Part Three – Braving Motherhood: One in five women will experience postpartum depression
47 ABC – May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and as many as one in five women will experience postpartum depression. In honor of that, 47 ABC is airing a new three part series called “Braving Motherhood: One in Five”.
In the third and final part of the series, we introduce you to two Delaware moms who share their experiences with postpartum depression. Postpartum depression manifests differently in everyone and treatment is also different for everyone. But the important thing to know is that there is help and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Like how could I be in a state of depression after I’ve just given birth to a miracle, you know,” says Shanice Collins, who experienced postpartum depression after her first child was born.
“Just my expectation to nurse. It really was all about the nursing for me because I knew, working on labor and delivery, that breast and is best. Give your baby the breast. It’s the best thing and I beat myself up about it so I think it just tore me down eventually.”
Elysha Mason also a mom of two says she had postpartum depression after giving birth to her second daughter. “And I felt really wrong. I felt like I was somehow failing as a mom because I didn’t know that answers. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to be good to myself or my kids during that time.”
Both moms noticed a lack of motivation and eventually their dark feelings became suffocating. “I had and I will never forget it like yesterday. I was sitting on the couch in pain just sobbing because I could not get my daughter to nurse,” says Collins.
“I felt really uncomfortable with my own kids. I didn’t trust me with my kids because I was afraid that I was going to end up being one of those mothers that did something that they regret out of just being in a really dark place,” says Mason.
But recognizing the signs is only half the battle. The other half is getting help. “A weight lifted off my shoulders, literally,” says Collins.
“When I did finally tell my mom and my best friend, I felt safe again. I felt like I could just fall back on them. I didn’t have to do it by myself,” says Mason.
For some mothers, their partners were able to address the problem. Others reached out to their friends or other moms who may understand. “The biggest piece is community. Not navigating motherhood alone. Not navigating postpartum depression alone and being with a network of other women and providers that understand where you are and who want to see you get better and who will walk you through every step to help you get better,” says Meisha Shockley, the founder of Shore Grace Family Wellness Center in Salisbury.
There are so many options to treat postpartum depression, something that seems to be a misconception. “And sometimes people push it off because they think I’m not getting on medicine. I’m not talking to anybody like that’s for crazy people but in the end it can be a really big help and save your life,” says Collins.
“Postpartum depression requires help. It requires community. It requires sometimes treatment and treatment doesn’t always have to be medication but sometimes it is sometimes it’s seeing a therapist. Sometimes it’s cognitive behavioral therapy,” says Shockley.
Often times it’s during the treatment when those feelings of loneliness fade and the feelings of hope and the joys of motherhood start to blossom. “So to get into a space where you can talk to someone and not only do they tell you hey this is normal and oh by the way you’re not a bad mom for doing this or going through this. You start to feel like okay it’s not just me,” says Shockley.
“It’s literally just a moment in motherhood. Postpartum depression really sucks. It’s hard to get through but that’s not all that motherhood is about. You get through it and it does get better with help,” says Mason.
These moms are sharing their stories because of what they describe are misconceptions and a lack of education around postpartum depression. “I hope that it really encourages another mom. Even if it’s just one mom. I hope that it encourages her. She can know that she can get through whatever she’s facing right now and that she doesn’t have to do it alone,” says Mason.
“It will get better. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Just push through,” says Collins.
“There is better for them. Motherhood doesn’t have to be sadness all the time. It can be joyful. And you can get the help that you need,” says Shockley.
Postpartum depression affects as many as one in five women. It doesn’t matter whether you reach out to a friend or a doctor, whether you see a therapist, use prescribed medication or attend support groups. All that matters is that you get help and realize you’re not alone. Talking about postpartum depression will only encourage more moms to feel a little less lonely as they brave motherhood.
If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, reach out to Shore Grace or your doctor for help.
You can also call or text the Postpartum Support International hotline at the numbers below:
- Call 1-800-944-4773 (English and Spanish)
- Text a Message: 503-894-9453 (English) or 971-420-0294 (Spanish)
The hotlines are available 24 hours a day, you will be asked to leave a confidential message and a trained and caring volunteer will return your call or text. They will listen, answer questions, offer encouragement and connect you with local resources as needed.