“A few weeks after my first child was born, I called my OB in desperation. ‘I don’t feel good,’ I said. ‘I’m not connecting with the baby. I’m so tired, I don’t think I can do this.’
‘If you’re having feelings of harming yourself or your baby, you need to go to the mental institution immediately,’ she replied. ‘Otherwise, you are doing fine, and it will pass.’
It wasn’t until months later I learned I was struggling with severe postpartum depression. To add to it, I was drinking to quell the struggles I was feeling inside. No one suggested stepping away from alcohol during PPD. No one mentioned alcohol is a depressant and would make my PPD much worse, even though they saw on my patient profile that I marked myself as an occasional drinker.
Socially, the expectations to drink were prevalent. The most common gift I received after childbirth was alcohol. Family even brought champagne to the hospital the day after the baby was born.
This is not surprising. We’ve normalized alcohol and motherhood like they go together like peanut butter and jelly. We’ve all seen the ‘mommy needs wine’ memes. There’s even a popular newborn onesie that says, ‘Mommy drinks because I cry.’
Even when I did find a new OB who was able to diagnose me properly and get me the help I needed, still no one mentioned the connection between alcohol and depression, even though a woman’s chances of suffering from depression increases 10 times post-pregnancy. And the chances of mommy imbibing are over 50% in the first 11 months post-birth.
We need to normalize the conversation between sobriety and motherhood. We need to encourage mothers to eat and drink clean if they are prone to anxiety, depression, or addiction, especially in these early days post maternal.
And when a mom does admit she’s struggling, we need to hold her hand and guide them through it. Not dismiss it as ‘baby blues’ and send them on their way.
Finally, we need to have as many postpartum check-ins on mama as we do on the baby. We need to have the hard conversations of how mamas are feeling and if they are suffering silently. We need to ask them if they are drinking and tell them the dangers and increased risks of drinking during PPD.
Because if a new mama is suffering, she needs help, not wine.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Celeste Yvonne of The Ultimate Mom Challenge. You can follow her journey on Instagram. 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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