Postpartum baby blues are normal, which can include crying, mood swings, anxiety, and a few other symptoms. These often go away on their own within a few weeks, and don’t need intervention from medical professionals. However, postpartum depression is something that lingers, and includes symptoms such as depressed moods, severe crying spells, intense irritability, hopelessness, severe anxiety, thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, and suicidal thoughts. It can last for months and be dangerous when not treated correctly.
Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed about. 50% to 75% of women will experience some form of baby blues, and 15% or higher will have more severe, long-lasting symptoms of postpartum depression that require medical intervention. If you think you may have postpartum depression, know you’re not alone. It’s nothing to try and hide, and it’s important to talk to your medical doctor as soon as you realize your symptoms may be in line with PPD. So, how do you know whether or not you have postpartum depression? When do you know whether you need to seek help or wait it out?
These moms reveal the moment they knew what they were feeling wasn’t normal — and, if you currently relate, it might be time to ask for help (and that’s totally okay!).
I Was Packed To Leave
“I had successfully hidden my PPD for the first few months of my son’s life. It wasn’t until I felt the only way out was to leave, and with my son safely in his crib, I packed a bag and sat in my car and sobbed knowing I didn’t actually have the guts to leave. I had to tell someone I needed help.” – Ruth
I Was Always Angry
“I knew I needed help with my postpartum depression when I was no longer feeling present with my kids. I was exhausted, both mentally and physically, always angry and irritable; no longer enjoyed spending the days with my boys. I wanted to feel happy with genuine feelings again and not just pretending to be enthusiastic or faking it. I knew I needed to be happy not just for them, but for ME. The phrase, ‘You can’t pour from an empty cup’ is so true and must have been coined by a mother.” – Tania
I’d Been Struggling For Months
“I’d been struggling for months, but I was totally in denial. My daughter had food allergies as well as some reflux, and I was convinced that as soon as she felt better, I’d get better. But she wasn’t getting better. She was still fussy and waking frequently at night, and my postpartum anxiety and depression were raging. It wasn’t until I talked to a friend of mine, a mother of five who had struggled with postpartum depression with each baby, that I realized getting help was what I needed. That I could feel better now, not in the distant possible future.” – Mette
I Suffered Alone
“After my first child, postpartum depression didn’t happen right away. I was 6 months postpartum when I started feeling it. I suffered alone for over a year. One day we were in JCPenny and my husband was in front of the stroller watching my daughter, now 18 months, rip perfectly folded shirts onto the ground. I lost my cool. My husband just looked at me, and I could see the heartbreak in his eyes. And he said, ‘When did you start talking to me like this? When did it become okay for you to snap at me like this? Over the last year, you have turned into a totally different person.’ We promptly left the store. When we got to the car, for the first time, I told him I was suffering. I literally wailed as I expressed my pain, and how lost I felt. I will never forget that day. I made an appointment the following day to get on medication.” – Leeny
I Was Crying As Much As My Baby
“My son was 10 months and he and I were crying about the same amount each day. I hadn’t felt this way with my older son, so it was difficult to recognize what it could possibly be. My very first visit to my therapist my feelings were heard, understood, and validated.” – Alicia C.
Everything Was Terrifying
“I knew I needed help when I didn’t want to be a mom anymore because everything was terrifying. I didn’t find joy in anything — baby giggles and snuggles were all filled with fear. When I was able to tell my husband, he stopped everything to get me help right away. Glad I found the courage to tell someone.” – Britt R.
I Hated Myself
“It’s something that no one talked about when I had my first child. I was 19. I just sat there holding her in front of me sobbing. I hated myself and I hated that she had to be put with me when she deserved better. Thinking back on that time is still hard and brings back tears. It’s a tough subject that needs to be normalized and brought to all new parent’s attention. That way these women can get help quicker.” – Colleen
It Took Me Awhile To Figure It Out
“I didn’t have my postpartum depression until a year after I had my babies. It took me a while to figure out it was postpartum depression because it wasn’t immediately after I had my babies. It was once I stopped breastfeeding and my hormones were trying to rebalance themselves when my postpartum depression kicked in. It took a while for me to figure out that is what it was with my first, so when it happened again with my second, I was able to figure it out sooner and manage it much better.” – Gina M.
I Screamed At My Baby
“I realized that I needed help with my PPD when I screamed in my 9-month-old’s face to, ‘Stop crying you little jerk!’ And then I sobbed for hours because I felt like I didn’t deserve to be a mother. I knew that I wasn’t feeling like myself since giving birth, but that day at that moment is when I realized something was seriously wrong.” – Gina B.
