the answer to that yet?! It’s barely even begun!

If the answer to that question isn’t 100% positive, you’d never respond honestly because that question is never “just a question.” You always hear longing in people’s voices when they ask about the newborn days. They talk about how magical they are and how much you’ll miss them, but I wish someone told me that it’s not the newborn days that put the longing in their voice now; it’s who that newborn becomes that makes them ache to relive the beginning. The semi-sentient potato that does nothing but eat, cry, and poop doesn’t feel like the same person you fall in love with a few months later when they flash their toothless grin and reach up to you from their tiny bed. 

I’m sure it’s true the newborn days are the highlight for some people, but they were very dark for me. Well, for both my husband and I, but I’m speaking only from my perspective here. The brutal lack of sleep, 24/7 breastfeeding, and brain-rattling baby screams chipped away at my sanity and depression snuck up on me before I even knew what happened. The fourth trimester is difficult for anyone, but for first few months of my baby’s life, I sincerely thought I ruined my own.

What really did me in? Well, Theo was a crier. In medical terms, he had colic.

WHAT IS COLIC LIKE? 
“…frequent, prolonged and intense crying or fussiness in an otherwise healthy infant.” Contrary to popular belief, it is not gas and it is not reflux. And if you’re thinking, “well, babies cry!” Also, no. It’s true that an average baby sometimes cries for seemingly no reason. It’s just their way of coping with a new environment so there’s always a little of that regardless of the baby. A colicky baby cries at least 3 hours a day, at least 3 days a week, for at least 3 consecutive weeks. Our baby cried almost every waking minute every day of his life until he was nearly 4 months old, at an intensity that was so alarming, our nerves were shot before sunrise daily. We were jittery and drained 24/7 and that’s not an exaggeration.

Newborns have the type of cry that’s supposed to make you jump into action. It’s piercingly high and shockingly loud. Fun fact: newborn cries reach 130 decibels, which is as loud as a machine gun. The threshold for pain is 120 decibels and normal conversation is about 50 decibels. The reason for this intensity is biological, it’s smart, and it’s how they’d survive if abandoned. But to hear it on loop for hours and hours, day after day, while being told nothing is wrong by every doctor you visit, and it’s just something to endure? That’s a special kind of torture we were not ready for.

We went to 3 different pediatricians, convinced something was wrong, but everyone said the same thing: He’s perfectly healthy, it’s just “developmental,” “it’s colic.” And everyone we spoke to said, “it goes away by 3 months. Hang in there! Three months!” So when we hit that magical 3 month mark and almost nothing changed, you can imagine how much deeper I slid into the quicksand that is depression. It was more of the same… Theo would wake up, have a few minutes of peacefulness, then quickly melt down into unstoppable crying for hours, or until the next time we could get him to sleep (which was another struggle I’ll go into in its own post).

During one of my desperate Google searches to figure out how to fix my baby, I found this: “Navy SEALS are trained to withstand torture by putting them through sleep depravation with the sound of crying babies blasting through the speakers.” I felt so validated! I wasn’t crazy for thinking this was torturous– it was exactly as awful as I felt it was.

WHAT PPD FELT LIKE FOR ME
I felt like I was living with a veil over my eyes. I could see everything everyone else was seeing, but blurred. Life was so, so hard with a baby that never stopped crying, and coupled with extreme sleep deprivation, I just couldn’t find happiness anywhere. There were weeks I cried every day, feeling utterly broken by this experience. I’ve never felt so trapped or hopeless and I didn’t think this could be a temporary feeling either. I couldn’t blame hormones, I couldn’t blame colic, and it never even crossed my mind that I might be depressed. I thought I needed to take responsibility for these feelings— it was no one’s fault but my own. After all, I chose to have a baby.

I talked myself out of believing I could be depressed because it didn’t look like what I heard commonly described in the media. People with PPD wanted to hurt their children, right? All those women on Moms Who Murder had PPD. I told myself I don’t have PPD because I adore my son and actually fear something bad might happen to him.

Also, I thought babies are supposed to need their mothers, but I truly believed my baby was different; as long as I replaced the food source, he didn’t need me at all. And more than just not needing or wanting me, I thought he actively hated me. I’m not joking or being hyperbolic. I’ve never experienced anything as emotionally painful as being unable to calm my own baby as he screamed in my arms. I thought it was me. I thought he didn’t know or care who I was.

