My Experience with Postpartum Depression

Ways to cope with postpartum depression

I’ve never been so nervous to share about something. Part of it is the stigma surrounding mental health. And also the fear of being judged. Or that some will see it as complaining about motherhood, after we were so fortunate to be able to have a baby. And truth be told, it’s still hard for me to acknowledge that I struggled with PPD.

Society and social media tell us that moms are strong. That we are superheroes capable of everything and anything. But the reality is, that’s not always the case and especially not right off the bat. It took me months to acknowledge this, but admitting that you’re having a hard time does NOT mean you don’t love your baby, that you’re not trying your best, or that you’re not grateful. And I hope that by sharing my experience, another mom who is struggling might feel less alone and less afraid to seek help.

PPD Feels different for everyone

It’s normal for many women to experience postpartum blues in the immediate weeks after giving birth, due to the crash in hormones compounded with sleep exhaustion. But if it extends beyond a few weeks or you have more severe symptoms, it could be postpartum depression. For me, the best way I can describe it is it felt like wading through a fog of guilt, uselessness, and anxiety. It was a fog that I had no idea I was in until I was out of it, but looking back with a clear mind, it seems obvious. 

After touching upon this on IG stories, I learned that it affects so many of us yet is rarely discussed. It can materialize in different forms and intensities, not just the “I want to hurt myself or my baby” kind that most people think of. One of my good friends who appeared to transition seamlessly to motherhood recently told me (very briefly and dismissively) that she went on antidepressants after giving birth. Another rockstar mom friend unexpectedly shared that she was in therapy for PPD. It reminds me that you never really know what someone else might be going through.

Boston style blogger, Extra Petite opens up about her struggle and experience with Postpartum Depression. Check it out here!

My Experience with POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

The Guilt of Not Bonding
I always heard moms talk about the immediate bond they felt with their new baby. I thought that because I grew her in my belly for 9 months, that I’d intuitively be able to comfort her. But this didn’t happen, and it tore me apart. Nori cried a LOT as a newborn due to bad reflux, gas, and related pains. I would hand our crying baby to Nick while sobbing that I couldn’t console or soothe her, or I’d sometimes go blank and emotionally shut down. I said things like my baby hates me, and I felt unfit as a mom. And then I’d feel terribly guilty for even feeling that way, leaving me in a cyclical rut.

Feelings of Not Enough

I constantly wondered if I was enough for my baby. Doing enough, being enough. We had doctor visits every day the first week home due to jaundice, and then shortly afterwards, Nori ended up in the ER and was hospitalized for a week with an umbilical cord infection. Even though the doctors told me that I did not do anything wrong, I of course felt like it was my fault.

Breastfeeding Ups & Downs
I’ve always been a subscriber to “fed is best,” but the first few times we supplemented with formula, I had to leave the room with tears streaming down my face. I’ve had more ups and downs since, but feel fortunate to still be breastfeeding her at 6 months. I can only imagine how more severe breastfeeding challenges or complications could contribute to a new mama’s anxiety.

Feeling Hopeless and Overwhelmed
One of the things I wasn’t prepared for was the around-the-clock care aspect. Nursing every 2 hours combined with endless laundry from blowouts, daily doctor visits, blood tests, and medication routine felt like a continuous cycle of care and crying during which days and nights blurred together.

When Nick’s 2 weeks of paternity leave was coming to an end, I broke down and told him I couldn’t do it. I know a lot of mamas don’t even have this option, so I’m extremely grateful he was able to take unpaid leave to take care of both of us. During this time we also started Nori on reflux medication which helped a bit with her around the clock discomfort. But it was still hard to imagine a time when it would get easier. I was so focused on trying to care for my baby, I overlooked taking care of myself.

6 Months Later

The heavy feelings and tears still feel incredibly fresh, and I often wonder whether they’d come back one day as quickly as they had faded around 3 months postpartum. Part of getting through it was just time, but I wanted to share some other things that helped or that I could’ve done more of early on.

A few things that may help WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

1. Setting up a support system before giving birth.
Talk to your partner, friends and family before giving birth and line up a support system to help take care of YOU (not just the baby) and recognize signs. It’s very hard to realize symptoms of PPD yourself while in the depths of it. 

Nick would encourage me to talk about some of the things I was feeling and why I was crying, even though most times there was no explanation or even if I felt the reason was silly. When some of my mama friends checked in and really listened, it meant the world to me to just to be able to talk candidly.

2. Move up your 6-week checkup if needed, and be candid with your doctor.
Your baby goes for regular checkups within days after leaving the hospital, yet most women in the US don’t have a checkup with their OB until 6 weeks after giving birth. This opens the door for physical complications from birth to go untreated, and for PPD symptoms to go unidentified and untreated, since caring for yourself can really fall to the back burner during those early weeks.

