Michelle’s Story

Continued from Homepage

. . . She hasn’t told anyone, but she’s stopped holding her baby whenever she is alone, just to be safe.

She’s also feeling incredibly sad and irritable. She finds herself yelling at her partner frequently, which has never happened before and in her mind she’s yelling at herself “You’re a bad mom” “You should never have become a mother” “You’re not cut out for this”.  Michelle is devastated, she thought she would be enjoying this time. She’s not sure what to do.

What Michelle doesn’t know is that she is experiencing a postpartum mental health disorder, just like 1 in 5 women do around the world.  

It is the MOST COMMON complication of pregnancy- not diabetes or high blood pressure. And, it is treatable, but most women never even know they are experiencing it. While sometimes referred to as “postpartum” there are actually a group of mental health challenges that occur during the postpartum. They include: postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum bipolar, postpartum psychosis, and postpartum ocd (obsessive and compulsive disorder).

Since most women conclude silently that they are the cause of their struggle, they do not reach out for support. And so they slog on- but not without cost- to themselves, their jobs, their families, the healthy development of their children, and sometimes their life.

Fortunately, Michelle saw a story on the national news about postpartum depression, and recognized many of her symptoms. After thinking about it for several weeks, she found a local therapist that specialized in working with pregnant and postpartum women. A year after beginning therapy Michelle is talking to another mom at library story time. “Admitting I needed help was the hardest and the best thing I’ve ever done. I felt like asking for help meant I was a bad mom. But looking back, I see that I just needed some specialized support. If you are feeling overwhelmed or sad or just plain awful, don’t wait to get help. You and your baby deserve for you to feel good and enjoy these times with your little one!”

(Michelle’s story is fictional.)

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