What’s that? You think that yesterday’s post about being blindsided by motherhood was my basis for waltzing into a therapists office and turning into a puddle on the floor?
You think the reason I take zoloft to get through the day is because I’m just a disillusioned 20something who chose to have a kid at such a young age?
Motherhood is hard. I pictured it differently. I’m tired. So what? You’re right, that is not postpartum depression. That doesn’t warrant medication or official diagnoses. Do you know what does?
Not being allowed in your son’s room during the night because of what happened that one time.
Thoughts. Thoughts that shouldn’t ever, EVER be thought.
Nine months of trying to “man up” and not being able to.
Holding your crying baby and coming up with ‘ways’ to make it stop.
Being so irrationally anxious that no amount of calming from your husband can bring you back to earth.
There. Are you happy?
Do I qualify for your online-diagnosis checklist of a certain mental illness? Does it feel better to know that I actually am a horrible person and not just some overwhelmed young mom running to the pharmacist because I had to change 4 (4!) poopy diapers today and because “everybody’s doing it”?
I hope it does, or else this wasn’t worth sharing.
Written in response to these posts from yesterday:
1. Heir to Blair’s Great Expectations
2. Emmie Bee’s I Have to Say This & It Might Lose Me Friends
The thoughts terrify me too Allison…
Thank you so much for sharing this. As a soon to be first time mom who has suffered from depression in the past I am scared to go through it again. I remember how debilitating it was and I only had myself to take care of. Thank you for showing those of us out there that it is something that could happen but you can also work through it and it doesn’t mean you are a bad mom.
Allison, I am so sorry that this is what you thought I was saying. I apologize profusely to you or anyone else that took this from what I said. Because that honestly was NOT my intention and you don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Since we are all on the internet- I don’t know how you feel except what you put out there. You don’t know what I feel except what I put out there. And the nuances and inflections and the REAL MEANING sometimes gets lost. Which, is why these misunderstanding happen in the first place.
Please make no mistake of my support for ALL women, ALL mothers.
I know that blogging is therapeutic for me as I’m sure it is for you. Sometimes- things get said that weren’t meant to hurt but they do. So, I am sorry for being insensitive. Maybe because I DON’T understand.
Your original post that I sited- I did say that I thought you were brave and your ideas to just make things what you wanted was amazing. Beautiful in fact.
That was NOT supportive.
That was flat out name calling, rudeness.
How dare you say you support all women.
I am so confused by what the Emmie and Kristi said, I haven’t commented yet. i think I’m still trying to wrap my brain around their arguments because they just don’t make sense to me. And don’t even get me started on some of the comments on those posts, most of which make me feel like I need a shower.
I agree with what a commenter above had to say about there being great benefit and merit in conversations which discuss the differences between PPD/PPA/PPP and just being overwhelmed by motherhood for an hour, day, week, etc. Because if we don’t have those conversations, then how will other new moms know when they’re in trouble and when they’re not? How will we make sure we’re not leaving women behind who truly need help? We won’t. So yes, we need to talk about the differences.
But we need to do it with love, and acceptance and above all with the understanding that another woman can have an experience that is completely different than your own, and that what is needed is empathy and imagination, rather than judgment and dismissal.
I love you so.
I’m sorry that you didn’t take away what I was trying to point out within my post. I realize that it was a post of scattered thoughts. I guess for some I didn’t express myself clear enough. I support all Mothers dealing with true PPD. I thought I made it clear in my post that I think PPD is a serious matter, and that the term shouldn’t be thrown around like I sometimes see it being done. I was trying to point out the “other” side of parenthood too. With hopes maybe of a new Mother, Or a pregnant Mother could read and say to them self that after reading my blog, Allison’s, or Beth Anne’s that they have a better grasp on what to expect out of parenthood. The good, the bad, the ugly, that can possibly rear it’s head. That is all.