When I finally made it to my 6-week checkup, I tried to be chirpy and downplayed pretty much everything I was feeling. My doctor implored me to get help at home after hearing that it was just going to be me without family living nearby. She also talked about late onset PPD and how she sees it increasingly more around the 6-month postpartum mark. 

3. Try to leave the house once a day (after taking sufficient time to heal from giving birth)
This helped me a lot not just because of the fresh air, but just to have one attainable “goal” and routine each day for you and your baby. This is unfortunately harder in the winter, but I feel like when it’s cold and dark it’s all the more important just to get out of your house once a day.

4. Actually accept help and ask for it if needed
Friends, family, and hired help. If you can afford to hire help for house cleaning, ordering food instead of cooking (or prepare frozen meals well in advance), nannies or night nurses, get the help that you need and don’t let it make you feel like less of a wife or mom.

Also, this was hard for me to do, but say YES when someone offers to help. And don’t be afraid to ask for it and to be specific if someone can offload some small tasks or errands for you. 

5. Know when to get off social media
I think I can speak for many of us that it’s easy to fall into the comparison trap, and come across something on social media that makes you feel “less than.” I saw fellow women making motherhood seem effortless. I saw posts about their babies being angels, and how being a mom felt so natural and brought more joy than they ever could’ve imagined. I saw these posts and struggled to relate, and knew I had to stop scrolling and comparing myself. 

6. Join a new mom group
Whether it’s online or in your city, I found that talking to other moms in a similar situation was one of the most helpful things I could do. That being said…

7. Addressing Mom-shaming
I wanted to touch on this because it’s gotten so prevalent in today’s world. After having a baby, it was as if the floodgates were open for unsolicited criticism, and the most disheartening thing is it’s mostly from fellow moms. People often forget that social media is a snapshot of a moment in someone’s life. Those early weeks, I lost count of the unkind messages about going through IVF just to have a “photo prop” or “clickbait,” for getting dolled up for staged Instagram photos instead of bonding with my baby at home, for causing her to be sick in the hospital due to neglect, for being inconsiderate of other new moms by wearing regular clothes too soon…the list goes on. There were also dozens of people who continuously created new accounts to harass me (and still do!) about my baby or call her ugly, including some downright racist comments.

I thought I’d developed thick skin from blogging for so long, but during the postpartum fog, this brought me down to a new low. I remember those negative messages echoing word for word in my head, wondering how people knew to kick you when you’re most vulnerable. I ended up posting infrequently and set a timer on Instagram, and I stopped checking direct messages at that time since those often got the most nasty.

Mom shaming doesn’t occur only on social media though – friends to family to strangers will also be quick with opinions and judgements. It’s important to trust yourself and remember that you’re doing your best. And it always helps to surround yourself with positive souls, and take time away from those who tend to bring you down.

To fellow moms who may be struggling right now, I’m sending you hugs, and a reminder that this too shall pass.

Did you experience postpartum depression or anxiety? What are some things that helped you cope?

Leave a Comment

235 Comments

  1. AAC wrote:

    Your baby is beautiful. You’re beautiful. Postpartum depression is so common these days that it borders on the cliché, so no reason to feel abnormal, singled-out, or anything else negative. My suspicion is that those who were your worst critics may also have had PPD & perhaps feel so guilty for not being able to care adequately for their own babies that they have to lash out at others. Or, even likelier, they could just be unhappy jerks with nothing better to do than trash others! Do yourself a favor & try to find a Functional Medicine physician who knows how to get to the “root cause” of your PPD (unlike conventionally trained physicians) & can help you adjust your diet and prescribe supplements that will get your hormones & biochemistry back on track (https://www.ifm.org/find-a-practitioner/ )… Just remember: people are often jealous of the success & beauty of others when they’re not successful or feel unattractive themselves. Keep thickening your skin & don’t look back. You & your husband have a beautiful little girl to get on in life with. All the best to you & thanks v much for ur great blog & for having the courage to share ur life with strangers!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  2. Bonnie wrote:

    Hello. I know you don’t respond much on your blog vs instagram, but I hope you know that you’re not alone. I wasn’t able to bond with my child either. I had a lot of postpartum complications (that took 2 months to heal), and I also had to exclusively pump around the clock, which meant I was alternating between feeding baby and pumping. When my husband went back to work after his 2 week unpaid “parental leave”, I cried. And continued to cry for the next 5 months. Just feeling physically, mentally and emotionally vulnerable. There were days when I would have one hour of sleep in 24 hours. I could keep it together while by myself, but when he came home I would just cry and cry without reason. The teary fog didn’t begin to clear until around 6 months, and it was probably closer to 9 months when I bonded with her. Looking back, I think it was PPD but I don’t know if it’s considered mild or severe. Maybe it’s normal? I don’t know.

    I will say, my mom and mother in law really came through during those times. Their schedule would alternate so they could watch baby while I napped for a precious 2 hours at a time.
    Social media in the form of mom groups were also a great outlet – knowing I’m not alone, and also answering questions for first time moms who had no idea what to do.

