One of the reasons I started this blog was to open up a discussion about postpartum depression. I figured since it was MLB Opening Day, this was a fitting time. Why? Because last year on Opening Day I spent the whole afternoon with my son sleeping on my chest, while I bawled my eyes out. I know what you’re about to say. There’s no crying in baseball.
A little background for those who don’t know me personally. In 2015, I was a reporter covering the San Diego Padres. Then I got pregnant with my son Jace. I knew I couldn’t keep up the grind of MLB season and raise a newborn. My husband also got an incredible opportunity in LA. So I left behind a job I loved, moved to a new city, and was going to enjoy a little downtime w my growing family.
So that brings me to Opening Day 2016. I was home with my little guy watching all my old colleagues start a new season. And instead of enjoying the game as a fan for once, instead of soaking up the moments at home with my son, I was crying. I missed working. I wanted to be there with all my old friends. How sad is that? I’m cuddling with my son, and wanted to be at a baseball park instead. What kind of mother thinks that way? A terrible mother. At least that’s what you tell yourself. Then all these emotions start piling on- shame, regret, guilt. Oh the guilt. You start thinking of all the women out there who can’t have kids, who would give anything to be in your shoes, and you’re sitting here crying because you’re missing a damn baseball game. Ya, sounds silly when you say it out loud.
When you leave the hospital with your newborn, the doctor tells you that it’s normal to feel a little depressed. They call it the “baby blues.” I remember thinking “Why would anyone be depressed? You have this tiny little miracle to take care of!” I also never thought it would affect me. I’m a pretty happy, social person. I had never dealt with any sort of depression before. Thankfully, my PPD wasn’t severe. But I did struggle with it. I cried everyday for three months. I’d be sitting on the couch, holding my new beautiful son, and I’d just cry. I can really explain why. I guess it was a sense of sadness and feeling alone. I felt like I had been defined by my job for so long, and now I didn’t have that.
Most moms can’t explain the feeling, and that’s why they continue to struggle silently. I blamed it on being tired, being alone because my husband was traveling, missing work, and friends and SLEEP! Then you feel ashamed for even feeling this way. You’ve been blessed with this incredible gift, why are you feeling sad? I should be happy! People will think I’m shallow and ungrateful if I voice this out loud. So instead I sat silently on my couch, holding my baby, and cried day after day. I shared it with my husband, but they can’t really grasp how you’re feeling.
Social media plays a bigger role it in as well. You see your friends with the perfect photo-filtered families, with their spotless white kitchens, kids wearing clothes without spit up on them, and moms that some how have blow dried their hair and have no bags under their eyes. You start to compare your life to theirs. I’ve done it to. I’m here to tell you that those kitchens are only white for 5 seconds.
A few months ago, a mom took her own life because she was suffering from severe PPD. She dropped her son off at school, and then committed suicide. She said in her suicide note that she was afraid to tell her friends how she felt. We can’t let that happen! We need to take away the stigma associated with PPD. They say one in five women suffer from it. Those are only the ones who speak up.
I wrote about this on my Facebook page a few months ago, and I got several people saying they would have never known what I was going through. On the outside it looks like I have the perfect life- dream job, dream family, living in LA. That has nothing to do with PPD. It’s caused by the crazy hormones that pop up after you’re created a tiny human! Women- remember that. You’ve just created a human being! So give yourself some credit, and a break!
There were so many friends that shared their stories of what they dealt with. It was a real eye-opener. I hope this post can keep the conversation going. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a fellow mom or your doctor. I had a good friend call me or text me every day. She knew what I would be going through even before I understood it. If you know a new mom, check on them. Don’t be silent. If you’ve gone through it, share your story in the comments below. I promise you, it will help so many women.
And finally, please don’t feel guilty. Being a mom is the greatness blessing, but it’s also a life-changer. Believe me when I say it takes a village to get through it each day.
Oh, and this year on Opening Day, Jace and I went to the park, and then I went to work. It was perfect.