Not All Postpartum Depression Looks the Same


I ask that you read this post with an open mind and remember that every mom has her own journey. If you feel any signs of Postpartum Depression, talk to your doctor immediately. This is my story and I hope that sharing it makes other moms going through something similar feel less alone and more empowered to do something about it. It might not sound exactly like other stories you’ve read, but that’s the point- not all PPD looks the same. And that’s what can make it so hard to diagnose on your own. It’s been almost a year since I had my symptoms and I only recently realized what it was.

When I was pregnant with Amalia, Anel and I spent a lot of time talking about what we would do if I ended up getting postpartum depression. Because I’ve dealt with depression in my past (a long time ago) and currently struggle with anxiety, we knew it was a very real possibility.

Because I’m as Type-A as they come, I decided that I was going to get in front of the problem and handle it the only way I knew how… with a list! A friend of mine sent me a list of symptoms to look out for after birth and suggested I share it with Anel and my mom (who lived with us for a month after we had the baby). My friend had struggled with pretty severe PPD and PPA, and has become an amazing advocate for her pregnant friends and family now, encouraging me to be aware of what could happen.

So I printed out the list and taped it to my fridge. Then the three of us sat down, went over all of the symptoms and discussed what they should do if they saw any of them in me. I knew that I’d be exhausted and hormonal so I put them in charge of watching me closely.

Then I had Amalia and I didn’t know which way was up. I was totally exhausted and emotional (obviously) and cried at 4pm on the dot everyday, but I had heard that was normal from most of my friends. (New moms get witching hours too!) I definitely never wanted to hurt my baby or myself, I wasn’t withdrawing from my friends and family, I had my appetite, and I didn’t have a crippling fear that something terrible would happen to her so I thought I was in the clear.

But I knew something was really off, and it took until now for me to really realize just how off it was. Although I touched on it in this post, it actually took me a few months to really connect with Amalia. I had a feral need to protect her from day one, but I didn’t have that immediate bond that so many moms have the second they see their brand new baby. According to my therapist and the many responses to that blog post, this is very common among new moms. 

However it was more than that. I was too ashamed to write about it in that post, but not only did I not have that connection, I really didn’t even want to be around her unless she was nursing. In those first few weeks, between feeds, Anel or my mom would take her and put her down to let me rest, and though I never said it out loud, I’d feel relieved. When she would wake up from her naps, I wasn’t excited to see her the way I am now, instead I’d panic and get nervous at the sound of her crying.

I had waited for so long for her that whenever I felt sad or lonely or anything less than happy, I’d push it down and hide it because it seemed insane.

Despite all of that, I still didn’t think I had PPD and thought maybe every mom felt like this and just didn’t talk about it, so I went about my days, not ever breathing a word of my embarrassing feelings to anyone, even Anel. As someone who has lived with anxiety for my whole life, I’m really good at covering up what’s going on inside, so my family had no idea.

It wasn’t until a conversation I had in therapy a few weeks ago, that I realized how bad I really was. I told her a story that I had, up until now, only told a few people. At the end of the story she asked me what I thought about that looking back. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I had some form of PPD which she confirmed.

This is what I told her… When I was in labor, there was a point where things started to move really quickly and all of a sudden the doctor said, “Meet your baby girl!” I looked at her and was in shock, but not in the way I expected.

Here was this tiny purple screaming baby with a head full of black hair. She was not at all how I had pictured her in my mind and she looked so scary at first that I actually thought something was really wrong with her. I’ve since learned that all newborns look like at first so the next time won’t be as jarring, but man it was intense.

Anel’s first sentence was, “She’s beautiful!” and he immediately teared up and said he had butterflies in his stomach from just looking at her. I desperately wanted to feel that, but I just didn’t. I couldn’t even call her by her name because she was so different from what I had expected. I realize that probably doesn’t make any sense, but it was how I felt at the time. And it didn’t feel good.

When we got home from the hospital, I just kept thinking “What have we done?” I was so scared and sad in those first few weeks despite the fact that I was surrounded by people who loved me my beautiful new baby, I felt incredibly alone in my own thoughts. I would find any excuse I could make to do something that didn’t involve her like running an errand or cleaning the kitchen, because that was all that would make me feel normal.