    I want to add that I don’t follow any blogging sites except yours. I’d say ignore the haters, but it’s difficult when you’re feeling vulnerable. Know that there are people out there that follow you for your style/culture/sales and love seeing pics of Nori.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  3. Jean, thank you so much for sharing such an honest experience with us. I think PPD isn’t talked about nearly enough. While I’m not a mom yet, this post is something I plan to save for that time in the future just in case. Sending you lots of love and positive vibes to you and your sweet baby Nori. <3

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  4. Leigh wrote:

    Thank you for sharing honestly. I just had my third in January (also my third winter baby) and it’s very tough to feel upbeat with the weather so cold and dreary, among other things. I’m glad you are finally coming out of the fog and beginning to recover.

    I too felt totally unprepared for the constant care and lack of sleep of having my first. It really does “hurt” when reality hits and it’s not what you see on social media.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  5. LJ wrote:

    Thank you for this post. I needed this today. This is basically everything I’ve wanted to say to my friends and family but don’t know how. I have been battling PPD since my daughter was born (she just turned 2) and just recently began treatment (talk therapy). My PPD peaked at 6 months and then I thought it would go away on its own, but it didn’t. While time (and sleep) do help, I sought treatment late because I finally decided I owe it to myself and my family to feel good again.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  6. Jill wrote:

    Thank you for your honesty. There is unfortunately a stigma and most people don’t share. I also had PPD but a little more extreme, I had to take antidepressants. Luckily years later I have perspective now. I now know that I didn’t feel an instant connection with my first son because of the anxiety of knowing I was taking a human being home and I had to make sure he survived. Both of my boys had reflux that was projectile. Both refused the Zantac. I am petite like you and pumped because of the breast feeding guilt. My son spit up so much though that I couldn’t supply enough milk. That was soul crushing for me! I felt like I was a horrible person and a failure. Now I have two sons that are a joy. I’m grateful anytime someone is brave and tells there own truth. We are all different and it’s okay for our children to not be exactly like the parenting books say they should be. Thanks again, your writing is beautiful.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  7. AnneHH wrote:

    Just writing to say bravo for your post and also sending you virtual support and affection during this time. How sad that the world has evolved in ways to allow and even encourage the unpleasantness and rudeness that has been directed at you. I am so sorry that during your low points, that kind of negativity made things worse. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family now and always.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  8. Barb wrote:

    Thank you for being brave on your platform! You are helping tons of women!!!!! I also suffered from PPD (my boys are 19 and 20 – flies by, trust me!) and wish I would have read something like this then. Women need this info BEFORE giving birth.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  9. Petiteish wrote:

    I have nothing but admiration and support. You’re doing an amazing job and Nori is very lucky to have you and Nick as parents! I don’t think being a mom gets easier (every week brings new challenges), but I do think we get better at rolling with it <3

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  10. debbie harrison wrote:

    My heart goes out to you. I suffered with post natal depression after my 2nd daughter, who was born 7 weeks prem. The shock of delivering early and having a poorly baby in neonatal was pretty hard. I did manage to breast feed, initially expressing and her been fed naso gastrically. I breast fed my first daughter so luckily new the pit falls.
    My daughter is now 30 but sadly I do not remember much of her 1st year because of the horrible fog.
    The breast feeding ups and downs I relate to as well and coming from a generation where breast feeding was not really encouraged much and also very few places to breast feed your baby. I remember been asked to leave a cafe as my baby was been fed underneath my sweater and people would “ know” what I was doing. Thankfully that is not the case now.
    All I can say is that you are a wonderful mum despite the feelings and yes, things do get better. Be open and honest as there is much less stigma these days compared to my generation.
    I have helped my daughter through this, 4 times a mum too.
    Take care of you, accept help, rest and eat well. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  11. Thank you so much for opening up about PPD and for sharing all of your experiences with us, Jean <3 My heart goes out to you and your family! Don't ever think that you're not doing enough! Sending lots of love to you!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  12. Lisa wrote:

    Jean,
    Thank you for your post! Your original announcement about being pregnant through IVF came just as I found out our latest embryo transfer had taken and I was pregnant for the first time. I’ve followed your journey, grateful for your advice as you were a couple months ahead of me. Our son arrived in late October, and I too have suffered from a form of postpartum anxiety…thank you for your courage and honesty. And you are a great mom! Hugs to all three of you.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  13. Emily wrote:

    I had my son the same week you had Nori and it’s like you’re speaking directly to my heart. I had PPD, but it’s so insidious that I didn’t know what to call it when I was feeling terrible. And I’m a mental heath professional. I felt like I should know (and do) better. The guilt for feeling guilt or fear of admiting that I was struggling as an indicator that I didn’t love my son were immense. It didn’t help that I was stubborn and tried to downplay my suffering.

