I can’t tell you how many people came up to me and said, “If you lost weight, you would feel better.”
I would smile and shrug.
I had just been diagnosed with a chronic inflammatory skin condition, Hidradenitis suppurativa, with lesions including deep-seated nodules and abscesses, draining tracts, and fibrotic scars. It’s the only sign that remains of Postpartum Depression.
Disclaimer: I’m a mom, not a doctor. Please seek medical help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. It’s essential to reach out to a professional for support and guidance.
Realizing You Had Postpartum Depression After It Was Over
I came across this photo (see below) the other day as an “8 years ago on this day…” I cried when I saw it.
My hair was done.
My makeup was done.
I was doing a live tax webinar.
Life was good.
But I was two months post having my 3rd child.
I lost all the weight I gained during pregnancy within 2 weeks. But then, I slowly ended up gaining more weight, causing the scales to go higher than the day I delivered.
I have a great support system.
But you know what?
I am also great at hiding the fact that I need help.
To admit sadness is to admit weakness.
Weakness is not good.
I should have been thankful to have a healthy, wonderful baby boy.
There was a time when we tried and tried to get pregnant and couldn’t.
So why was I sad?
What was wrong with me?
Why was my mind betraying me?
I’ll tell you why.
Just like with any illness.
My body was sick. I had a chemical imbalance.
I was sick.
Instead of taking the correct medicine to get better, I self-medicated with food.
Yes. I know, sad.
You see, after having the baby, I had nothing to look forward to.
You know how you plan that vacation? And you get excited counting down the days until you leave.
That’s what having a baby was like.
I had nothing to look forward to.
Don’t get me wrong.
I had PLENTY to look forward to… but my brain couldn’t get over that hurdle.
Now… I will tell you, Postpartum Depression looks different for everyone. I’ve seen where moms shut down, stop showering, sleep a lot, become sad, cry non-stop, etc., so it’s not an easy-to-spot thing.
And because of that,
You may look at someone and never know.
Ways to Help a Friend Suffering With Postpartum Depression
So because you may never know what someone is going through after having a baby, there are things you can do.
My suggestion is…
Instead of asking.
Instead of: “Hey, call me if you ever want me to watch the little one.” ——–> “Hey, I’m coming over one day this week so you can shower, nap, or even make a Target run. I’ll watch the baby while you feel human again.”
Instead of: “Want me to bring dinner one night?” ——–> “Hey, I’m making your favorite dish and want to bring it either Thursday or Friday; which day works best?”
Instead of: “If you want company one day, holler.” ——–> “I know you love this show and the new episodes come out Friday on Netflix. What day/night do you want me to come over and watch some with you?”
Instead of: “Let me know if you need anything.” ——–> “I’m going to the store over the next few days. I’ll drop off some fruit and a surprise on your porch. You won’t even know I was there.”
I’ve been asked a few times – what clicked?
It wasn’t one thing. Instead, it was small daily wins that kept me going. A short walk around the block, folding a load of laundry, washing my hair, self-tanner. These small wins eventually got me back to exercising with a true smile on my face.
I’m sure many of you, as readers and fellow moms, have experienced a variety of situations where you’ve been able to help a friend after giving birth, even if they don’t suffer from PPD.
I would love to hear what those experiences are.
Sharing our stories and insights can make a huge difference in the lives of others, providing support and ideas for helping new moms navigate the often challenging postpartum period.
So please, feel free to share your experiences in the comments below or reach out to me personally.