The Cheapening of PPD
I read Blair’s post on Motherhood the other day – where she talks about how she wasn’t prepared for it and felt lied to. I love Blair. I adore her humor, wit, sarcasm, and ability to be completely honest. I read it with the expectation of deep understanding on her level.
I didn’t get it.
Not that I didn’t comprehend what she was writing on – because I’ve read many books/blogs/and stories on it. The “con” of Motherhood. The women who feel that they went in to it with a very different perspective of what it actually turned out to be. I read those and gave birth with almost an apprehension – a guard on my heart for the total mess it was going to turn into.
But it didn’t.
Then, I read Emmie’s post today on “Big Girl Panties.” I thought about it for a long time. Really long. Because it hit home and I understand where her frustration comes from.
Here is my take on it – having been told I have mild PPD.
I honestly believe that as women, we have cheapened PPD lately. Hear me out – it’s a devastating, debilitating disease that destroys lives, robs moms of the joy of a baby, and can ruin families.
I feel that many of us use it as an excuse to escape from what we signed up for – Motherhood.
No one said this was going to be easy. In fact, I have yet to read anything that said it was all rainbows and sugar and love. I was so terrified to go into labor because I figured as soon as I gave birth I would hate my kid, resent my husband, freak out and want to die, and be unable to ever live a normal life again. That’s what I read about.
I didn’t feel that way. I felt overwhelmed, and exhausted and angry, I wanted to kill someone my nipples hurt so bad – but I can tell you right now – I didn’t have the PPD that Blair and my friend Kim have. No way, no how. My guilt feelings were part of motherhood for me. Not everyone can say that – some people really have these feelings and it is PPD. Not for me, but it was an easy answer. The one that let me get out of some of my responsibilities.
And you know what I think? I don’t deserve the same kind of consideration, treatment, or sympathy they get. I don’t. I don’t even think I have mild PPD now.
Some PPD feelings are normal feelings. Not the extreme ones, but some fear and anxiety is a part of motherhood, of your hormones getting back to normal. We are so primed and ready to believe any type of new feeling is PPD, some of us just jump on it in order to cope.
That does a disservice to the women who actually struggle with this on a daily basis.
Sure, there are forms of mild PPD. There are times when it is short lived.
I’m talking about women who self diagnose. Who know all the right words to tell the Dr. in order to get a prescription or sympathy from their family. Who jump on it in order to escape from the responsibility of raising a child. It’s pretty easy to – given all the info and diagnosing that goes on in books, online, and by concerned family members. I think this was what Emmie was referring too.
I almost did this. I almost read myself, persuaded myself, tricked myself into thinking I had PPD. I don’t. But I was desperate for an answer, a reason for feeling overwhelmed. For me, the answer was, “You’re a mom.” For others, the real answer is, “You have PPD” – and they need to get help. For those of us who just say we have it – it makes the confessions, the desperate attempts for help of those who do suffer from it just a little less precious and fragile. It cheapens it.
I’m sorry for contributing to the cheapening of PPD. I’m sorry that I didn’t take more time to really ask myself, “What is this about?” Yes, my 6 months of motherhood with reflux was hell at times. My pregnancy was horrible. I was sad, I cried, I felt guilty – but 98% of the time I’m happy and love being a mother. That, my friends, to me, is not PPD.
But I don’t have what Blair, Kim, LawMomma, or many other women have. For me to expect the same sympathy or outreach is wrong. It’s not fair. I need to realize that I have to put my big girl panties on and deal with life – just like they have to put them on to deal with PPD.