    Thank you for writing this, particularly the encouragement to see a doctor sooner than 6 weeks if needed. I was allergic to my stitches and didn’t know my pain wasn’t normal (because post-partum is “supposed” to hurt) and I think my mood could have been improved if I had greater mobility or aftercare.

    I appreciate your sharing about the difficult and wonderful transition to motherhood.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  14. Grace wrote:

    Thank you for your honest post! I’m not a mom yet (or even married at 30) so following along your journey has been very informational and inspirational. I’m so grateful you are able to be open about these supposedly taboo topics to show others that they are not alone. I just can’t believe that so many people have nothing better to do than to send nasty messages – what?!! Why?! I guess haters gonna hate – you and Nick are doing an amazing job, and I wish you good vibes only.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  15. Lori wrote:

    What a beautiful, well-written post. You addressed so many things that new moms go through and the feelings that motherhood should be perfect. No one really tells you that being a first-time mama is incredibly difficult. The most difficult job you’ll ever encounter. Yes they joke about sleeplessness but just about everything is hard and the unsolicited advice on just about everything. And I’m so sorry to hear about all of the negative comments. I think you are amazing for sharing your story!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  16. Kim wrote:

    I’m a mother of two and can totally relate to many of the things that you are saying. Experience is definitely the best teacher. I wanted to be super mom and seen as someone who can handle it. I had trouble with breastfeeding and did everything–lactation consultant, goat’s rue (plus other herbs), pumping and feeding every two hours, medicine for milk supply, and my child was tongue-tied. I wasn’t able to nurse. I felt like a failure as a mother.

    With my second child, I wasn’t as hard on myself and accepted all the help I could get. I rolled with the punches, but learned so much from the first since I saw my marriage headed toward divorce after the second child was born.

    Mothers, do what works for you. Don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. We all struggle even when the kids get older!

    Thank you for sharing.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Olga wrote:

      Hi Jean,
      You are so brave and sincere. And such a wonderful mother. Never let other people bring you down with their misery and jealousy.

      Olga

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  17. H wrote:

    Reflux babies are a different ballgame! I too found myself sobbing and feeling helpless while my babies screamed and cried for hours at a time. It totally wears on you because they seem in pain and you can’t do anything, much less get any rest. Unfortunately our doctors weren’t much help in diagnosing it, finally with my third I was able to figure out it was cows milk/soy related and took it out of my diet.

    You’re a beautiful and wonderful mom. You gave your best. You’re also human and we are not impervious to tiredness, helplessness at times, and physical weakness. Three reflux/ food allergy babies later, I just want to thank you for your post.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  18. Brandi wrote:

    Hi Jean, its been a while since I’ve left a comment but I still follow along regularly. Thank you for being so open and honest. You sharing your experience will only further the conversation about PPD and make others feel less alone. I admire your strength and your style! Keep it up girl, you got this! ❤

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  19. Ainomiaka wrote:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have previously tried to keep my comments about clothes, but I empathize with this so much. The struggling with bonding after working so hard to have a baby. I didn’t do IVF like you did but did have to do fertility treatments and it definitely adds a weird edge of feeling like you shouldn’t ever find anything unpleasant. And that’s not realistic even when you have a hypothetical baby with absolutely no struggles. Your blog has been wonderfully honest and helpful and uplifting. Keep doing what you are doing and I am so sorry that you were hearing the awful comments.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  20. Erin wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Jean. I’m not a mother yet (hoping to start IVF in the coming year), but I have been dealing with depression recently surrounding some big life changes, and I can completely relate to the “never (fill in the blank) enough” internal narrative that you describe. I really appreciate your talking about this; it really does make me feel a little better knowing that I’m not alone in how I’m feeling.

    For what it’s worth – you went through so much to bring Nori into this world, and it sounds like you are doing the very best you can to give her everything she needs. I think you have a lot to be proud of!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  21. Cassandra wrote:

    It takes a lot of courage to share these dark experiences. Thank you for opening up about what you experienced. You are certainly not alone, and many of us have inner battles of different kinds. It’s important that these experiences can be shared and normalized. I’m so disappointed that other people would go to such great lengths to hurt you. I wish I could apologize on their behalf. I have followed your blog for a long time and I have so enjoyed getting to “know” you through it. I wish you all the best in your journey toward wholeness again.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  22. PHG wrote:

    I’ve been a long time follower and I have 2 young kids of my own. I came here to comment on the mom shaming on social media… I can’t believe you had to deal with all of that on top of being a new mommy!!! Hearing what people have said to you really breaks my heart. Motherhood is tough enough already, and especially the first years 🙁 You are already stronger than you know. Thank you for sharing and hoping your journey into motherhood continues to grow and that you heal well from your ppd.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  23. MLe wrote:

    This was an amazing post. I went through PPD and needed help, but was too ashamed to ask for it. Luckily, my husband recognized the signs and encouraged me to talk to someone. Its a shame that mental health has a negative stigma around it in our society, but seeing this post might help those who are suffering now.