The other major symptom I had was that if we took her out of the house for a walk or a doctor’s appointment, I would panic. I used our very strict schedule as a crutch to focus on because it was the only thing I felt like I could control in a very out of control situation. When we left the house, we’d get off schedule, and it would throw me for a loop and I would shake and often cry.

I didn’t want to feel like that, and the guilt became overwhelming. I thought maybe I just wasn’t cut out to be a mom and I definitely thought that I wasn’t a good one. The guilt on top of everything else was probably the worst part. I beat myself up day after day, trying to make myself feel differently.

Here is a list of all my symptoms:
Little interest in being around my baby
No bond with my baby
Crippling guilt
Loneliness
Panic when she cried
Panic when we got “off schedule”
Panic when we left the house with her
Tears every evening and in random spurts throughout the day

I felt most of this until I stopped breastfeeding. Once I weaned Amalia, everything changed. I guess my hormones balanced out or something because that’s when things really took a turn and I became a more confident and happy mom.

Since talking it through in therapy, I now understand that what happened to me was probably caused by a chemical change in my brain. I’m not a bad mom or an awful person. I’ve read a lot about PPD and PPA in the last few weeks and was surprised to find out that it affects 20% of new moms. I also know that if Anel and I are lucky enough to get pregnant again, I will most likely go on medication for PPD a few weeks before I’m due to prevent this from happening again.

When I think about how hard those first months were and how easily I could have fixed many of my problems, I am so angry at myself for not getting help when I really needed it. I was trying so hard to be a strong mom who could do it all, that I ended up being afraid to deal with the biggest issue at hand.

I love being Amalia’s mama. She is my little angel, and watching her thriving and happy now, validates that I’m doing a good job. But it breaks my heart that I couldn’t fully enjoy my first few months with her. It feels like I missed out on something. But it was a good lesson, and something that I can be aware of and work to prevent the next time around.

My advice for anyone who has just had a baby is to go with your gut on this. If something doesn’t feel right, but you’re too afraid to bring it up, go to a therapist or even talk to your OB or pediatrician about it. Most of them are trained to deal with new moms who have PPD or PPA. Don’t be like me and hold it all in. Don’t be embarrassed. While it’s not “normal,” it’s very common and very treatable.

Here are some articles I read on PPD that I found to be helpful:
Mayo Clinic: Symptons, risk factors
Chrissy Teigen’s story in Glamour
WebMD: Research on what happens to a mother’s brain during PPD
Hitha on the Go: My friend Hitha shared her story beautifully.

View all posts in:

Comments

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing so honestly, Julia!

    9.11.18 · Reply
  2. Melissa Z said:

    So many hugs! I had my baby boy in December and had PPD/PPA. I now try to talk about it with every person I know that’s pregnant just to help normalize it so they are on the lookout and know that help is available.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I love that. Sharing the message is so important.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  3. Tamara said:

    Thank you for sharing, not enough people are brave enough to share things like this but it’s so important to. I bet even much more than 20% get this but it’s just never reported, due to wanting to push it down as you described as well. I haven’t had my first yet (we are trying, after two chemical pregnancies) but with all of the hormonal changes our bodies go through in the whole process I can only imagine it’s much more common. Loved reading this

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I’m sure that’s true now that I think about it. If I think about my friends and family, I’d say it was closer to 50%. Best of luck with your fertility journey. Stay hopeful!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  4. Nicole said:

    Julia,
    Thank you for sharing this. I have followed your blog for years, and have identified so much with your fertility struggle and life as a mom, but this post made me cry intensely. What you described- the fear of leaving the house, the lack of connection, the inability to call my child by her name- these were my symptoms exactly. A close friend of mine committed suicide 6 weeks postpartum, so I was terrified throughout my pregnancy. When the symptoms I had did hit, they weren’t what others described and I convinced myself I was fine. Eventually I was, and my love for my child became something much greater than I could have ever imagined, but those first months were dark. She is three now, and I am pregnant with baby #2. I hope that if/when these symptoms strike this time around, I will be better able to reach out. Conversations like this one help. Thank you!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you so much for sharing that. I have never heard of anyone else who couldn’t call their baby by it’s name. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, I don’t even know what to say. It’s just so heartbreaking. Congrats on your new pregnancy and I’m glad you’re getting in front of it!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  5. Eva said:

    This is an amazing post!!! You’re an incredible mom, most of all because of this type of bravery.
    You’re setting a great example for Amalia- and hopefully our daughters won’t have to deal with what we’ve been through, even if only because they will feel no shame in voicing their discomfort and fear.
    Way to shine a light! Proud of you Xoxox

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks friend! Love you.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  6. Gina said:

    You’re very brave for sharing your true experience. If more women were open about their struggles postpartum, there would be less feelings of shame and guilt. In a sea of picture perfect mom content out there, it’s refreshing to see such honesty. Thank you!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I agree 100%. I hope that this encourages more moms to share their journeys.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  7. Jill said:

    I’m not a mom yet but I so appreciate this honest post and you bringing awareness to this issue. I work in mental health and love when I read post like this on your blog. It brings attention to an issue so many people are dealing with. So thank you. <3

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Jill. I hope it helps someone out there!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  8. Jeanie said:

    I know your not alone as I felt The same exact way with my first! I had A really hard delivery and a difficult newborn (which we finally figured out was a dairy/soy allergy) and I was Sick for 5 weeks after delivery with several things. And I thought Maybe I should Ask my Dr/nurse, but I kept Telling myself not to bother her. I will Never forget one day sobbing and asking my husband not to leave me alone with the baby! I leveled out at 6 weeks and felt a little better mentally. But I truely Didn’t feel even close to “myself” for about 8 months. I feel Like OB’s should do weekly appts postpartum, instead of sending moms home with a baby and say “see you in 6 weeks!” PPD is not talked about enough, thank you for sharing your story!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I have been saying that about OB’s to Anel too! It would be so smart, it’s actually crazy to me that there’s no follow up with the mom.

      9.12.18 · Reply
      • Lindsey said:

        My sons pediatrician actually checked up on me. Every visit early on we filled out a little survey and the nurses asked me questions regarding PPD. They even asked for my OBs info. I just assumed this was the norm.

        9.12.18 · Reply
        • Julia said:

          That is amazing, Lindsey! I might actually talk to my ped about doing this in our practice as well. My OB had me fill something out but it was only about wanting to hurt myself or the baby and other really intense things that I actually wasn’t feeling. And I only filled it out once a few days after she was born… Looking back, I wish someone had asked me later too.

          Thank you for inspiring me to talk to our ped. I hope they go for it!

          9.12.18 · Reply
      • Linds said:

        My sons pediatrician actually checked in on me. Every visit a filled out a questionnaire relating to PPD. The nurses even spoke to me about it. They even had my OBs info on file if the need to contact them arose.

        9.12.18 · Reply
  9. Emily Pinto said:

    I’ve been reading your blog since before you were pregnant with Amalia and have always appreciated your honesty and your willingness to write about tough issues. Your blog helped me through our first year with our son and I’ve often shared posts with my husband! From prepping for the hospital and the importance of date nights to milestones like first solids, weaning off of breastmilk, and starting daycare. You are and have always been an amazing Mama to Amalia and a great role model for women like me: Wife, Mom, aspiring Fashionista :-). I plan on sharing this post with my mama tribe. Thank you for sharing your story, Julia <3.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Emily, and congrats on your son! This comment really means the world to me, because it reminds me of why I do what I do. I so appreciate it!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  10. Kelly said:

    I hate how stigmatized PPD still is — I STILL find myself using euphemisms when I recount details from the months following my daughters’ births (referring to it as “survival mode” rather than an actual mental illness). I personally feel / felt like admitting I was going through something more “legitimate” would mean someone would take away my baby or force me to wean them or do anything that would take away my control. I think it’s a big problem. There were times I would fantasize about driving off a bridge (while I was physically driving and COULD do it) but would keep myself from reaching out to anyone because of the real fear that someone would intervene with our family and find me unfit to take care of them.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      I do the same thing. “Survival mode” was my go to expression for months. The stigma associated with PPD is definitely going away but still exists which pains me because it’s hard enough without other people judging you!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  11. Jeanne said:

    I want to assure you of something -Amalia loves you no matter what! I was Amalia 60+ years ago. I was underweight and cried all the time. My Mom had PPD so bad that my Dad and grandmother had her see a psychiatrist which was totally unheard of in our community in the late fifties. She only went a few times but could readily talk about how it helped her (without meds). I turned out to be an only girl (middle child) and my Mom and I had a really good relationship (not to say she didn’t love my brothers too). I miss her dearly and appreciate everything she did for me.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thank you so much for saying that. And what an amazing story! Your dad and grandmother sound incredible.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  12. Alyssa said:

    I’m not a parent and haven’t experienced this type of anxiety, but I experience other anxiety and it can be so hard. Thank you for all you share about mental health. It is so important!