Kristi the main part of your post that I don’t understand is how you can think that a mom with PPD’s bad day is NOT worse than your bad day. I don’t understand how you can think that what you describe as a bad day is as awful as some of the things that Beth Anne and Allison have described that they struggle with EVERY day. I agree with you that for most of us, yes it just is what it is and we dig in and get it done and if we’re lucky we get a shower and a hug. But to call bullshit on another mother’s experience as being worse than your own (and also, I don’t ever recall either of the two bloggers you mentioned by name saying that they have it worse than anyone else) in my opinion is wrong, and mean. you’re not in her head, you’re not in her home, you don’t have her child, you don’t have her life so you don’t get to judge. None of us do.
Exactly, they are not in my head, or in my home as well. They do not know what goes on in this house, with this family. So don’t tell me your bad day is worse than mine just because you have PPD. While some of your days very well are worse than mine, you have no clue some of the things that I deal with as well. And that’s my choice not to discuss every single hardship my family endures on the internet for the world to see.
I guess what I am saying is. we all have bad days. and of course i think my bad day is obviously worse than everyone elses at the time, just like some others may think. i get irritated that some, not ALLISON would imply that I don’t know what a bad day is like because I’ve never had PPD.
Also, I mentioned no one by name in my post because I was not talking about ANY individual’s precise situation.
i love you honey. i’m sorry you felt you had to defend yourself to the interwebs (hey WAIT, *i’m* the interwebs, remember! you should have just emailed me!) but i’m positive that your words will help someone. as hard as it must be to put your raw emotions out there, think of the mom who stumbles across them and realizes they need the help you recently found.
you’re truly amazing Allison. and you are O so very loved. xo
I am so sorry about those posts. It makes me feel attacked, not as a mother because I am still a teenager in college. But as someone with plain old depression. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be you, or any other mother with PPD. I am sorry for people who don’t understand it. And I am sorry they must have taken your post the wrong way. At least I hope that was why they wrote those posts. Your in my prayers.
I am sorry that you had to defend yourself. You should not have to. You are responsible and loving and you are taking care of yourself so you can properly take care of your family. I applaud you and i will pray for you and the other people who do not understand. Hopefully they will not have to experience it themselves. You are doing a great job. Don’t look back and don’t worry about what others think. Talk to your husband, the people who love you and your doctors. No one else, really, matters. The Lord knows your heart, that’s all that you need to remember.
Allison, I just want to say that it was not my intention to make you feel like you EVER had to explain yourself about something so personal. And I never once pointed you in out as any source of reference to what I was referring to in that post. I stated in that post that it was a bunch of scattered thoughts, ’cause it was. And I DO truly believe what you say in your posts, and that you are suffering from PPD. I never once said that I don’t believe that. In my post I never said anything about not believing certain bloggers diagnoses that they have received. I’m more-so talking about (that may not have been fully expressed well enough) women, new mothers, etc., that may read certain blogs like Beth Anne’s and see some of the things she says, since she is able to talk so openly about her dealings with PPD, and think to themselves, and diagnose themselves with PPD based off of things she may say. For a new Mom that is dealing with the absolute stress that being a parent can sometimes be might get confused and contemplate what they are feeling is that of PPD. And for that, I don’t think you should claim that you are having PPD when it really truly is just MOTHERHOOD. I hear the term PPD used so freely these days in the blogging community and it shouldn’t be, it’s a serious thing. And I really did my best at the time to make sure that got across in my blog post. If it seems as though I was coming across insensitive, I apologize, that wasn’t my intention but I do recognize that someone dealing with this delicate subject could have been hurt by that post. And I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone more-so than they already are dealing with the deep pain of PPD. I was just trying to get another perspective out there, a Mom’s perspective who doesn’t know what PPD is like, but, does know what Motherhood was like. My hopes are that maybe a first time pregnant Mother could read my blog after reading yours or Beth Anne’s and say to them self that they have a better grasp on what parenthood *could* be like. I just want them to know that YES< PPD, *could* happen, but, there's a great chance that it's not going to as well. We ARE a community, even if you feel as though it may have been divided with Emily or my posts yesterday. I support you, Beth Anne, and all other Mother's experiencing real PPD. It breaks my heart to know that some Mother's can't experience the day in, day out joys that I get to. I support your decisions for therapy and medication. I feel like I have to say that I suffer from depression and have been on zoloft as well off and on for 4years. I do think Medication is necessary at times and not once said otherwise. I'll just say that I adore you Allison, and Beth Anne. I was just talking about my views on Motherhood & the term PPD being used care free. Not by you, or clearly not by Beth Anne.