    Whatever people say/do, just know this. You are doing an AWESOME job. Nori is happy and healthy. Try to ignore those comments and as long as you feel as though you’re doing your best for her, then that’s perfect. My heart goes out to you, as it brought me back to my PPD days (my little one is almost 4), but those wounds and feelings still feel fresh. I’ve become a stronger woman and mom for going thru it and sharing my stories with others.

    You’re doing great Jean! Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  24. Susan wrote:

    Jean, thank you for this honest and intimate post. I and sending you hugs via the internet for your struggles–depression is so illogical, and it creeps up at times when we think we should be happy but are just feeling hopeless and helpless. I am sure you have heard of the 3 or 4 B’s bedtime routine (bath, book and bottle, bed) but be sure you think of it for Dads! Mom feeds the baby at 9 pm and goes to sleep. Dad does a bath, a baby book, a bottle, and bed at 11 pm or whenever. Mom sleeps until 1 am, maybe later! and gets a 4 hour sleep. This helped me enormously. Sleep helps so much. Nori is probably sleeping better now, but this strategy still applies–you go to bed early, dad does a feeding, and you get a longer stretch of sleep. xoxoxo

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Natalie wrote:

      I admire your courage to share your experience. Thank you for standing on the front lines and bringing this topic the attention it deserves. Ignore all those haters, you and Nori are beautiful!! I loved reading your posts throughout your pregnancy (and post partum). I have a four month old and it was so cool to follow your pregnancy while I was pregnant. We had to do doctor visits the first two weeks due to jaundice, and yeah that just sucks, so I’m sorry you had to deal with that too. Stay strong, and know you have tons of people cheering you on, you’re doing a fantastic job as a mom!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  25. MaryAnn wrote:

    I thought it was so awesome of you to share this, especially because I can see many women reading your blog and thinking motherhood was a breeze because of your beautiful photos and OMG amazing post baby extra petite figure! My babies are 16 and 14 but remember like it was yesterday how overwhelming motherhood is, especially at the beginning. I so enjoy your blog and love all the petite fashion tips and photos – best of luck to you and your beautiful family.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  26. LS wrote:

    Dear Jean, thank you for sharing your postpartum experience because I’m certain that it will help a new mom going through something similar and hopefully prepare someone about to become a parent to recognize the signs. Your story brings back memories of my own experience with postpartum depression and anxiety for all three of my little ones (8,5,3). I did learn from each experience but the first one was the hardest because I didn’t understand what was happening to me. By the third time, I was truly ready and had built a strong plan for how to cope. Thank goodness for my supportive husband, family and friends but I do think our country needs to make it a priority to take better care of new mothers, regardless of income level. We have the highest maternal mortality rate in the world for a developed nation, which is disturbing. On top of all that you are going through, reading nasty comments and direct messages is a horrible form of bullying and harassment and I’m sorry that you have to experience that. Take care.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    Beautifully said!! Thank you so much for being brave enough to share your experience, Jean. It is women who are strong like you who can help us change how we all perceive PPD. This is such an important topic that we need to normalize for moms. Best wishes to you and your family.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I agree. Thank you for being so honest about a hard topic. Hearing about your experience is reassuring to me. I can relate on many levels. A newborn can be so discouraging and physically exhausting. I also had a hard time soothing my baby in the first few months, and it made me feel like a failure as a mom and so overwhelmed dealing with her by myself. Hour after hour with a fussy baby, it’s really hard to stay positive and endure. I also had medical issues and problems with breastfeeding, which was very disheartening. I can only imagine how hard it would be to have your baby go to the hospital! So much anxiety just with that. I’m glad your husband was able to take some unpaid time off. I wish every husband could do the same, because sometimes it is absolutely necessary and would help everyone bounce back faster. I thank you for your presence online and am so sorry you are exposed to nasty comments. I had no idea it was that bad.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  28. Donna wrote:

    I’ve been following your posts for years, and I’ve really found them helpful for petites. This post was so much more and I’m so proud of you for being willing to share so honestly. My daughter just had her first baby and I have been helping her through this initial period because I remember how hard it is. I really feel it’s barbaric how we tend to leave new moms (and dads) to handle the newborn period all alone. It’s overwhelming to manage learning how to care for a newborn, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, etc, all while recovering from a major health event yourself, especially if you had a c-section. Being a mom is the hardest job in the world, but the rewards are also the greatest. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  29. Erin wrote:

    Thank you for being so candid! YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB.
    As a mom of 2 (they are now 4.5 and 3) it’s such a roller coaster of emotions and even when it feels like we are just keeping our heads above water, we are doing a good job. I dealt with PPD after my second and didn’t realize it until she was 2 years old. I just kept equating my feelings to other things (sleeplessness, a less than ideal job, etc.) and just kept forging on. Now I’m taking something for anxiety and depression and looking for a therapist to talk through some things. It’s such a weight off my shoulders. I still struggle but I have more tools and more awareness.