Despite that, every day I woke up and tried to convince myself that I was fine. I was *good*. I was that cartoon dog sitting at his kitchen table, surrounded by fire going, “This is fine!” 😀 And for a while I believed it. The first crack in my armor came while I was casually talking to Adrien in our kitchen and said, out loud for the first time, that Theo is a much more difficult baby than I expected to have. For some reason, putting these feelings into words made it real. It meant it was true– I was having a hard time.

PPD and PPA (Postpartum Anxiety) can affect anyone regardless of the temperament of their babies, but for women whose babies have colic, the percentage goes up to between 70-80%. But it wasn’t until two months later that I found list of postpartum depression characteristics that made me rethink my beliefs that I was a bad mother and that Theo hated me. Maybe they weren’t “truths,” but symptoms: 

– hopelessness
– persistent feelings of inadequacy
– sadness beyond the first 2 weeks postpartum
– resentment
– hatred of your new life

After reading that list I sort of perked up! I thought, “Wait, THAT’S depression?! Well shit I definitely have that!” 😂 The whole concept was pretty foreign to me because I’ve never been depressed before. I’ve had anxiety, but anxiety exists on the opposite end of the spectrum. Anxiety feels like a bad high whereas depression is slow and low and deep.

I could hardly talk about Theo without crying because the topic of my son just made me so sad. In those early days I stopped following moms on Instagram because they ALL seemed so happy, I’d get angry seeing it. What did I do to deserve such chaos? What did I do wrong to break my child? I felt like maybe *I* was broken because I wasn’t having this magical, blissed out experience with my new baby. We weren’t even getting those mythical “good days” people raved about. You know, when people say, “ah, but the good days are REALLY great, right?” I felt like I was back in middle school pretending to understand a joke. Like, HA HA HA! Hold on, wait, what do you mean by “really great”? If by that you also mean “still moderately bad” then yeah I guess we have those!

And somehow it made it even worse knowing not everyone has a baby like this. Family members felt bad for us because of how much our boy cried and somehow that was at once comforting and horrible because we realized, “wow, so this is really bad…”  

Our baby cried a lot. A lot, a lot. But on top of that, everything else was just hard. It was a never ending cascade of difficulty. Breastfeeding didn’t come easy for us, healing after the birth was hard, our house was in disarray because he was born 2 weeks before his due date, and I STILL had tonsillitis when we came home from the hospital (which I got 5 days before my water broke). I was getting 2-3 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Oh, and my family was here from the US for 5 weeks straight during this time. It was all just too much.

STAYING QUIET
It’s so easy to think no one would judge anyone for having PPD until it’s YOU. Then you feel like everyone would judge. Everyone would think you’re unfit to be a mother. Everyone would try to take your baby from you (it sounds irrational but YES, you truly DO fear this!). Everyone would think you’re weak. Everyone would think you’re dramatic. In my case, I thought everyone would think I was doing something wrong because my baby won’t stop crying. And EVERY.GODDAMN.PERSON. will stare you dead in the face and ask, “are you sure he’s not just hungry?” Or, “does he have a dirty diaper?” These questions were infuriating because I genuinely want to know what those people thought we were doing while our baby screamed his face off. Staring at the wall? Or doing every thing you could possibly think of (including plenty you’d never think of) to try to fix it? Everyone was trying to help, but all those comments just made me feel even more inadequate. How bad of a mother must they think I am that I wouldn’t even try to FEED or CHANGE my baby?

All of this “advice” fed into the narrative I already had playing in my head: I am a failure. I’m psychologically destroying Theo. I cannot fix him, therefore, my son hates me.

So yeah, with all that going on, you just hide it. And let me tell you– it is SO easy to hide on social media. It’s SO easy to put on a happy face for a few 15 second videos every other day. It’s SO easy to only show what you want even in a psychological, emotional free fall. I’m telling you this because I knowingly perpetuated that narrative of perfection, of everything being “fine,” when I was breaking down inside.

