• Mom's Confessions Put to Words Our Anxieties, Guilt, and Shame

    The mom battled infertility and suffers from postpartum depression and anxiety.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • Worrying is a common aspect of motherhood, and sometimes it feels like we all have some form of anxiety with our incessant worrying. It doesn't mean you have to just endure though. You can and should get help especially when you feel like drowning in exhaustion. And just because you didn't have baby blues or postpartum depression when you were pregnant doesn't mean you can't have it years later.  

    The problem is moms find it hard to cope because they don't want to talk about it or even seek help. There is still a lot of stigma against mental health conditions and for many, going to a psychologist or psychiatrist means you're weak or a "crazy" person.

    Desiree Fortin, a mom of triplets and woman behind the blog, The Perfect Mom, hopes to encourage moms to seek mental health help and overcome the fear of judgment with her Instagram photo series called "Confessions of The Anxious Mama."

    The photos serve as her diary of the realities she faces every day as she battles with postpartum depression and anxiety. And the former baby and birth photographer doesn't sugarcoat her journey to motherhood. Her confessions are one of the bravest things out there.

    "I know carrying the guilt will ruin me."

    It's almost physically painful to read as she talks about her daughter's drowning (who survived) in this photo. But her courage to get help is inspiring. "I know replaying the moment I pulled her out of the water, holding her wet body in my arms and staring at her cold blue lips on repeat in my mind is self-torture. I know I can’t do that to myself. I also know I need professional help to help me work through these thoughts."

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    "Motherhood is not easy. I have struggled more to love myself and find self-worth."

    Her blog title "Perfect Mom" serves as irony because Desiree has always maintained that perfect moms don't exist. "Being on anxiety meds does not make me a failure. It doesn’t mean I am not good enough or undeserving. It means I am doing what I need to to be the best I can be for my kids, my family."

    "Shame. It is the culprit of the lies we believe about ourselves as a mom."

    Her messages aren't just for moms who are suffering from postpartum depression or anxieties. It's for every woman. "Being a Mother is not an easy task and I fail everyday. But my failures teach me to be a better mom. They allow me to grow and find strength. Our failures are not reasons to shame ourselves."

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    "Your anxiety may get the best of you in some days, but it certainly doesn’t make you weak." 

    Never underestimate your strength. "There will be long days. But every single day, good or bad, you have a heart strength. And you are not alone fighting this battle." 

    "Lack of sleep is like poison. Sleep is a need. It is medicine to our soul. " 

    A happy mama means having happy kids, and sometimes our happines is reliant on the rest we get as simple it sounds. And if we don't get it, we ask for help to make it happen. "I hated feeling like I needed help, like I couldn’t be a mother on my own. But what I learned is that it takes a village to be a good mom. I needed to ask for help."

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    "I hated breastfeeding. There I said it."

    "When we finally came home with our babies, I pumped exclusively. The triplets all had GERD, which made feedings stressful because each baby needed individual attention. And I was already so exhausted, pumping didn’t help. But I kept telling myself I needed to do this for my babies. I felt like I would be failing them (and myself) otherwise. When the babies were 3 months old I finally saw my doctor to seek help for my postpartum anxiety and depression. The very first thing she suggested was to stop breastfeeding. She even wrote me a prescription that said 'stop breastfeeding.' I felt like she gave me permission to stop."  

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    "Discipline has sucked me dry and has been one of the most exhausting parts of parenting."

    There is no parenting manual, so discipline techniques do not fit all. "I think kids sometimes need to be disciplined differently, what may work for one doesn’t work for the other."

    Here's what we should care about: me-time, women supporting other women, and believing that what you do is enough. "Whatever kind of day you are having, good or bad, there is probably another Mama out there sharing in similar joys and similar struggles. You are not alone on this Motherhood journey, and you are enough. You’re enough on the best days and the worst days.""

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