‘How could a mother feel such strong sadness as the result of having a baby?’

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“I never understood postpartum depression. Just like I never understood motherhood. I mean, how can you if you haven’t lived it first hand?

Sure, you can imagine what it would feel like. But imagining and understanding are two very different things.

I’ll admit. Before postpartum came knocking on my door, I unfairly judged those who walked this path before me. I just couldn’t understand.

How could a mother feel such strong sadness as the result of having a baby? How could a mother ever dream of regretting her children, leaving her family, or even worse, taking her own life? It’s unfathomable.

Especially when you dreamed of being a mother your entire life. Especially when you believed postpartum could never happen to you. Knowing what I know now, the answer to those questions is actually fairly simple. And it’s not because that mother has a character flaw or weakness. It’s not because she doesn’t want to experience the magic.

It’s because she has a disease. One that affects 1 in 7 women who gives birth each year. Which is close to 1 million women annually in the United States. And here’s the most shocking statistic of them all: close to 850,000 of them never seek help.

This is unjust to mothers and children everywhere. And too many of us just don’t understand.

I never understood postpartum depression. Not because I’m ignorant, but because it’s not talked about. It’s not addressed in doctors’ offices. It’s not addressed on the birthing table. And it’s typically not shared among friends.

Not enough women are being saved, and too many women are slipping through the cracks. And I’m not about to stand for it. I’m not about to sit here and feel ashamed of the battle I’m fighting. I’m not about to let you believe I don’t love my children, or I’d ever trade them for anything. They’re my world and I want to continue living it.

It’s just sometimes I struggle to make it through the day, because I’m 1 in 7.

But I’m also one of those who went to seek help.

Let’s get that number lower and allow those women to start living.”

Annie Lawton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Annie Lawton of Grown Up Glamour by Anneliese Lawton. The article originally appeared here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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