HOW I FEEL NOW
I kept waiting to talk about this because I was waiting for a clear end. Like, I don’t know, some grand finale where the depression mailed me a letter and formally resigned. Maybe a press release. Something! But it doesn’t work that way. Postpartum depression isn’t a finite experience and it doesn’t just end abruptly. It ebbs and flows and fades over time, but otherwise it’s like the weather. You might have a week of sunshine followed by three days of thunderstorms. And depending on the season, over time those storms get further apart and less intense, but you get used to the fact that storms happen.

So today at 7.5 months postpartum, I feel much better. The fog started to lift around 5 months when Theo’s crying subsided and began sleeping better (due to our own efforts– not by magic), but I still have bad days sometimes. I mourn the experience I expected to have which was to have a baby that required waking up a lot at night and lots of attention. In other words, a normal amount of work for a new baby. But I also thought I’d have a baby who would be easily comforted by his Mama holding him, even as a newborn. I wanted the newborn experience others have where your baby peacefully sleeps on your chest for hours on end. Honestly, it still stings when I compare our experience to others.

In general, I’m doing better. Newborns are a whole different breed of human, but now I feel like my 7.5 month old boy loves and likes me. I love and like him. I feel like I have a son, not just a baby. And that’s a distinction no one talks about when it happens. Some women instantly get that “MY SON/DAUGHTER IS HERE WOW” feeling when their children are born. I didn’t. I loved him and I thought birth was amazing and I was in awe of my baby, but he was kind of just that: a baby. I feel like he didn’t feel like my SON until later on.  

But more days than not, this feels like the love story I always read about between mothers and their sons. My boy. My baby. My little human puppy 😆 I find him irresistible in every way and in 90% of every moment, even the hard ones. 

One perspective that carried me on dark days was the notion that our children choose us before they get here. I’m about to get a little woo-woo on you, so stay with me! Their spirits seek us out and create contracts with our souls before they decide to enter our lives. They choose us based on what qualities and nurturing they need in order to fulfill their purpose on Earth (even including children who are adopted!). I thought this was beautiful and every time I caught myself thinking Theo hated me, I remembered this. He chose me. He needs me. So even on the days I sobbed while he screamed, convinced he hated me and he chose wrong, I chose to be there for him and show up fully with all the patience I could muster. 

HOW I’M HEALING
For me, the best therapy has been to stop ignoring my feelings and pretending like I don’t feel bad sometimes. I talk it out endlessly with Adrien and a couple people who are close to me, including one girlfriend who had a baby just like Theo (who’s now one of my favorite kids EVER). Another thing that’s been huge has been getting in some kind of solo activity regularly. It’s getting to the gym and on my mat, and solo walks and time to write. And yes, also talking to a therapist but I’m still on the hunt for someone who’s a good fit.

Find what you need to feel heard and validated. It could be therapy or medication or a combination of both. It could be yoga or hiking or pedicures or a combination of all of the above. There’s no one right “cure,” but the common thread is that you find a way to reconnect to yourself. To be corny, feel your feelings. 

FINAL THOUGHTS…
I really hesitated to write about this at all. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea because yeah, I think it’s important we as mothers don’t feel alone in our struggles, but my primary concern was Theo. I didn’t want him to read this someday and feel like I didn’t want him or didn’t love him. 

So first, let this post serve as a digital hug to all the moms and dads out there currently in the shit. You’re not alone in your experience or feelings— even the darkest ones. I just want you to know that I see you. Like, I SEE YOU. It is exactly as hard as you feel like it is and you are not crazy or bad or selfish or wrong. Contrary to every breakup ever: it’s not you, it’s THEM. YOUR BABY is occasionally batshit CRAY. But you? YOU are the perfect mother for your son or daughter and you are exactly where you need to be. 

Second, and most important, a quick note to my son in his adult form if he ever sees this: You are the realization of a dream I never knew I had. Thank you for making me your mama. And thank you for making me feel like some kind of advanced level parent already because you know the twisted ego satisfaction me and your Papa get from making things much harder than they need to be 😂 You may have chosen me first, but know that I’d choose you again and again, without question or hesitation because we belong to each other. I love you and I like you and I’ve got you. On good days and on bad days, I don’t regret a single minute of time spent with you. I love you beyond measure, beyond words… so so big big much ❤️Mama 

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26 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jo

    March 20, 2020 at 12:12 pm

    You could pretty much be describing my experience here Erin! I look back on the newborn days and it just felt like I’d been in a bad car crash (I haemmoraged in labour so had lost a lot of blood) then handed a screaming baby to care for, on little sleep, whilst pretending to all who visited that I was loving it. Seriously if they gave out Oscar’s I would have won them all for my acting skills, but internally I thought I just wasnt a good mum. It is torture on another level emotionally, physically and mentally.
    Now looking back I see that I was a good mum, that my baby despite colic crying knew how loved she was and to see her today a happy adorable 1 year old is just amazing. It is the hardest thing I have ever done and PND is not talked about nearly enough. Thankyou for taking the time to write this, I hope it truly helps others know they aren’t the only one. x

    1. Avatar

      Dawn A.

