Bridget Croteau: You Will Get Better | 8th Annual Mother's Day Rally for Mental Health

postpartum depression, mother's day rally, maternal mental healthDear New Mom,

Postpartum depression.  I knew what it was.  I knew I was at risk for it because of previous depression and anxiety.  But I never thought it would *actually* happen.  In fact, I suffered for months, making excuses for why I felt this way.  I felt guilty, shameful, inadequate and like an utter failure. I wanted to run away.  My family would be fine, and even better off without me. 

I had a wonderful, healthy pregnancy, but was unexpectedly induced the day before my due date due.  The induction was difficult – long, painful and I was scared.  My daughter was sent to the NICU after a couple of cuddles and pictures.  She remained there for a week.  She was fine, thankfully.  But I wasn’t.  I was an emotional mess.  I felt horribly guilty for her being in the NICU.  I racked my brain for months about what I could have done differently and what I did wrong for her to end up there.  I felt that I*must* have done something.  

For months after we brought her home I felt awful.  I had a beautiful, smart, loving little baby.  I was lucky.  But I wasn’t happy.  I saw smiling moms at Target and the library.  I wondered when I would feel like that.  I must be a terrible mom to be so unhappy when I was so blessed.  This made me feel even more guilty.

After four months of crying, feeling guilty and like a horrible mother, I finally realized that I was not myself and this was not “normal.”  This was huge for me, and my first step to me getting better – I needed to admit it to myself.  I think I knew all along, but didn’t want to believe it.  

I asked for help.  I started attending a local support group, attended therapy and read anything I could find about other women’s struggle with postpartum depression.  I found comfort at each support group meeting and in each word I read.  I was NOT alone.  

Over time, I began to feel like ME again. I even started dance lessons.  I spent time with friends.  It took time, but I “forgave myself” for what had happened.  I started to understand that I was going to be ok.  

New moms, YOU are going to be ok — YOU WILL get better.  I know it feels like this will last forever – I felt this would be my new “normal.”  But it won’t be.  I am myself again, and dare I say, a stronger version of me.  Remember that you are not alone.  I am with you.  Warrior moms around the world are with you.  You ARE amazing.  You ARE a good mom.  You ARE NOT alone.

Bridget Croteau 

The Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit that raises awareness & provides peer support for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. To see some of the ways we provide moms support, visit