I had my daughter so young I could have very well made my reality TV debut on 16 And Pregnant. I remember slipping right back into my jeans days after pushing her out and going about my life. Fast forward 18 years later, when I fell in love with my now husband and we got pregnant with my son.
It wasn’t an easy pregnancy at all.
Between the sharp pains that left me bedridden at five months and the newfound allergy to shellfish, I couldn’t wait to give birth. But this time was different. An emergency C-section would delay the amount of time I had to bounce back and it was months before I could wear any jeans. This time everyone’s life seemed to go back to normal but mine as I was breastfeeding, pumping and dealing with cradle cap. Soon my husband noticed that I wasn’t in a great mood and I had stopped bathing. I would cry for no reason at all and I hated mirrors. I tried to put on a pair of jeans that I wore a month before getting pregnant and they didn’t fit. I didn’t own a scale and had I gaged my weight by my ability to fit my clothes.
The more I thought about it, the more I cried. The more I slept. My husband took it as he needed to do more and take some responsibility off my plate. But my mood never shifted. It wasn’t until I was reading an article Chrissy Teigen penned for Glamour, that I realized I may have been suffering from postpartum depression. Her words seemed to float in the air as I read, “I had everything I needed to be happy. And yet, for much of last year, I felt unhappy. What basically everyone around me –but me- knew up until December was this: I have postpartum depression….” I felt it in my gut. Finally what I went through had a name and I felt too ashamed to talk to any professional.
It wasn’t until I heard Lisa Rinna reading a passage of her book Rinnivation: Getting Your Best Life Ever, that I realized how common postpartum was. She recounted,
“People don’t talk about this. It’s very, very scary and vulnerable. I had visions of knives and guns. I made Harry hide all the sharp knives and take the gun out of the house because I had visions of killing everybody. Now how horrific is that? I wanted share it because I think women are so shamed by this and feel so horrible.”
I held my breath and felt so silly for being so caught up in my appearance. There are so many women who feel reluctant to talk. So many women who feel guilty and frightened because they have no idea there is something going on.
Then the episode of Insecure aired where Tiffany ran off leading her husband, Issa, Molly and Kelli on a wild goose chase to find her. I perused through Twitter comments about the episode and noticed the harsh judgment of Tiffany — and why she disappeared — that I realized so many still have no clue. When I responded quickly, that she is probably suffering from postpartum depression, a guy asked me if it was really a “thing” or did she just not want to be around her kid. He cited her choice of catching a movie and getting food. While postpartum only had me doubting my pretty, for some its much more severe. We have to accept that it is a real “thing” and get help. As I often say, we are our own worst critics and parenting comes with a lot of unknowns. Judgment is the reason some women never get help and get through by the grace of God. A grace I am truly grateful for.