      March 20, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      Man, you think you know a gal. Erin, I’m sorry that we literally could not be there for you. Not because, well, we are not in real life friends, but because this is SO personal and deep even if we were we would have been at a loss. But I’m deeply affected by what you wrote. Emotional for you. Emotional for me because I had my own newborn trauma. He and I made it through, and he is my favorite and best work of life. I am glad that you are doing better, Erin. xo

  2. Avatar

    Jade

    March 20, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    I just read the whole thing and I don’t think I can properly put my thoughts into words. All I can say is: thank you. As a woman who is still not sure if she should have kids (I just don’t feel like I am mom-material) and as a woman whose friends and family keep waving it off saying “once you have the baby it’s all different, you’ll love it and it will be wonderful” because that’s how it was for them… Man, it feels reassuring to read this. It’s weird that reading about such a bad experience makes me feel calmer, but it does. It’s more believable, you know? Anyway, thank you so much for sharing. In your own words: you are perfect exactly as you are, and you are exactly where you need to be.

  3. Avatar

    Alison

    March 20, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this. If I’m being 100% honest, I was a little mad at you the first few months 😅 for what i felt like was making light of all of the difficulty. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live a public life so of course it’s understandable. I think you have been very brave and have traversed this conversation with thoughtfulness to all. I had my own difficulties with a baby who stopped sleeping pretty much completely at 2.5months and then when that leveled off at 6 months, we hit breastfeeding struggles. In that time, I knew it was all temporary but I HATED when people would tell me that because I felt like it invalidated my feelings and minimized my struggles. As someone who is just a little bit ahead of you on the parenting timeline (my daughter is 2.5 years old) I think that mourning for the experience you wanted but didn’t get lightens little by little. It still stings a little sometimes but I also can look at what I endured and what i accomplished and be proud of myself. I hope in time, you find the same ❤

    1. Avatar

      Quincy

      March 21, 2020 at 8:23 pm

      I totally can relate to the “mourning for the experience you thought you’d have”. I’ve never heard it said like that. I had a hard time following Erin after my son was born (2 mos after Theo) because his birth was not what I expected. I got an infection, he got sick during labor, and we ended up in a c section that ended with him spending time in NICU. I felt like I got robbed of the beautiful experience of seeing my baby for the first time right when they came out. And holding them that first day. Erin, I’m so sorry you have had to walk through this. May we always remember that social media is a highlight reel and to never compare ourselves with each other. All of us moms are really just trying to survive 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Ashley dePreaux

    March 20, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I see you, too. I also experienced PPD and PPA with both of my sons. The first time it was more like postpartum rage, where I was angry all of the time, and I didn’t understand why I didn’t have that magical no holds barred love and connection with my new baby. With my second baby, it was more of a typical PPD feeling blue and inadequate and hopeless all the time. Things are better now (16 months pp from my second), but it still comes in waves sometimes, but I think that’s just anxiety and depression in general for me. Thank you so much for sharing your story. The more people who talk about it, the more normalized it will be, and if that helps a struggling mom out there, then it’s all worth it.