    Sending you all the love!

    And I’m so sorry you had/have to deal with such awful people on social media. That is awful.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  30. Jen wrote:

    Jean, thank you so much for sharing. Your story is my world right now as my newborn is just turning 2 months old. The nights and days blurring together, the exhaustion with breastfeeding, the emotions of not being feeling like you care enough (or blanking). You give me hope!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  31. Margot wrote:

    Jean,
    Thank you. Thank you for being open about this subject. Many women struggle with this. You never know who you will touch with your words.
    Much love and joy to you, Nick, and Nori.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  32. Linda wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Thank you for sharing your experience with PPD. I went through my own variation of it, despite starting therapy and anti-depressants during pregnancy because I knew it might be a problem. It breaks my heart that you’ve received so many unkind messages, especially since in my own experience it was the judging comments from other moms and grandmas that made everything feel so much worse. My son is 19 months old now and I’ve developed a bit of a tougher skin, but still deal with pressure from other moms to do things a certain way. Like you said, you have to trust yourself and your decisions, and try to let those other people’s opinions go. I’m so thankful for you sharing your experiences and hope that it helps others open up and be vulnerable as well.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  33. Kimberlee wrote:

    I just want to say that I love your blog! You are the exact same size as me and I’ve found so many good recommendations for clothes that actually fit me! I also have a 6 month old little girl and I was diagnosed with postpartum depression when she was 4 months old. I had no idea how hard motherhood really is. I thought, being a nurse who had worked in pediatrics, that I had done some pretty hard things in my life and I knew what I was doing. But I can honestly say this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I had so much anxiety but my husband was so supportive, helping me to get help. Medication definitely helps and having a support system is so important. What helped me the most though was God. He changed my life completely and actually healed me from a lifetime of anxiety. I am so happy that you are honest and open about your experience with PPD. It’s so important! I started asking myself, why am I trying to pretend like I’m okay for other people? I just need to be honest about my struggles. So for all the negative feedback you receive, you really help and inspire so many others! Thanks again for sharing!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  34. Older mom wrote:

    Jean, thank you for sharing the rough things you are experiencing on the inside as well as your beautiful and helpful blog for petites. I’ve learned a lot from you about wearing clothes properly. You have such wisdom to share from your experience with motherhood, this is your story and it’s beautiful! Your daughter, Nori is darling and I applaud Nick and his kindness and support. I’m a mom to seven, who are now grown and adults (youngest is eighteen) and want to encourage you to keep on and yes, please, depend on the help around you. I’m also a Christian, a believer in Jesus. He is humble and available, wanting to help and I love that about Him. Here is a verse from Him, that helps me…”Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Thank you Jean!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  35. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Jean. ❤️ I know postpartum depression affects a lot of new mothers – many around me have suffered from it themselves. I can’t say much since I’ve never been pregnant, but I know your post will help many others reading this! Wishing you and your family the best. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  36. Ann H. wrote:

    Your brave candor will be of help to some new or future mother. Bravo! I love following your journey into parenthood. You’ll find the “days are long and the years are short” to ring true.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  37. AW wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this, Jean. You’re a wonderful mom. Your openness helps reduce the stigma around mental health and PPD in particular. I know others will find hope and support reading this post. A combination of medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy helped me with PPD. I find that there is an incredible stigma around help-seeking as well, especially with regard to medications. I try to remind others that untreated mental health concerns are far more damaging to mom, baby, and family.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  38. Bei wrote:

    Thank you very much for sharing. It’s really touching!
    I went through depression during entire pregnancy and the first couple of years after my son was born. I was alone, mistreated by the father and his family. When I look back to that period of time (2-3 years), I couldn’t believe I survived. And I grew, as God had arranged all these for me to grow. Many of us focus on too much on the new-born child, but rarely the mother, even though they have one been a mother of a new-born. I understand now what I should do if my son one day has his child, how to help especially the mother of his child. Whatever I’ve been though, it should not pass on to another (new) mother. Now I’m stretching out to help new mothers from my friends and colleagues, and that healed me.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  39. Sarah wrote:

    Thank you so much for this post. While reading this I realized how much guilt I felt for not feeling sufficiently bonded to my newborn. Normalizing those feelings by talking about it is so important. I’m not brave enough to talk openly about it because of all that shaming you describe. Thank you again for this.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  40. Grace wrote:

