So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

There’s no way this is postpartum depression. How could it be?

I remember thinking this to myself as I received the diagnosis seven months after my son was born.

I had been aware it could happen, especially since I had a history of anxiety. I had discussed the possibility with my husband a couple of times before and during my pregnancy. But, when the baby got here, weeks went by. Months went by. I felt exhausted and stressed but normal. I filled out the postpartum questionnaire each visit with ease and handed it to the medical staff. The woman at the desk had told me at my baby’s 6-month check-up, “This is the last time you’ll need to fill this out,” as I took it from her, thanked her, and smiled.

And then, out of nowhere, it hit me.

The anxiety that was typically under control was short-circuiting my brain. I felt on the verge of panic attacks every day. I became depressed about being anxious, crying every day and sinking into a dark fog. People would talk to me, but I wouldn’t really hear them. I was forgetful. My brain was moving at lightning pace, yet my words and actions were forced and hard, like moving through molasses.

It wasn’t until a friend asked me point blank how I was mentally that I finally started opening up about it.

She encouraged me to get help, and after a few days of fighting it, I decided it was the right thing to do.

I met with a counselor who was able to diagnose postpartum depression. Then, I met with my doctor who was able to help me with the next steps.

RELATED: It’s OK to Admit You’re Not OK, Mama

It was hard to talk about because I felt like it somehow made me a bad mom.

I felt guilty and embarrassed. Above all else, I felt ashamed.

And I think that is one of the biggest factors that stop people from getting help: the intense shame. But, mental health is extremely complicated and does not need to be compared to be validated. Our pain needs to be combated with compassion. We can see and support another in their pain while not shrinking away from our own. Sharing our experiences, shedding light on what hurts helps shut down the shame.

I was talking to my parents about it one day. Feeling very defeated, I said, “It just hit me like a ton of bricks.”

My dad looked at me and said, “Well honey, then you’re gonna pick it up one brick at a time and throw it back.” 

That really stuck with me. I would stare at the bricks around me and be absolutely trapped in one spot.

The shame. The fear. The guilt. You name it, there was a brick for it.

But, no matter how many bricks there were, I only needed the strength to throw one at a time. I threw the shame away by combating it with the truth: this happens to so many women from birth into the first year postpartum. It can manifest in so many ways for so many different women, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

RELATED: A New Mom Can Feel Blessed and Thankful and Still Battle Postpartum Anxiety

I threw the fear away by talking: to a counselor, to friends and family, to my doctor. I threw the guilt away by reminding myself that mental health is just as important as physical health and getting treatment in its various forms is admirable and the best option for myself and for my family.

Step by step, I threw those bricks back.

Some were easier to toss than others. Some required a lot more concentrated effort. But, I found the strength through faith, a treatment plan, an amazing support system, and lots of hope and prayer.

So, please, if you think you might be experiencing postpartum depression or any kind of mental illness, reach out to someone. It might not present in the typical way at the typical time. It might be something that requires professional help and treatment options. It doesn’t make you weak to ask for help or to seek out those resources. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, spouse, or sibling to admit when you need help.

RELATED: I Have Anxiety and Depression—and I’m a Good Mom

I know it can feel like you’ve been blindsided. I know it can be tempting to try to compare your pain to others and to minimize it and push it into the dark. I know it can make you feel scared, vulnerable, and lost. I know it can feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks that are weighing you down, threatening to crush you.

But, one day at a time, one brick at a time, we can throw them back, together.

Liz Newman

Liz Newman is a poet and a blogger from the Midwest. She writes primarily on faith, love, and relationships. She is a wife, mama, and a bookworm. She loves connecting with others through words and hopes to inspire and encourage others along the way. 

Donating Breastmilk Helped My Heart Heal

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Woman with packaged breastmilk, color photo

Dear grieving mama, You know when you lose a baby everything changes, but your body moves forward like nothing happened. It carried that tiny baby long enough to trigger a complicated hormonal cocktail that causes your milk to come in so that little life can continue to grow outside you. But your baby is separated from you in a way nature never intended. There will be no baby snuggles. There won’t be a sleepy, smiley, milk-drunk face looking up at you. But your body doesn’t know that, so your breasts swell and keep swelling with milk that has nowhere to...

Keep Reading

Colic Can Make a Good Mom Feel Like a Failure

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding crying baby

“Let me try.” A stranger. A complete stranger. I allowed a stranger to hold you. It has been weeks, and you’re still crying every evening around the same time for the same amount of time. The doctor told me it’s just colic and that it’ll pass, but his nonchalant reaction is in utter opposition to how I feel, to how you obviously feel. Colic is devastating. And no matter how many times people tell you the baby is OK . . . when you watch your baby cry that much, you know they can’t be. I tried to take you...