    1. Avatar

      Ashley dePreaux

      March 20, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      Also.. ugh the breastfeeding. I hated my body both times because I don’t have sufficient glandular tissue in my breasts to EBF. Even though I knew this, the second time I tried to EBF still, with friends and family telling me ‘DON’T SUPPLEMENT OR YOU WILL TANK YOUR SUPPLY’. It was so frustrating and annoying. Still is. I went through recurrent miscarriages for a few years before I had a doctor who finally listened to my own research that I did, and agreed I needed to supplement progesterone to maintain a pregnancy. I had feelings of hate towards my body for not being able to keep a pregnancy without hormones, and also thought to myself “I wouldn’t be able to keep my own baby alive if I were a cavewoman.”
      It’s amazing that the love we show as support for others is so hard to show for ourselves. It’s something I still struggle with, but at least I believe that I did the best for my babies. I definitely don’t want to have anymore babies though, it brings up too many negative thoughts in the 4th trimester. 🙁 Sorry, didn’t mean to ramble on and on.. lol

  5. Avatar

    Roz Barnett

    March 20, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Erin, this happened to me as well. Only it was over 20 years ago and PPD didn’t have a name yet . There were very dark days. I’m so sorry you went through this. You’re very brave to share. Peace and love… xxxooo

  6. Avatar

    Audra

    March 20, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    I laughed and I cried while reading this. It’s SO WELL WRITTEN. You’re spot on with everything. I feel this to my core. Thank YOU for opening up and being vulnerable. The world needs more of this.

  7. Avatar

    Isa

    March 20, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I really appreciate you having been open about this. I don’t have kids, but I was actually a bit alienated from your social media recently, because it felt like there was a lack of reality around parenting. It perturbed me, because I had a much younger sibling, and remember the screaming and mess. I think it’s great you are opening up about this.

  8. Avatar

    Kelly

    March 20, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    That was beautiful! Thank you for sharing. ❤️

  9. Avatar

    Maaike

    March 20, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Just want to jump on here and commend you for – once again – being so open and honest about everything. It takes a lot of courage, as there is still a lot of shame surrounding this issue for women. I did not have PPD with my son (although we had other struggles) but one of my close friends did with both her children, and it absolutely terrified her. It was better with the second because she knew it for what it was, and is considering not breastfeeding her third (she is expecting) because for her stopping around 8 weeks made it better the second time around. But then there is a lot of shame about that too. We need more women sharing , so we know we are all just doing the best we can and that is ENOUGH.

  10. Avatar

    Amy

    March 20, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    *hug* Thanks for being brave enough to share, Erin. Theo you’ve got one freaking amazing mama. 💝

  11. Avatar

    Gill

    March 20, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    I am so glad you wrote this. I was in the same situation as you and I have never talked about it to anyone. I had the ‘walk out in front of a bus’ moment many times, and the whole ‘but it’s worth it for the good times’ destroyed me because I wanted to scream that no, it really isn’t. To not be able to calm your own baby, to have them seem to refuse your touch but need you at the same time is heartbreaking. My daughter is 6 and the calmest and most sensitive child, the tears still come easily but it is not as hard to deal with. I think their brains are wired differently, they feel everything so strongly. I am happy now but also sad to have no fond memories of those first 9 months and I also grieve not having that experience of a ‘normal’ baby. But I will say that looking back now there are days I can almost laugh about how awful it was and the things we did just to get through those months. Reading your post and the comments made me feel like I hadn’t just imagined how hard it was and I wasn’t just rubbish at being a mum! I wish people talked more about it so thank you x

  12. Avatar

    Molly

    March 20, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    Erin- you are so strong! It took me 15 years to tell someone that I had PPD with my son. Immediate family knew and I was blessed to have a Dad who was an OB, and spotted it early on. I’ve suffered from depression off and on since my teenage years, but there is something different about the darkness that comes from PPD. Looking back I wish I had been able to answer with the truth when people asked “when are you having another?” For my son, husband, and son being one and done was the right choice. I knew that I loved my little family and just could not put them or myself through it again. (((((((Hugs))))))) You are wonderful!

  13. Avatar

    SH

    March 20, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    ”I felt like I was living with a veil over my eyes. I could see everything everyone else was seeing, but blurred.”
    This right here is exactly the words I have been trying to think of to explain how I felt when my son was born. Thank you. I hid my depression so well from my doctors. I was so scared they were going to take my baby away if I said “I don’t want to be a mom, I hate this”, I thought they would Think was was an unfit mother. I love my son more than words can explain, but I disliked the newborn stage so much. It was nothing I imagined having a newborn would be.
    Thank you for talking about your experience and feelings of being a new mom. We are brought up to believe moms should never talking about their feelings, it is taboo. We need more of you in this world.

