A letter to my postpartum self

postpartum

Dear Cassie,

You are not alone. I know you feel isolated, but I know what you’re going through. It doesn’t matter how you appear from the exterior. I can see you. I know what it’s like to feel like you are constantly failing. I understand the burdens you carry. I know you don’t want to admit that you are struggling postpartum, but it’s going to be ok. It would help if you talked about it.

Postpartum depression and anxiety are not to be taken lightly, and Cassie, you can’t ignore this. Up to 1 in 5 new mums will experience postpartum depression or anxiety after giving birth.1 More than 600,000 women in the US will face PPD per year.4 These are substantial numbers, so it is more common than you think. If you don’t seek help, the consequences can be drastic.

Don’t turn into a postpartum statistic

Less than 15% of women receive treatment for postpartum depression and anxiety.2 Don’t suffer in silence. You need medication immediately. You are on the brink of psychosis because your body is refusing to sleep. I know you’re scared, but you need to get help. Talk to your doctor about it. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of mortality postpartum,6 and you need to survive this! Your family needs you.

Anyone (I mean absolutely anyone) can experience postpartum depression. You did not cause this condition. It doesn’t happen because of something you do or don’t do. PPD is not your fault; it is a combination of emotional, physical, and environmental factors.

Seriously, you’re experiencing a surge of hormones during a dramatic life-changing event. You’ve just been ripped open, and another life is dependent on you for survival. It’s A LOT! You are a good mum, but you need help.

Postpartum depression affects the entire family.4 Your husband is terrified, watching you slip away. He won’t express it, but he desperately wishes he knew what to do to calm you. If you don’t get help, this can interfere with your sweet girl’s development. I know you are trying to do everything for her. Cassie, she needs the best version of you!!

According to experts, PPD will continue to rise. There are risk factors that make some women more prone to experiencing PPD, including previous mental health conditions. The anxiety you’ve battled your entire life could have made you more prone. Anxiety and depression are escalating among teen girls,3 and there is likely to be an increase when these women start having babies. Be an example for these future mamas. Get help now so that they won’t have to feel ashamed of their experience. You need to pave the way for these women moving forward.

Everything is going to be OK.

Listen, I know I just gave you a lot of information. These statistics are scary; I get it. I don’t want to scare you, but I want you to be ok.

There is no shame in voicing your emotions postpartum. Motherhood is freaking brutal. Society tends to shove maternal mental health disorders into the closet; you do not have to feel embarrassed about your feelings after giving birth. The skeletons in our closet are not shameful; they are beautiful. Mine are out dancing in the street, and you know what? It makes me a better and stronger mama.

Cheers, mama. You are not alone, and you are doing a great job.

Written by Cassie Pigg. ©2020 Mom Stuff, LLC. Learn more about Mom Stuff by visiting www.therealmomstuff.com. Cassie’s book, “Mommy’s Got a Tramp Stamp,” is available on Amazon and wherever Ingram books are sold. Follow Cassie on Instagram @therealmomstuff or Facebook.com/therealmomstuff.

Resources

 1. CDC Depression among Women, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/index.htm. Accessed April 25, 2019.

2. Byatt N, et al. Enhancing participation in depression care in outpatient perinatal care settings: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol. 2015;126(5):1048-1058.

3. Chung EK, et al. Maternal depressive symptoms and infant health practices among low-income women. Pediatrics. 2004;113(6):e523-e9.

4. Kim P, Swain JE. Sad dads: paternal postpartum depression. Psychiatry. 2007;4(2):35-47.

5. O’Hara MW, Engeldinger J. Treatment of postpartum depression: recommendations for the clinician. Clinical Obstetrics and gynecology. 2018 Sep 1;61(3):604-14.

6. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/1666651

5 comments

  1. I think I was completely unaware of how anxious I became after I had given birth. I put on a face for everybody but I can remember how every task seemed massive to me – even watering plants etc. Great guest post.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.