This doesnt make it any better for ME. Maybe Allison will fogive you because she is a MUCH better person and woman than I am.
But I cant.
What both of you said was sickening and EXTREMELY hurtful. and to name names?? Feels like highschool.
You should both be incredibly ashamed of yourselves.
I only pray that you didnt push any over the edge by claiming what they were feeling wasnt *that bad*.
Ryley, clearly I am not getting things the way( from what I can tell from these comments ) are. I would love for you to personally email me if you are willing to, to explain what from my personal post offended you. Maybe I will have a better understanding of things. You say that we were attacking women with PPD, I don’t see that I personally was. Now you choose to attack us, me. For that, I guess I am missing things and would love for you to email and break things down for me.
I just wanted to say that Allison, I am praying for you and your family to help to get the support that you need, I have never been through what you are going through so I can’t offer any advice or suggestions, just keep praying and listen to your gut that you are making the right decisions with getting proffessional help!
I don’t think hearing about just how painful your symptoms are (or hopefully, were) is going to make ANYONE happy. Knowing you felt attacked and ridiculed and called out doesn’t make anyone happy. Seeing how unhappy you definitely don’t make me happy, and I am sick thinking so many of my favorite people on the internet are hating each other right now.
I have known many mothers, both online and in real life, with PPD and seen how they become not themselves. A friend from my breastfeeding group used to have hysterical crying fits anytime someone said “Hi B, how are you?” We once watched her baby for her while her husband came to pick her up so she could shower – for the first time in more than a week. She said she couldn’t have the water running in the house while the baby was home in case he drowned. Her thoughts were terrifying and unwelcome and unstoppable and I’m sure exactly the sort of thing most women with PPD experience. And I am grateful she shared those thoughts with me, as hard as it was, because it did put my own motherhood struggles into perspective. After being told by my doctor, my son’s doctor, my pregnancy books, my prenatal class and a zillion people on the internet to vigilantly watch my every thought for signs of PPD, it helped me see the difference between a bad day and bad brain chemistry. Every time I cried post-partum, every time I thought “I’ve made a mistake”, every time I wished I could walk away I knew what I was feeling was NOTHING compared to what a real mental illness feels like. I knew I was capable of manning up (admittedly a poor choice of words) in a way someone with a chemical imbalance simply cannot.
What I’m saying is your words, what you share, is invaluable. It helps women with PPD to know they are not alone and women without PPD put on their big girl panties and thank our stars for our luck.
But I think assuming the worst about everyone’s intentions yesterday is also unfair. We need to remember that this is the internet, where hurtful things were not always meant to be hurtful and misunderstandings are more rampant than dirty diapers. I think your commenters who are reading the other posts AFTER knowing how much they upset you are adding context between the lines that simply is not there. Or maybe I’m just naive because I like to think at its heart the blogging community really is about support, not judging, and even when we have different experiences we can all be friends in the end.
I’m not sure where along the way discussions about PPD became about “your bad day vs. my bad day”… PPD is a string of bad days, horrible days, depths of despair days. When I was suffering from depression after the birth of my first baby, I wouldn’t describe it as a bad day – I would say it was months, endless periods of time where I could barely function, tears, insomnia, and oh, the thoughts that went through my head in the wee hours of the night. I saw a psychiatrist and he suggested that it was actually PTSD I was going through – yes, PPD can be that bad. What’s that line from the Coldplay song? Nobody said it was easy, no one ever said it would be this hard… I knew having a baby wasn’t going to be a picnic, but I didn’t know that it would leave me so shaken and that I would actually grieve the loss of my “old” life and “old” self so profoundly. I carried a prescription for an anti-depressant around with me for 3 months before I filled it. And you know who suffered the most? The baby. She deserved a rational, stable, well Mommy, so that’s why I started the medication. Thank you, Allison, it’s hard to talk about this stuff. There’s so much shame surrounding this issue and mental health in general. It is a blindside, it’s awful, and it’s scary. Good job getting it out there.
