postpartum depression, mental healthDear new mom,

I know how tough today is for you.  You feel this pressure to be “on” and get all dressed up for church and brunch out at a restaurant when all you want to do is stay in bed and get some rest.  Today is a bittersweet anniversary for me.  It was a year ago today that I realized that I was really struggling with postpartum depression and that I was not okay.  I treated myself to a free yoga class taught by a dear friend.  The relaxation portion of the class was wonderful until I realized how much tension I was carrying around.  I realized that the pit of anxiety and panic in my stomach wasn’t going away.  I felt like I was drowning.  I could not see color; I just saw gray around me.  I felt like I had a black cloud of despair over my head.

After the class had ended, I spoke with my friend about the challenges of having two children and how hard it was for me.  She was so reassuring and empathetic.  After chatting with my friend, I drove home in silence.  I remembered that she had disclosed to me several years earlier that she had suffered from severe postpartum depression with her oldest.  I wondered if this was what I was suffering from.  I got on the Internet, and I found Postpartum Progress and Postpartum Support International.  I found a therapist who was fifteen minutes from my house.  She had a last-minute cancellation, and I was in her office the following Wednesday.  Two weeks later, she gave me my official diagnosis of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.

If you’re struggling this Mother’s day, please know that you are not alone.  Read all these beautiful letters on Postpartum Progress.  I want to reach through my computer screen and give you a hug.  Imagine me sitting next to you with a cup of coffee, some cookies, and a blanket.   I am listening.  I hear you, and I understand.  It gets better, I promise.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  One day you will notice the colors around you.  The sky will be bluer, and you will realize how beautiful the sound of your child’s laughter is.  You’ll feel those little seeds of hope within your soul.  On this Mother’s Day, I am proud to say that I am a survivor of postpartum depression and postpartum anxiety.  I got through it, and so will you.  Postpartum depression will make you think that you are a bad mom, but you are not.  You are a great mom, and you are so loved and appreciated.

~ Jenny

Jenny and her husband juggle (sometimes not so successfully) working outside the home, parenthood and housework.  Jenny is a mom to two beautiful girls who is trying to tame her inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.  Jenny blogs at Tranquilamama.  Follow her on Twitter at @jenrenpody.

The 4th Annual Mother’s Day Rally for Moms’ Mental Health is presented by Postpartum Progress, a national nonprofit 501c3 that raises awareness & advocates for more and better services for women who have postpartum depression and all other mental illnesses related to pregnancy and childbirth. Please consider making a donation today, on Mother’s Day, to help us continue to spread the word and support the mental health of new mothers.