    Jean,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I think this post will help so many moms out there who keep thinking “Why is this so hard for me? Other moms don’t seem to be struggling this much!” My husband had to remind me often that the other moms I was comparing myself to were only sharing the good, and I never got to see the whole picture.
    While I didn’t know exactly what you were going through, that brief mention of PPD helped ease my own struggles- it’s not just me.
    While I didn’t get diagnosed with PPD- to be honest I sometimes wish I had so that there would be some explanation as to what/why I was feeling this way. I had wanted a baby so badly- to the point of tears. I thought being a mom would come so naturally. I read everything, talked to everyone, I thought I was fully prepared that the beginning is tough. I was NOT prepared for truly how hard it would be. I always subscribed to the work hard and you will succeed motto, but parenting doesn’t work that way. No matter how hard you work- sometimes he still doesn’t want to sleep 🙂
    At one point in my sleep deprived, emotional state I remember crying to my husband and feeling so guilty for saying “I don’t like this as much as I thought I would” And then he said something that really helped me “Well of course you don’t. Why do you think everyone keeps referring to this time as survival mode. But we will get through this!”
    So to all the mamas out there struggling, we will get through it!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  41. Kayla D wrote:

    Thank you for your candid message about ppd. I went through a bit of it, too. I knew about it & my doctor talked to me about it,. But didn’t realize i was experiencing it until my husband asked me why I was crying & I didn’t have an answer. I just felt hopeless.
    Having people ask if they could help was nice. But it’s hard for me to accept it. When someone would just tell me to go lie down or do dishes without asking, that was most helpful.
    My husband was very helpful too. He paid attention to my symptoms & shared late-night diaper changes/feedings.
    Thank you again for sharing what you went through. It’s incredibly important to spread information on ppd.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  42. Ellen wrote:

    I started reading your blog because your tips were a fashion lifesaver for me as a petite woman. I never imagined we would share a struggle with infertility and so much more. Thank you for sharing. Your girl is gorgeous inside and out just like her mama. Our son was born in November and we have had ups and downs, especially with breastfeeding (the most difficult thing for me, much harder than being pregnant or giving birth). It’s that much harder that every moment is heavy with judgement. I found a wonderful nursing support group through my local hospital system where I met other moms who got it!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  43. Anonymous wrote:

    Thank you for your beautifully written article on PPD. My children are in their 20’s but I will never forget my own experience.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  44. Kristy wrote:

    Jean, thank you for sharing this. While I personally didn’t experience PPD, I definitely had post partum blues. I cried so much as I read this post, especially the Mom shaming section. It breaks my heart that people can be so cruel. When I reflected on my situation, I had zero help, and those who came for “a visit” only seemed to give me unsolicited advice. The only thing that helped me keep my sanity was going for a walk everyday. I had my baby last June so I was fortunate for good summer weather (at least in the mornings before it was too hot). I too have a mixed baby and have heard from one side “he’s so white” and from the other “he’s so dark”. I think this country could use some sensitivity training. I truly am sorry for what you have endured, and hope this only makes you a stronger individual. I hope to teach my son kindness and generosity of heart so that the next generation isn’t so cruel. Best wishes always.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Natalia Thomas wrote:

      Jean,

      I dont know you even though I have been visiting your blog for years. Of course what brought me to your site was your elegant and impeccable style but what keeps me coming back is your class, grace and even humor in the face of hardship and negativity. I had my daughter a couple of weeks before you had Nori and so I felt like I was on this journey of first time motherhood with you, I cheered when you got pregnant and when she was born. I giggled at your husband’s posts and melted over pics of Nori. But I never commented until now…abt ppd, I know what you mean completely. Even when I’m doing my best for my daughter I feel waves of guilt of not being good enough. I cant even specifically say a person I am comparing myself to, I just know I could do better, that is of course all nonsense but these are feelings I’m talking about not necessarily based on facts or logic. I just wanted you to know that despite all the frequent hate you might receive there are sooo many others like me cheering your little family on, celebrating the milestones and wishing you all the best. Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing an awesome job mama! It’s not easy but nothing worth having is and you will get through it. Hugs from NY!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  45. Tara Meyer wrote:

    Bravo! How brave you are to speak out. I know your honesty will help many women. I am glad you have a supportive husband and family. That’s a great place to start.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  46. Frida wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing this and for being so strong and truthful. Lots of love for you and your family.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  47. no wrote:

    You can hire someone to moderate your comment sections on social media, so you don’t have to see the harassment yourself! Of course the clear minded neutral comments, even if they’re not adoring, are accetable but you (or no one!) should be exposed to such continuous attacks.