I Couldn’t Deny It
“I had feelings of depression, anxiety, and rage that bubbled up for months after my daughter was born, but I had convinced myself I was successfully pushing them down. When my daughter was around 7 months, I finally couldn’t deny it. It was a beautiful morning, but I felt overstimulated and the feelings were bubbling up — so I did what I always did and shoved them back down because I was taking her to the library for story time.
We got to the library and I couldn’t get out of the car. All of a sudden I was ugly crying in the parking lot. A good 10 minutes of that and then I got in the back seat with my daughter, crying less hard, held her, and APOLOGIZED to her at first for not being strong enough/good enough/happy enough and then finally for not taking care of myself so I could take care of her. I drove us home and after a few phone calls, was able to get my grandmother to watch her while I went to the OB/GYN for a prescription for an antidepressant to start.
I’m a postpartum nurse. I teach mothers about postpartum depression… about taking care of themselves and reaching out. And yet I still denied myself that for too long. I think I knew I had PPD early on, I was just afraid of everyone else knowing.” -Emmy
I Would Cry Uncontrollably
“Within days of having my son I knew something was not right. I would cry uncontrollably, and I was scared of being left alone. I was physically exhausted as my body was trying to heal, all while keeping up with breastfeeding and pumping.
It got so overwhelmingly dark that I thought life would be better without me, and that’s when I knew I needed help. About a week after birth, I remember going in for my son’s check-up and the nurse noticed that something was wrong with me. She looked at my husband and told him, ‘She is not OK and she needs help.’
I will always remember and thank that nurse for speaking up and telling my husband. It finally felt like my feelings were legitimized and taken seriously!” – Marissa R.
I Thought The World Would Be Better With Me Gone
“I knew I needed help when I thought that the world would be better off without me. Even though I knew my child needed me, I still told myself they didn’t.” – Erica
I Couldn’t Handle It Anymore
“I was exhausted, and I didn’t recognize it. I was sad and frustrated, and always getting mad at everyone. Finally, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I told my doctor that things were too much, and I got medication the next day.” – Sara
I Tried To Kill Myself
“I tried to kill myself and failed. I’m so thankful I failed because I got the help that I needed. It wasn’t easy, but my family needs me, and medication helped me get rid of the suicidal thoughts.” – Elise
I Was Constantly Sad
“I felt an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety. I was constantly sad. I ended up yelling at my newborn and had to lock myself in a room to calm down. I called my partner that day and got the help I needed.” – Rianne
I Just Wanted To Die
“I was in the shower and just wanted to die. I kept hearing my baby cry in the crib a few feet away from me, and I broke down under the water stream for thirty minutes. I knew right then that something wasn’t right.” – Hazel
I Never Got A Break
“I never got a break, even when I was away from my baby. The feelings of sadness and panic followed me around. I thought leaving would help, but when I took a break and got a day away, I still felt the same feelings. I called the doctor and got on medication immediately.” – Noel
I Didn’t Have A Defining Moment
“I didn’t really have a defining moment. Instead, I was sad. I talked to my doctor a few months after giving birth and was able to get the help I needed.” – Annaliese
I Hated My Husband
“My husband said he didn’t recognize me anymore. I hated him because of my postpartum depression, and that’s when I realized this wasn’t normal.” – Jeanice
I Felt Like A Bad Mom
“I didn’t want to be a mom anymore. I was scared to be a mother because I didn’t feel worthy.” – Charlie
I Had Bad Mood Swings
“Mine didn’t come until my baby was a year old. I would go from being extremely happy to angry in a matter of seconds. When I yelled at my toddler for not listening, I didn’t want to feel this way anymore.” – Ashley
I Turned Into A Monster
“I wasn’t myself. I used to be happy and carefree. I turned into a monster of irritability. Everything made me mad.” -Unknown
Things Felt Like Life Or Death
“Everything felt like a life or death decision. Nothing was easy. When I couldn’t sleep without watching my baby breathe, I told my friend. She noticed the signs and got me help.” – Arianna
I Almost Died
“I knew I needed help when I almost died after having my baby.” – Aliette
If you or someone you know may be suffering from postpartum depression, don’t wait to reach out. Talk to a medical professional about steps you can take to treat postpartum depression. Your family needs you. You need you.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jess Carpenter. You can follow her journey on Instagram, TikTok, and on her website. You can visit Jess’ author page here and buy her new book here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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