Keep Reading

Motherhood Will Challenge Every Inch of You—but You Are Strong

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding new baby

Dear momma, Although it may not feel like it now, you will become stronger each and every day. Your feelings of hopelessness and sadness will be a distant memory. I promise you will get better, and you will be happy again. It is OK that you don’t know anything, your baby will forgive you. Your feelings of guilt have no merit. You will question everything. Keep asking those questions but trust your gut too. It will lead you in the right direction.  You are doing enough. You are enough.  RELATED: Dear Mom, Your Best Is Enough Do not wish the...

Keep Reading

Going from One to Two Kids Was So Much Harder than I Expected

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Family of four

I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And boy, DID. I. NOT. KNOW.  But, I really thought I did!  I really thought that waiting until our daughter was three before adding another child would make the transition easy. She will be more independent then, I reasoned. Also, fully potty-trained (HA!), enrolled in school, and interested in some things besides just Mommy. Plus, I’ve done this newborn thing before! How hard could it be? Bless that naive spirit. Because those optimistic expectations sure didn’t match my reality. I was firmly set on breastfeeding. So after our second baby came home, the nightly wakings...

Keep Reading

Just Wait Until You Realize Every Hard Moment Is Worth It

In: Baby, Motherhood
Woman kissing baby

Every new parent has heard it before—all those “just wait until . . .” comments. Just wait until you have to wake up every two hours, then you’ll really know what it means to be tired.  Just wait until your baby cries like mad, then you’ll really know what patience is.  You just wait until you find out what it truly means to be busy, then you’ll laugh at what you used to think of as busy days.  But you know what I say? Yes, the newborn stage can be difficult, but oh, how those precious moments wipe the difficultness away.  See,...

Keep Reading

I Would Relive Every Moment of Sorrow Just To Hold You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding infant, black-and-white photo

As I sat there rocking my child to sleep, I caught my mind wandering to the past. Not my recent past but my before . . . Before my son was born. Before my stressful pregnancy. Before my positive pregnancy test. Before . . . when I was praying every day for a miracle—six years back. Infertility is a messy journey that few (and many at the same time) are chosen to take. It’s lonely and heartbreaking and dark and will make you hate yourself at times. You feel helplessness and anger and despair. RELATED: This is Infertility Your relationships...

Keep Reading

When a Rainbow Baby Meets Mama

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
newborn baby on mother's chest

This week, one year ago, was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. Fast forward to exactly one year later, and here I am cuddling you, my sweet boy. I never truly understood what “rainbow baby” was all about, but I get it now. Sure, I knew what it meant and what it represented. I had read the articles and heard the stories. I had seen the meaningful images and understood the definition. But I never truly and deeply knew what happens when a rainbow baby meets their mama . . . until you. When a rainbow baby...

Keep Reading

How Do You Know it’s Really the Last Baby?

In: Baby, Motherhood
Selfie of pregnant woman standing next to child, color photo

I love being pregnant. I love everything about it. I am, however, one of the lucky ones who has been blessed with stress-free pregnancies. I get the typical morning sickness in the first trimester and the utter exhaustion in the third trimester, but other than that, it’s just pure enjoyment. I know not everyone has that experience, some have horrific pregnancies, but for me they have all been relatively easy. Trust me, I do know how fortunate I am. I’m currently pregnant with my fourth child. The little man is due this summer. From the very beginning when I first...

Keep Reading

It’s Hard on a Mother’s Heart To Watch Her Last Baby Grow Up

In: Baby, Motherhood
Child walking away in grass

My youngest son turned two a few months ago and still has a binky. He actually calls it his “mimi,” and he loves it so much. This morning I  looked at him with a mimi in his mouth and a mimi in his hand before I walked him into daycare and realized something. I am not ready to let go of the baby stage.  Getting rid of the binky would be the last step of the baby stage. He is already in a big boy bed. He doesn’t want to sit in a high chair for meals. He tries to...

Keep Reading

Some Babies Are Held Only in a Mother’s Heart

In: Baby, Grief, Loss, Motherhood
Ultrasound of baby

“Whatever may come and whatever may pass, we have faith that our God will bring us to it and through it.” That’s what I wrote in a post after we announced our third pregnancy. It was the first pregnancy we went public with, but it was the third time we had two positive lines on a pregnancy test. You see, we had miscarriage after miscarriage after miscarriage. We went from surprised optimism to guarded yearning and finally stolen joy. The first baby was nothing more than a what-if before that test. It was a surprise to two people who loved...

Keep Reading
Mother Holding Baby

5 Secrets

for New Moms

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Encouragement for the newborn stage