    9.11.18 · Reply
  13. Sarah said:

    This made me tear up because it’s like we lived totally parallel lives! I had the exact same experience when she was born I thought there was something wrong with her (she was face up and stuck for a few hours so the front of her head was quite swollen and alarming) when we brought her home I just cried all the time thinking what did we do?! When we left the house I would have crippling panic and I never wanted anyone to hold her for fear of germs (kid goes to daycare now and is totally a germ bucket). I too stopped bf at 3 months and finally started feeling better. I feel like I missed her tiny baby hood because I spent most of my time feeling guilt or panic. Thanks for sharing! I think this will ring true for a lot of moms out there.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Wow it sounds like we had the exact same situation! I’m so sorry you went through it as well, but glad we both know for next time that weaning helps. The human body is so incredible and crazy.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  14. April said:

    Hi Julia,

    First time commenter, longtime reader. Thank you for sharing your story. While talking about depression, anxiety and PPD is a hard conversation to have with many, I applaud you for opening up and sharing your experience. I too, am a new mama and experienced post natal depression and antenatal depression – I didn’t even know that antenatal depression existed until my doctor talked me through my symptons. I couldn’t understand why I was so unhappy yet I had wanted a baby with my husband for so long. After feeling lost, emotional, stressed and unhappy for weeks I finally opened up to my husband and sister and told them how I was feeling. My sister immediately went into ‘power’ mode and booked me into my doctor. Reading the information and phamplets, I learnt that almost 15% of women suffer from antenatal depression and almost all go undiagnosed. I was lucky I had a supportive family and friends I could lean onto. I remember sitting in the nurses office at 17 weeks bawling as she held my hand telling me it was going to be ok. My doctor prescribed me a low dose of antidepressants that day and I remained on them for the duration of my pregnancy.

    After a difficult labour that resulted in an emergency c-section, I connected with my little boy immediately despite misgivings that I wouldn’t. I loved him at first sight. I felt good. I kept taking my meds and we were all a happy family. Then at 5 months, my prescription ran out and I didnt refill it. I felt great. Mamahood was great. I didn’t feel as though I needed my meds anynore.

    At 6 months, I was a sad mess. On the outside I was confident and carefree. On the inside I was all kinds of sad and worn down. I considered dying. My husband was working away and I remember feeling so alone even though I had friends and family at my fingertips. My sister rang me one night and I broke down. My doctor berated me for going off my meds and I filled another script, feeling shameful and stupid.

    Today I’m 90% better. My boy is almost 1 and I take half a pill every morning as opposed to the full tablet (under my doctors advice). All kinds of depression can take different forms and be altered at any time. I’m thankful that I was able to find help and be helped. I know now that my hormones were completely wacked out and stress from my teaching job was certainly a factor. When I was tested for stress my doctor commented that he was surprised I was still standing my stress levels and anxiety was so high.

    I applaud you all who have a voice to share your stories and even those who have never experienced it, to be the voice on the other end of a phone to someone who may just need to hear from you and let her know it will all be okay. We all need someone to take care of us.

    Julia, thank you for this community. Best wishes.

    9.11.18 · Reply
  15. Dana said:

    Thank you for sharing honestly! I think being a Mom in today’s age of social media is hard because everything has a lens over it. Every post of a new baby contains “we are over the moon in love!” And I just didn’t feel that way, and honestly I think most Mom’s and Dad’s don’t for a while but could never write that.

    I make sure to tell all my pregnant friends that, it will take a couple of weeks to bond. You love that baby from before it is born but you’re in survival mode figuring each other out. And it’s totally normal! I don’t think it’s necessarily an instant sign of PPD or PPA, but feeling that when it isn’t discussed makes you feel like a bad Mom.