Wow. I just came over here by way of Melissa. I haven’t read all of the comments or the original post, but I want to tell you what I think (and what I hope you can take to heart). Honey you are not a “horrible person,” not at all. I really just want to give you a big hug. Any mother that reaches out for help and takes a step back isn’t bad. Asking for help isn’t wrong. Taking a medication to deal with an illness doesn’t make you less of a mother. Actually I think all of those things makes you a BETTER mother. PPD is an illness just like diabetes or heart disease or anything else you would have to take medication for, and (in my mind) a more debilitating one. We always thing as mothers that we are supposed to have this instant connect, but that isn’t always true. I have never experienced PPD (I had some anxiety attacks after my second and was on medication for six months, but not what I think of as PPD), but I have two really good friends that did. Luckily they had a great support network that realized what was going on and helped them to get they help they needed and deserved. Both of them are fantastic mothers that I look up to and go to for advice. Please don’t let someone on the internet make you feel bad about yourself. They really aren’t worth it.
You don’t need to be more explicit. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. Unfortunately, comments on blogs are not a great place all the time. While you got some comments from people who questioned, badgered, and denied, I am 100% sure there were as many people (if not more) who were reading your post and thinking that the mom in the post sounded a lot like them. You helped people by talking about it. Making it more accessible and putting it out there helps other moms. You have to be one strong woman to go through what you are experiencing and to put it out there. Don’t ever question yourself. You are the strong one.
You already know that I love you and your family(and blog)from afar so all I’m going to do is send HUGS HUGS HUGS HUGS HUGS HUGS.
I can’t even imagine what it would feel like as a Mother to not be allowed in my babies room, I can’t even fathom that. I am so glad that you are getting help with this now, and with any future babies you will know to have help from the start. I’m praying for healing for you.
allison–i just wanted to say how proud i am of you. i read all this earlier and i just can’t comment on all the posts and thoughts, but i wanted you to know that i’m proud of you. for speaking out, for getting help, for your transparency, for living your truth, for speaking up for those women that just can’t speak up for themselves right now. i’m sure you helped more than you will ever know and i am going to pray for you right now. praying for peace about sharing and being so vulnerable and that you have a wonderful, joyful day! =)
Allison, thank you, thank you, thank you for your honesty. I have not read the comments that led to the above post, but I so appreciate the fact that you are willing to come out and say things that I felt with my second child but was too ashamed to say to anyone else. I used to pray that God would protect him from me. What kind of mother has to pray that?! I look back on those days and wish that I had been brave enough to admit to someone what I was thinking and feeling. My husband asked me several times if I thought I may be suffering from PPD, but I was too ashamed to even admit it to him (and he asked me!). I thank God for his protection during that time.
I don’t even know you, but I love you so!
If a person has never EXPERIENCED PPD (this also applies to any other form of mental illness…), they have NO PLACE in judging those that do/have. You CAN NOT understand it unless you’ve been there. It does NOT compare to the everyday ups and downs. A person that is normally very upbeat and happy… they have no idea that it will HIT THEM until it does… and then they usually don’t recognize it for far too long. They live in denial of it as long as possible due to the STIGMA perpetuated by those that don’t understand…
We open our souls on these blogs in hope of touching others that can relate, to help educate those that can’t, and build a supportive community that helps us COPE and not feel SO ALONE. I believe that IF you can NOT understand… THUMPER’s policy is the BEST POLICY! “If you can’t say anything nice, Don’t say ANYTHING at ALL!” Those that NEED to not be alone and see that others are experiencing these things, DON’T NEED to see flippant and UNsupportive comments. These are DELICATE and RAW emotions. Choose another place to flair a need to be controversial…
Allison, I’m sorry you are having such a rough time and will keep you in my prayers!! (((HUGS)))
I don’t comment often on blogs but felt the need to support you on this subject. You should never have been pushed to define what you were truly feeling. The fact that you are brave enough to even discuss this let alone admit that this is what you are feeling and going through amazes me. You are such a strong person and getting the help that you need proves that fact. I don’t know you or your family and what the day to day is like for you, but I just want you to know that you are not alone. There are so many people out there who feel the way you feel. Obviously by the number of comments in support of you you should feel that the majority of your readers appreciate your honestly and never questioned what you were feeling or how deep your PPD went. I think that you putting this topic out there probably has saved a mommy out there. She’s reading your posts and saying that she feels this way too. You’ve opened a lot of people’s eyes and you should feel proud of that. I’m sorry that you ever had to deal with these other bloggers. You are in my prayers.