  14. Avatar

    Susan

    March 21, 2020 at 7:54 am

    Thank you for being honest. This brought back so many memories. My mother in laws disgust at me when she said “didn’t you just love him instantly more then anything in the world!” and I responded, “well we don’t know each other yet” Or the relief in so many moms faces when they would say “isn’t it great! Do you absolutely love it!!” And I would respond “ well sometimes, not all the time.” I love that you said you felt like he hated you because I remember crying to my mom that exact thing. My son took his first nap for me at 16 months. (Then stopped at 2 years lol) He is a healthy, vibrant, funny, amazing 4 year old. ( and we definitely love each other haha) Thank you for putting the truth out there.

  15. Avatar

    Aleks

    March 21, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Thank you so much for this post. You are a very strong and brave person! It’s very important that the topic of postpartum depression stops being a taboo and people start talking about it as openly as you did. By being open about your experience, you made so many mums feel more “normal” about themselves. THANK YOU!

  16. Avatar

    Marybeth

    March 21, 2020 at 8:52 am

    It was so many years ago for me, but I remember those hard first months…hugs to you!

  17. Avatar

    Chris

    March 21, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Hi Erin,
    This was an incredibly well written and heartfelt piece! I don’t normally comment on posts but I just had to! I am 18 years out of experiencing my PPD. I still relate with you like it was yesterday. I should have gone for help in hindsight and I regret that but was so IN the thick of it I couldn’t act on what was best for me. It took 10 months for my son to sleep through the night. Sleep deprivation is REAL!!! Sleep deprivation is major factor! Thankfully, I started to feel better after a year… and you are right… it happens slowly and not all at once. But once I was out of it, I felt like I missed something. I can still go right back to those feelings remembering but with perspective. And my son… well he is literally the best thing that has happened in my life! I love him and like him too! Thanks for pouring your heart out, it will help so many!

  18. Avatar

    Mel

    March 21, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    It took me 4 tries to finish this post because my almost 1 month old kept crying for something every time I’d come back to it. I can’t tell you how many times during the last month I’ve thought “what am I doing wrong? Am I not giving her something she needs?” Everyone keeps checking in and saying “enjoy this special time. They’re just the best.” I’m so glad to hear someone say how hard and draining it is. Thank you. This post came at the perfect time and gives me comfort and a hope I didn’t know I needed. It also helped when my husband expressed his own frustration and I could say “we are not alone. It’s not easy.” We are both looking forward to the corona quarantine ending some day so we can have visitors again and find a moment to ourselves. In the meanwhile you’ve really helped. Thank you again for sharing.

  19. Avatar

    Jen Chase

    March 21, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    Wow! It does surprise me how easy it is to mask what might be really happening with social media posts. I only know you in this format. However, one of the reasons I continue to follow you is your nature and ability to draw people in. To find common threads in human experience and to share them. I do feel, in a virtual way, that we are friends. So, as your friend, I’m sorry this was your experience and I respect the way you’ve shared it (especially your note to Theo at the end). I’m not a hugger, but I would share a glass of wine or cup of coffee with you. And in that space I would give you time to grieve the experience you didn’t have and relish the one you are having. ❤️

  20. Avatar

    Alyssa

    March 22, 2020 at 11:55 am

    I wish I could reach through the computer and give you a hug. You are an amazing mama. Depression is so hard and it is so easy to silently suffer. Thank you for writing about your experience and being so honest. I know this post will help so many have the courage to reach out for help. <3

  21. Avatar

    Ingvild

    March 25, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Oh, WOW. Thank you, Erin. You write so well, and so profoundly, I had to shed a few tears even though I don’t have kids! Your experience is heart-wrenching, horrible, and beautiful at the same time because of where you are now. You are the only person who in my experience has been open about pregnancy, birth, and now PPD, on a very practical and concrete level. You are the only one who has made me even consider having kids (I turn 29 tomorrow so it is a relevant topic). The fact that you love your son so, so much, despite going through this, makes some of my own fear around it go away and brings me hope that maybe I could do it one day, too. Thank you for your honesty and openness. Sending a big hug your way!!

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    Amy M

    March 25, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Amazing piece Erin! So sorry that you struggled so much, but sharing your reality will be a gift to others who feel alone and ‘less than.’

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    Monique

    April 27, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    I just wanted to say this really spoke to my experience as well. Thank you for sharing!

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