    I think it would be well worth it. The moderator should be able to take it much more easily as for them it’s not personal, and there’s absolutely no reason you should ruin your psyche by letting people use you as a trashcan for their ugliest feelings. There are a lot of people today wondering about feeling very unwell and not knowing how to get it out of their systems acceptably.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  48. Rena wrote:

    Thank you so much for your honesty! Highly appreciated! Motherhood can be really difficult and I think your tips are really helpful.
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
    http://www.dressedwithsoul.com

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  49. Janine wrote:

    Thank you for opening up and sharing something so incredibly private with us! I do not have any experience with pregnancy or PPD, so I feel like I can not really contribute to this topic, however you definitely opened my eyes regarding this issue and this post educated me a lot about it! I can only imagine how many women you are helping an supporting with this. I am wishing you and your family all the best!
    Xx Janine

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Kathleen wrote:

      Wow thank you for sharing. I’m sure this will help so many other people, not just new mamas, who can relate to your suffering and see how admitting there was a problem and reaching out for help, while so hard, was the absolute best and right thing to do. Doing that certainly does not show weakness, failure, or mean that you are not doing things right. In fact, it shows how strong, successful and how much you did do things right. What an accomplishment that you were able to keep working. Mental health issues are real; thank you for opening up dialogue addressing the subject. This is an illness like any other and not something anyone should shy away from talking about. As for those who judge and shame, showing the incredible hate that social media can sometimes reflect, please do not take to this to heart. No one has the right to judge you until they are in your shoes and in your head, which of course no one else is. Last, hats off to Nick for adjusting his leave and doing his part. Great show of love and support. Life and raising a family can sometimes be so hard. But the rewards are also so great. Keep up the good work!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  50. Janet Anderson wrote:

    Jean thank you for sharing this candid picture of your experience of PPD. Thank you for putting yourself out there to help other women that may see your blog. Way to be bold, strong, positive and beautiful! I started following your blog as I am very petite and have a very difficult time finding clothes that fit but I have so enjoyed your posts that go beyond fashion. I was hoping you were doing ok after the baby as your posts were less frequent-completely understandable. IVF kids are wonderful (i have twins from IVF-almost grown up now- happens faster than you can imagine) and it is too easy for people who haven’t been down the infertility road to judge. I too had a similar PPD experience. I am shocked at the haters out their- thank you for continuing to be strong and continuing to post. I missed your posts after you had Nori and was hoping you were doing ok. Glad you sound like things have gotten better. I love your blog and get good fashion info and good feels from it. Thank you for sharing fashion and life 🙂 PS. I had another child after the twins and knew the PPD was coming. Just knowing it may happen helped so much and that awareness made it much easier to manage on round 2 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Fei wrote:

      Jean, 3 things.

      Nori is blessed to have a beautiful, thoughtful, and intelligent mother.
      Your daughter is stunning, not a surprise as you and Nick are the parents.
      Finally, anyone that is remotely anyone will have haters, and you are very successful. Don’t let their jealousy manipulate you.

      From a fellow new Mama.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Karen wrote:

      Jean, thank you for this beautifully written post! It must have been very hard for you to put yourself ” out there.” Please know that nasty comments are written by those who have nothing more important in their lives than time to criticize others. I enjoy your blog and wish you, Nick and Nori much happiness.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • B wrote:

      Sorry to hear what horrible things people have said to you, Jean. You are such a strong person and a fantastic role model and mother. Only weak and insecure people pick on others to make themselves look and feel better.

      The fact that you are still carrying on working and juggling having a young baby is something I’m sure your little one will admire in you when she’s old enough to understand.

      I agree that people do still need to be more open about mental health. Personally, I think we need to make it acceptable for people to ask for help and to need a community, especially in these times where the internet – although in some aspects joins us – can often isolate us as well.

      I have been through depression and anxiety and realised that it was caused by cutting myself off from friends and from stopping things I loved doing. It was only when I reached a low point of my life when my days were filled with activities that I didn’t want to do and I thought what is the point, that it got too much.

      I now regularly schedule time for doing things I want to do. Personally I love listening and playing music and exercising. I make sure that every single day I have is worth living for by doing something I enjoy. I have since discovered that painting, bird-watching, sewing, knitting and walking in the countryside all make me feel great and have added them on to a list of things I like to do so I’ve plenty of ammunition to fire at any dark days if they ever come my way again…

      ‘How to beat depression and reclaim your life’ by Alexandra Massey was given to me – a brilliant book

      Also forgot to mention that anxiety affected my sleeping so I used a muscle-relaxation track to help me sleep for a few years – now I know some of it off by heart but the technique still helps. I found that if I went to bed after 11pm then the next day I would feel really down so now I try to have a regular, early sleep routine (easier said that done with a baby though I imagine!!)

      I also found that cutting out ALL junk food helped because as soon as I felt sad I would reach for the chocolate/ cookies which just made it all worse… I found lots of healthy recipes and easy soups (see book above) that could be chilled or frozen for those days when you can’t be bothered but still need to look after yourself.

      Lastly, I found that cutting out alcohol made a massive improvement to my mood. Turns out there’s a reason why it’s classified as a depressant!

      If there’s one last thing that has changed my life it would be: Stephen Covey’s 7 Principles book which is probably one of the best self-help books ever (and I’ve read most of them) to help you get what you want out of life.

      Hope this helps. Best wishes.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply

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