How sad that people chose to make this a blog topic instead of learning a little bit about the situation first. This reminds me to think before we speak, or type.
You are a beautiful mother, Allison, and I thank you for your honesty. It has helped me, and I am certain, many more.
Hey allison… i’ve been following your and emmie’s blogs for awhile (coincidentally) and saw both of these posts… and sympathized with both. I understand her perspective of the mom taking zoloft ’cause she just can’t handle the screaming brats… and I understand your perspective of dealing with an issue that seems so outside of who you actually are. I just wanted to let you know that i think you’re a great mom and i’m thrilled to see you’re doing well… i’ve sent up a couple prayers for a stranger for you and will continue to do so as i stalk your blog. :)
and… I think what emmie was trying to say is that a lot of the things that doctors consider ppd are just normal mom things. that most new moms lay awake panicy frequently, that most of us feel overwhelmed just about always. that 90% of moms experience 80% of the symptoms of ppd… ppd just makes it worse and takes it just that much farther to where it becomes dangerous. And then with the loss of control and the guilt and even less sleep…. it snowballs into a very REAL problem. It’s possible that in some cases, if moms realized that everyone feels that way, as emmie said, that everyone has to take cigarette breaks, and almost every mom at some point feels like they don’t love their child… if they realized that, maybe they could head off some of the scary before it becomes ppd. If instead of being startled by a new mom’s tears, acting as though they’re abnormal and assuming ppd, doctors were understanding and supportive and prescribed a big dose of reality (that every mom thinks it sucks! :), maybe it would never become ppd.
I’m glad you’re sharing all this on your blog as one of the biggest things someone with ppd needs, is to see people like you who love your little one…. who have come through the storm. thanks for what you’re doing.
O Allison. My heart broke for you just now.
Unfortunately, people who don’t understand something feel the need to attack it or run away from it way more often than they try to learn about it. A lot of people have the mindset of “Just think happy thoughts and realize that you actually have a good life” when it comes to mental issues. We should all try to be more caring and loving and less judgemental and hateful.
The worst thing that has ever happended to you is the worst thing that’s ever happened to you. The severity of your situation cannot be judged on someone else’s scale. I have never suffered from PPD, but I have had some trouble with depression. If I heard “You don’t have anything to be depressed about” once, I heard it a dozen times. Bravo to the brave woman you are for posting something so personal online. You can’t imagine the lives you are touching and encouraging.
My family will be adding you to our prayer list. I pray that your strength only grows and you find peace with anything that may have happened. I see in your son’s eyes what a good mother you are. God bless you, Allison!
I am pregnant with my first baby. I am trying to become as prepared as I possibly can be, but what can truly prepare you? I am 21 and my husband is 23, so we are about to be first time very young parents. I am so excited, and so scared. I want to be a good Mother, but everyone’s experience is so different, and no one can fully understand another person’s situation.
I am so thankful for you blog, your honesty, your motherhood. You are being the best Mother you possibly could be, by reaching out for help, accepting and admitting it, that’s amazing.
Thank you for everything you write. I’m so sorry for the hurt that people have caused, but know how much support you do have. Things that definitely prepare me, are honest Mom’s who admit that it’s hard, and that say it’s okay to say it out loud. I hope I can be that kind of Mom.
*hugs* Allison…so sorry you felt you had to share this, but thank you for being honest. i continue to pray for you.
Allison, you are in my prayers. I am so sorry that you had to defend yourself. As someone who suffers from depression, but not specifically PPD, I know how it feels to justify your decision to take medications to other people. When they cannot possibly know what goes on in your head, they cannot possibly judge. You are so strong and brave, please stay true to yourself. That’s what we love about you!