    Appreciate you sharing and putting that out there!

    9.11.18 · Reply
  16. J said:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I felt almost exactly like you did when I first had my daughter and it was scary! I didn’t fit into some of the buckets of PPD so I thought I was just a horrible mom and was so sad that I wasn’t obsessed with my baby the way I “should” be. I think especially in the times of social media, you see other people saying they are in love with the baby on day one – and that doesn’t always happen. I definitely had some sort of form of ppd like you did and I truly thank you for being honest. It makes this community a great one.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Exactly. I was so mortified that I didn’t feel that way. I’m so sorry you felt it too but glad we can connect in this way even if it’s after the fact! Makes me feel less alone.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  17. Elizabeth said:

    Well done, Julia! I think this post will help many new families. The brain research is new since my own battle with ppd, and the idea of potential targeted therapies thrills me! I had to wait weeks for Zoloft to kick in and would have liked bed a faster response. I hate that we live in a world where you felt anxious about sharing. I know societies attitude about ppd and other forms of mental illness has changed dramatically and I hope this post makes it change just a little more. Thanks dear! xo

    9.11.18 · Reply
  18. Tara said:

    Thank you for sharing. I as well had PPA which manifested into a life where the baby’s schedule dominated everything and even one small change threw me way off whack. The schedule allowed me to have control over what I viewed as the chaos of my changed life. It took me 6 months to get help and after I did my life has completed changed. I wished that I had reached out to my doctor sooner. As moms we need to take as much care of ourselves as we do our babies.

    9.11.18 · Reply
  19. Alex said:

    Thank you so much for sharing. This is exactly spot on for how I felt months ago. I’m so glad to have read this because I hadn’t really processed that as a sign of PPD either. I would love to see a blog post of dealing with anxiety.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Thanks Alex! I’ve written a few, if you go to the lifestyle section of my blog you can find them there. LMK if you want to see another specific topic.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  20. Tracey said:

    My experience was very similar. It helps so much to know that you are not alone. I wish more people (including myself!) felt comfortable sharing these feelings. I was lucky to recognize my anxiety very quickly and I got on medication. It was a huge help. Thank you so much for sharing.

    9.11.18 · Reply
  21. Aw Julia, love you!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      xoxo

      9.12.18 · Reply
  22. Lisa said:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m a new mom of twins and have had so many of the same feelings. I had my babies early and a terrible delivery, which was not at all how I expected it would be. We have no pictures of me holding my kids right after they were born because I couldn’t – I was in bad shape medically and so were they. One of my sons was taken to the nicu and I didn’t even get to see him for the first 36 hours because I was on a medication that did not allow me to get out of bed. My son who was with us I barely had any interest in holding or touching. Once we got home it didn’t get much better. I also had little interest in being around my babies. I think part of it was that I was so exhausted and trying to breastfeed and with twins there is so little time between feeds, that I felt like I never got to just hold them like people do with singletons. I also had trouble bonding with them, in particular the one who went to the nicu. I also struggled to call them by their names and a lot of name regret, wishing we’d selected different names because I was not in the same room with them when we gave them their names. They are now 5.5 months old and I am just starting to be able to look at their names written out and honestly still have some trouble associating their names with them.

    For the first few months, every time the one who was in the nicu cried, all I would start crying and think about how he was all alone in the nicu crying and felt so guilty for leaving him there. At the same time, a part of me was mad at him for being in the nicu and for being breach (I really wanted a vaginal delivery), but then I also felt like the worst mom in the world for feeling that way because obviously those things are not a baby’s fault. I am definitely doing a lot better now, but I still feel sad that their birth and first few months after their birth were not this joyous occasion. We do not plan on having any more kids, so a part of me feels like I was deprived of a positive birth experience and I feel like I missed out on the first few months of their lives. That saying “the days are long, the years are short,” really is so true and I did not really get to cherish those newborn days.

    I expected the first few months with newborn twins to be hard and exhausting, but I definitely did not anticipate how emotional I would be, etc. Even from talking to my friends who did not suffer from PPD or PPA it sounds like most people experience some form of baby blues for a bit, which I did not realize.

