Baby Blues: I Can’t Be Honest With My Mom About My PPD Because She’s A SAHM Martyr

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postpartum depression supportBaby Blues is a column about raising my daughter in the windstorm of postpartum depression. Though discussing the dark spots of postpartum depression, I also share my successes.

I’m having a hard time letting go of what happened that day at the mall, when I hesitantly told my parents that I have PPD.

I explained how depression was hindering my ability to really enjoy my daughter. I didn’t ever get a break from her (at this point, I was a SAHM most of the time, and my husband worked 60 hours a week). No one else, including my parents, was willing or available to watch baby regularly so I could get some alone time. It was killing me.

After a few words of sympathy from my dad, my mom’s response was simply, “Just remember, I stayed at home with you girls for your whole childhood, and we didn’t have help from any friends or family. I did it all on my own.”

Conversation shut down.

Even if I’d wanted to, there’s no way I could have opened up further. Fine, you win, you did it all by yourself. Maybe you suffered more than I did, and I just don’t realize how great I have it. Maybe I’m being a pansy for letting all of this get to me. Or maybe being a SAHM came naturally to you, and you’re wondering why I didn’t inherit the gene. I’m a woman, right? Am I not supposed to just ooze maternal aptitude?

Postpartum depression is foreign to my parents, especially my mom, who had always longed for a baby and finally succeeded in getting pregnant with me after eight years of infertility issues. I’m sure she can’t even fathom why having a baby—such an incredible bundle of joy— would trigger a mood disorder. But if I could somehow remove the stigma of depression from society (right, let’s just take care of that real quick) and get my mom to do some real soul-searching, I think she might admit that she actually suffered from depression, herself.

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