First time reader. I’ve been there and back. I absolutely love the fact that you put yourself out there like you did. It takes major backbone to do that sort of thing. I’m going to steal your button and put you in my blogroll. I’ll be back.
Personally, I think you are very brave for writing what you did. I also had PPD after having my second child and I am now on Zoloft. I feel being on this medicine has changed my life for the better. I was lucky that my husband called my doctor for me and got me the appointment to go deal with what was going on because I was too embarrassed to do it myself and wouldn’t acknowledge what was happening. I suffered from depression as a teenager and many other times in my life. I think I may have had PPD after my first child but I’m not sure. I wish I had discovered Zoloft long ago, I think my life would have been a lot happier. Sometimes medication is really needed. PPD is terrifying. You are very brave to be so honest. I think it really helps other women to know that they are not alone with this.
allison…i went to emily’s blog to read that post, and i couldn’t make it through the first paragraph. i literally had to close it, take a break, and go back to finish it. and it was bullshit. i’m sorry to use such strong language…well, actually i’m not because that’s what it was. pure and utter manure. she obviously has no clue what ppd is like and even says as much, then goes on and on based on no experience at all. thank you for being you. for standing up and saying what needed to be said. i love you so very much tonight.
i’m now trying to decide whether i can comment on her post without being rude.
so i posted a comment at emily’s…here it is, in case you’re wondering.
well, to take your own words, i have to say this: you have no idea what you’re talking about. you even said you haven’t suffered from ppd, so no. you couldn’t possibly understand what it feels like to want to end your own life because you can’t stop thinking about walking out on your family. what it feels like to let your baby cry and cry, not because you don’t know how to help him, but because you just can’t bring yourself to care. what it feels like to look at your child and think, maybe i will love you more tomorrow.
ppd is not merely a bad week brought on by motherhood. it is a DISORDER, brought on by chemical changes in the brain. it’s not something that you can just say “i’m gonna make myself better by having a postitive attitude!” to and sweep it under the rug. it is DEADLY. and ppd has NOTHING to do with cowardice or not “manning up”. or even with not being prepared for motherhood. i am a damn good mother. my children are well-fed, educated, and loved. i was prepared from the very beginning. i knew exactly what to expect, and yet, i was blown away by the reality. and MY reality was obviously very different from your reality.
and i can’t speak for anyone else, but when i say “why didn’t anyone telling me about this?”, other than the times when i’m being humorous, i’m not talking about frickin diapers. or screaming babies. i already knew about that, and i was prepared for that. i wanted to know why i had never heard anyone talk about postpartum depression, why no one had ever told me that they’d had it and come out alive.
but now that i read your post, maybe i understand a little better why i never heard about it. maybe the person who might have said something to me read or heard something like this, then thought better. because who wants to be judged like that? lucky for us, there are people like allison and blair who are willing to speak out, even when there is risk of recrimination from people like you. who don’t understand, who KNOWINGLY speculate, who make assumptions.
i respect your right to an opinion. but there is a line. and you crossed it.
I found you because of Adrienne at No Points for Style. She awarded you the Bad Ass award – and I know that she only gives those out to people who truly deserve it.
You, my dear… Are brave. Thank you for sharing. While I have no advice, I do have compassion. I feel for you and would like to take away some of the pain you feel.
After my son was born I scared my Mom quite a bit – I told her I finally understood how a woman could throw a newborn off a bridge. I clarified that I had no intention of doing it, but the crazy thoughts that were running like madness through my head were sometimes TERRIBLE things like that. I have since told my hubby that if we have another child he is to FORCE me to get help BEFORE I show signs of needing it – a little preventative care. I’m hoping the ppd won’t hit me again, but I’m also very scared that it will. Sigh.
So . . . . clearly I am waaaay behind on my google reading. And out of order, and well . . . it doesn’t matter. I wish I had seen this before the day we met. Because I would have told you a little more about myself. And about those thoughts. And the panic attacks. And the tearful nights searching google. And how I have everything I ever wanted in life and I’m miserable and feel like running away some times. (A lot of times).
I’m sorry you had to write this. I’m sorry people are minimizing how real this is. But I am so glad you are talking about it.