    Thank you for sharing your story. It definitely helps me feel less alone and less like a bad mom. Amalia is adorable and lucky to have you as her mother!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Megan Bartley said:

      Lisa,

      My twin boys are almost 3, and I had a very similar experience to you. I’ve have gone through periods of “mourning” about the fact that I didn’t have a “typical” birth and first few months experience due to an early delivery, NICU time, and just the busy-ness of having two babies. For me, these moments of sadness have become fewer and farther between as the boys have gotten older and my relationship with them has deepened. Just know that you aren’t alone in these feelings, and that things really do get better, at least in my experience. Having twins is tough, and I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job! Sending love! xoxo

      Meg

      9.12.18 · Reply
  23. Kristin said:

    I’m 14 weeks pregnant and have already voiced my concerns about PPD/PPA to my doctor since I have a history of depression and anxiety (I went off meds just before becoming pregnant). She advised I start taking medication at least 6 weeks before my due date (if not earlier if I choose) to ensure that it was in my system before baby arrives. She stressed that this particular medication would not harm baby (and she reiterated the importance of my being healthy). For people like us that are really good at “dealing” with and hiding anxiety (and depression), I need to be sure I can get in front of it. Thank you for courageously sharing your journey.

    I’d be curious to hear how you dealt with visitors at the hospital and at your home shortly after giving birth. I’m an introvert and already feel anxiety about having to be so “on” for others.

    9.11.18 · Reply
  24. Ashley said:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a mom of 2 little girls, I think this is a topic that needs to be discussed more. One sentence in your post really stood out to me (and not just because of the bold font), “what happened to me was probably caused by a chemical change in my brain.” It made me think of an article I had recently, and I was curious if you had come across it in your own research:

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2018/07/17/pregnant-women-care-ignores-one-most-profound-changes-new-mom-faces/CF5wyP0b5EGCcZ8fzLUWbP/story.html

    It’s a great read!

    9.11.18 · Reply
  25. Susan Trossah said:

    Why did you chose to portray a life that was so perfect then? This is why mothers with PPD do not come forward. Everyone presents a pretty picture and hides the truth. Quite a disservice to have a blog that is supposed to be honest and post a skewed image of your life after a newborn.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • MG said:

      Oh this is so hurtful and ignorant. Shame on you. You don’t understand mental illness at all if this is truly how you feel. Hurt people hurt people so I suggest you get yourself educated and it might help you respond to others and their suffering with more grace, you may even be kinder to yourself in the end.

      9.11.18 · Reply
    • Diane said:

      I agree with you 100%. Hiding the truth contributes to the problem far more than addressing in hindsight (For audience engagement) helps it.

      9.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hi Susan! I’m so sorry if it has come off as I was trying to hide the truth in any way. When I first had Amalia was in a really scary and vulnerable place and quite literally didn’t know what to do. I’m coming forward now to try and help as many people as I can but at the moment I didn’t even really know what was wrong and was too embarrassed to admit what I was feeling. I hope that makes sense!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  26. Kristin said:

    Thank you so much for sharing. My daughter is only a few weeks younger than Amalia so I’ve been following your journey since pregnancy! While I didn’t have PPD – but have a history of anxiety and depression – I felt like I bonded so much more with my daughter after I stopped breastfeeding. I felt bad admitting that, but that was a huge turning point. It’s so helpful to read things like this.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So many people I know have said that, you are definitely not alone in this. Of that I am sure.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  27. Rita said:

    I had PPD as well and the “what have I done” thought went through my mind constantly. Luckily I already had a psychiatrist that I had worked with in the past and she saw me right away and started me on antidepressants. It made such a difference! I was still exhausted but didn’t have the dread that I had previously experienced. Thanks for sharing your story.

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      So amazing that you were able to get help right away. That makes me so happy! Glad to know it can be better for next time.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  28. Cmd said:

    Not sure if you read all of these but I think I commented on the last post touching on this subject. I felt the same exact with with both of my girls. I’m so sorry you had to go through this but it seems as though, like me, you are now obsessed with your little best. friend. The second time is much easier for me regarding the emotions. I still did not feel what some people describe but it gets better daily. Thank you for sharing your vulnerabilities. I really hope someone reads your words and gets the help they need and/or realizes they ARE NOT ALONE!!

    9.11.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      She truly is my little bestie now, and i’m so glad to hear that the 2nd time around gets easier. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that so I’m hoping it’s true for me too!

