Woman struggles emotionally with baby on shoulder

Family Health

Postpartum Depression Can Happen To Anyone

Sep 27, 2017

Chrissy Teigen is one of the latest celebrities to open up about postpartum depression. As a woman who suffered from postpartum depression myself, reading her honest account in Glamour magazine made something break open inside me. Teigen writes that she didn’t believe postpartum depression was something should could suffer from, because she was aware of how good her life was, of how much love and support she was surrounded by. That truly resonated with me.

Recommended Reading: On Being South Asian And Having Postpartum Depression

My story is that I'd felt anxious and depressed myself throughout my second second pregnancy because it was an unplanned pregnancy. I was afraid that I wouldn’t love or bond with my son. So when I finally pushed him out and held him on my chest, I felt a wave of relief as love rushed through me.

I wasn’t going to have postpartum depression. I loved my son already. I could relax.

I did not, and could not, equate that anger with postpartum depression until my therapist pointed out that irritability definitely is a symptom of depression for some people.

My second baby was definitely an "easy baby." He latched well, gained weight quickly, slept for long stretches and didn’t cry much. The stars had aligned! Maybe that’s why, after a month went by, I didn’t pay close attention to my darkening moods and shorter temper. I knew I had several risk factors which predisposed to me postpartum depression, but having a good baby, spending time at our family cottage, and being surrounded by a good support network made me think that I should be fine.

Don’t get me wrong: my life wasn’t absolutely perfect. My son was latching, for example, but I continued to experience pain while breastfeeding. I faced what felt like an existential crisis about whether to move to bottle feeding or even introduce formula. I didn’t think this was a reason to succumb to depression, though — anxiety, maybe, but not depression.

I was even already in a program for women with hormonally-driven mood disorders, since my midwife caught my symptoms of depression and anxiety early on in my pregnancy. And I remember having a conversation with my therapist as the symptoms worsened postpartum. I was talking about how angry I felt all the time; how I wanted to throttle people I encountered on the street. I didn’t want to harm myself or my son, but everyone else? I was looking for an excuse to lay the smackdown. I did not, and could not, equate that anger with postpartum depression until my therapist pointed out that irritability definitely is a symptom of depression for some people.

Recommended Reading: My Anxiety Makes Me Feel Like A Bad Parent

That’s the thing: postpartum depression doesn’t only happen to mothers in difficult circumstances. It can happen to any new mom, regardless of how “lucky” she is. Financially stable, well-loved and supported, or otherwise happy; it doesn’t matter. This is so important for families to understand because a new mom may hide her symptoms for many reasons. She might not believe she should be experiencing them. She might be afraid people will think she’s overreacting. Or she might not want people to think she has a history of mental health problems.

So I believe Teigen did a service to all new mothers by sharing her story. Knowing that someone as privileged as Teigen can experience postpartum depression and feel that loss of control may help others realize what is happening to them. Most importantly, it can help them reach out to those who can best help them: their partners, their family and their doctors.

Article Author Glynis Ratcliffe
Glynis Ratcliffe

Glynis Ratcliffe used to be an opera singer, but after her daughter begged her to stop singing and be quiet for the millionth time, she decided to use her inside voice and write instead. Two years later, this mom of three writes regularly about parenting and mental health for online publications like Scary Mommy, BLUNTmoms, Romper, YMC and The Washington Post, as well copywriting, editing and ghostwriting for anchor clients in various industries. Find her on Facebook, Twitter as @operagirl and her blog, The Joy of Cooking (for Little Assholes).

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