Thanks to the women who were brave enough to talk about their experience, more moms and moms-to-be are aware that postpartum depression (PPD) isn't just "feelings" but a condition that has taken the lives of mothers and even their babies.
Many women who suffer PPD don't just suffer from suicidal thoughts. Some have acted on them, and there are those who hurt their babies leading to tragic consequences. Dismissive reactions contribute to the stigma that prevents moms from asking help until it's too late.
One mom gathered the strength and courage to do what she can to help spread awareness and educate fellow mothers about PPD. She shared a striking and vivid image that one could say sums up her PPD.
First-time mom Tori Block, who uses the handle @themanifestingmomma on Instagram, dared to share a photo of her having a total meltdown as she struggled to breastfeed her 3-month-old baby. She asked her husband to take the photo to serve as a testament and reminder of how far she had gone since owning up she had PPD.
"This is me at the peak of my postpartum depression," wrote the California mom in the caption. "I was lower than low, I wasn’t even myself.
"I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread of waking up every day, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain."
"I had never known consuming, a mind-altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague. I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome," the new mom continued.
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She wanted it as a glaring reminder of what she was able to overcome. "But there it was, and I kicked its f***ing ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life," Tori proudly shared.
In a blog post for Love What Matters, Tori shared that she didn't have any idea of PPD until her sister asked if she was experiencing it. She got confused and denied it, but in her mind, she didn't think anyone else was going through a similar path.
When she found herself Googling ways to kill herself, Tori knew it was time to get help. "Reaching out for help when I needed it is how I got through, how I continue to get through motherhood," Tori said.
On getting help, she said: "I’m stronger for it, and I have a deeper understanding of who I am because of it."
To say the response to her post was overwhelming could be an understatement. “The one word that I think would most accurately capture it would be hope. Hope that one day women won’t feel so alone in their PPD," she told Babble.
“Being open and speaking the truth about this very possible kind of depression can prevent it, or lessen the severity," Tori said.
There is no need to be afraid or be ashamed. “Ask for help. There is zero shame in doing that. In fact, it makes you brave."