      9.12.18 · Reply
  29. HZ said:

    As someone who had PPD and PPA, I welcomed your post with open arms and was even going to comment on how inspiring it is to use your platform to educate and reach out to new moms. I have been reading your blog consistently for about a year now and every now and then you write things that resonate with this new mom. Even though it is nothing new or ground breaking and can be figured out after trial and error, it was nice to read your posts to reinforce whatever issue we were going through. After reading this post, something didn’t feel right because I could almost swear that I read something on your anxiety post where you so confidently state that you did not have PPD. I quote :
    “After I had the baby, however, it’s been pretty much constant. Not panic attack constant, but constant. Because of my history, I feared that I would have post-partum depression or post-partum anxiety, incredibly crippling disorders that I’ve seen a few of my friends go through. To my surprise, I didn’t have either and although those first few months were tough, they were manageable.

    But even though I wasn’t that bad, I was still bad. When I had to put her down at night, I’d get so nervous that she wouldn’t sleep that I would cry. When we would take her for walks in the stroller, my heart would beat so fast I thought it would pop out of my chest. Why? No idea.”

    As someone who is still struggling with PPD and PPA I find it a little insulting that you aren’t consistent on this subject. It can come off as not genuine and it feels a little that you are using these topics to attract more reads or more sympathy. I was so looking forward to feeling that I am not alone and that influencers like you have our backs so to speak but now I see it as a little disingenuous.

    Please don’t think that I am ‘mom shaming’ or insulting you in any way. I am merely using this comment to express my feelings and hopefully using what comes out as contrsuctive criticism to help you see why these inconsistencies and going back and forth between different versions of the truth may be a little off putting. I get that sometimes that it is hard to label things and that we may not know what is going on, but it is clear when things are not perfect, so prefacing things with ” i definitely dont have that” or “I’m in control” and posting pics to prove your point and then going back on what you said in a post that is considered raw open and honest will probably to resonate as genuine with your readers and may lead them to question your motives behind these… Sorry if I offended. That is not my intention

    9.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      Hi Hana. I shot you an email too, but I’m not sure if this email address works, so I’m addressing it here as well.

      I’m so sorry that you’re dealing with PPD and my heart goes out to you. It is the worst feeling in the world and not talked about enough so I’m glad we can have an open dialogue like this.

      I appreciate your comment and your honesty! I wanted to let you know where I’m coming from so that you don’t think I’m disingenuous. When I wrote that last post I truly had no idea what was going on. I didn’t realize how bad it was and, TBH, I was so embarrassed about how I was feeling at the time that I kept pushing it down and pretending it wasn’t happening.

      It kills me that I lead anyone to believe that I had a picture perfect first few months because I certainly did not. As you know, going through motherhood is incredibly challenging and doing it in a somewhat public eye is strange because I share things as they happen, so my thoughts and feelings change which doesn’t always make sense.

      Anyway I’m sorry if my post insulted you in any way shape or form, that certainly was not my intention. I try my best to be honest and share as much as my life with Amalia in a genuine way that helps other moms. It breaks my heart when it comes off as anything else.

      I’ll be sending you love during what I know is a very difficult time.

      9.12.18 · Reply
      • Stephanie S. said:

        Thank you both for your comments and the dialogue on this. My reaction was much like HZ’s.

        Another suggestion– if you’re not sure you should write about something (“had no idea what was going on,” “embarrassed,” “pretending like it wasn’t happening”), then don’t write about it in the moment. Or certainly not like you’re the expert. I think one of the off-putting things is that you write these posts to guide others or provide advice or expertise. And it’s just not appropriate and can even be dangerous (a disclaimer saying you’re not a doctor doesn’t absolve you of the larger responsibility of recognizing that many people are reading your words).

        You seem to be struggling with whether you want your space to be a lifestyle blog that is “beautiful” and perfectly curated or a more honest snapshot of life. I get it– it’s hard. And you need to balance the money-making side with the journalistic side. But, when you’re constantly going back and forth, it really hurts your credibility and likability.

        9.13.18 · Reply
        • Julia said:

          Thank you for the feedback, Stephanie! I totally agree about writing about it after the fact instead of in the moment.

          I’m not sure if I totally understand part of this comment though. Are you saying that what I’m writing is dangerous? If so, let me know how so! My intention here is to tell women to talk to a therapist or their doctor which was my only advice in this post. I don’t see that as dangerous in any way unless I’m missing something. I don’t mean this in a defensive way, I actually want to know.

          I’m sorry you think that the balance on my blog isn’t working. If I don’t take on sponsorships, I can’t afford to blog full time so I hope that makes sense!

          9.13.18 · Reply
  30. Michelle said:

    Julia, thank you for your honesty in this post. It really is “shameful” to admit you aren’t head over heels in love with your newborn but so many women feel this way and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. My son was also born purple (and bloody) and I almost recoiled at the sight of him. The sleep deprivation sent me on a steep downhill straight to PPA/PPD and I regretted ever having children because before kids, I WAS ALLOWED TO SLEEP. I also didn’t miss him when I was away from him and in our defense, newborns are super needy and very boring. Again, thank you for your honest and open post.

    9.12.18 · Reply
    • Julia said:

      It sounds like we had a very similar experience, Michelle! I’m so sorry you had to go through this as well, but glad we’re able to talk about it and feel less alone.

      9.12.18 · Reply
  31. Claire said:

    Dear Julia,

    I really appreciate your courage and honesty in this post! You have no idea how much your work is reaching out and lifting women up.

    When my husband and I experienced a loss, your post made me feel less isolated and helped us grieve. Watching your beautiful rainbow story unfold brought hope and joy. Seeing you rock it as a working mom and sharing pearls and pitfalls along the way is awesome and extremely helpful!

    Now I’m in my second trimester, beaming with happiness, and also frantically researching the to do lists, must have products, get the Snoo vs. you don’t really need the Snoo, oops haven’t reserved a daycare slot yet, and wondering how the heck I’m going to pull this off like those perfectly coiffed, smiling super moms on instagram? There’s so much to do, I quickly forget to reflect on how it’s going to feel.

    The stuff, the schedule, and the images are important, for sure, but addressing how a new mother feels and her mental health is so much greater. I applaud you for the heart you have for your readers. You keep it real and acknowledge that sometimes we’ve got this, and sometimes it’s a huge challenge and we don’t have it all figured out, and we might need to reach out for help. And it’s not easy, or simple, and it doesn’t always come naturally. And it’s ok, we are not alone.

    We learn so much when we reflect, and while swapping notes and exchanging stories, so thank you so much for telling yours!

    Sending hugs for all you’ve been through, and for being a fantastic mom, and remarkable mentor to your readers xo C

    9.13.18 · Reply
  32. Jen said:

    Yes, I too had the primal instinct to protect my first baby but I think back to those days as being such a dark time. What did we do! And when he cried, I just wanted to get away. That’s just to name a few things. The second baby was a completely 100% different experience. It was much more joyous. Still exhausting of course but I felt happy around her and wanted to hold her and actually missed her when she slept. I’m not super sensitive so now that I think about it that was most likely hormonal imbalance as well, just the scales were tipped in the opposite direction.

    9.14.18 · Reply
  33. Wilson McDermott said:

    Wow, I so could have used EXACTLY this, two years ago. I had the exact same experience as you, and what’s worse, it was my second kid. I had the “other” experience with the first one, where you fall instantly in love. Then the second one came out and I wanted nothing to do with him. No.thing. I wanted to give him back, and go back to our old life with just one beautiful perfect kid. This one came out screaming with red sideburns. I Played it cool to everyone in case, god forbid, anyone noticed that I didn’t love my baby yet. Long story short, I found antidepressants and they pulled me right out of the slump. It was like someone opened the curtains to my dark room, and everything was ok again. Which allowed for me to finally bond with my little guy. He’s two now, and I’m unabashedly obsessed. I’m writing this, though, to tell you that if you have a bit of a relapse please don’t worry, it’s normal, it happened to me, I went back on meds, and I’m back to the happy place again. This process takes time and it takes a whole village of people you can trust with your deepest feelings- there is not an exact time limit on it- like you said, it’s different for everyone. Stay strong, and TALK. Talk about it as much as you can. Your words are more helpful than you know to way more people than you could ever imagine. You got this, mama.

    9.19.18 · Reply