My Experience with Postpartum Depression

my experience with postpartum depression PPD

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.

ways to cope with postpartum depression_by extra petite boston blogger

My Experience

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

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?

 

232 thoughts on “My Experience with Postpartum Depression

  • Suzanne March 21, 2019 at 1:20 am

    Thanks for sharing this post. I’ve been following your blog for years and am really happy for the addition to your family.

    I always thought how you could carry yourself so well when I still struggle with my 19 month old son. This post is great to let all mamas who struggle to know they are not alone and those who look great might have bitter stories yet to be told.

    • Mariia April 16, 2019 at 9:50 pm

      Dear, you are an inspiration to many! I had a baby a couple of months after you had your baby girl. Your posts energized me so much and gave me strength to allow myself some “me” time without feeling irrationally guilty, and to remember to care for myself too.

      What kind of a sick and twisted person would harrass a new mom for looking great?! Good for you for being resilient and moving beyond those toxic words.

  • Jessica March 21, 2019 at 2:56 am

    I just wanted to say I’m sorry that people were/are ugly to you, and said cruel, hateful, and untrue things about your daughter. As a mom of 3 half Korean children, this breaks my heart. You are very brave for sharing.

    • AS March 24, 2019 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks for writing about this. Do you think being a blogger and having to post outfit photos so soon after birth created even more pressure? Most moms don’t have to worry about appearance so soon!

  • MyHanh March 21, 2019 at 7:28 am

    Hi Jean, 6 months already wowie! Congratulations on motherhood thus far. I love seeing sweet photos of Nori and Nicks candid and funny posts on a dads view. Thank you for your honesty and a peek into a side that is very rarely talked about and known for those who don’t experience pregnancy or motherhood. How scary those moments must have been. Sending you a big hug. I hope Nick writes a cameo post about his experience. That is often neglected as well- the male and father perspective. Also, is it surprising that an ad company/ Bai doesnt offer paid paternity leave?!

  • Michelle March 21, 2019 at 8:49 am

    I am currently pregnant and I live abroad in the middle east away from my family and friends. I decided not to return home to give birth so that my husband will not lose precious time with our baby as he does not have paternity leave. Everybody has been warning me about PPD being away from home so I wanted to be more cautious find ways to prevent or help. Thank you for sharing and shedding a bit of light on your experience and train of thoughts throughout the period.

  • Sarah V. March 21, 2019 at 10:36 am

    You are beautiful and so is your baby. You sound like a thoughtful and caring mom. So sorry for the mom shaming. I’m still working through PPD but wanted to share some alternative therapies that are helping me:
    http://www.uppitysciencechick.com/Non-drug_treatments.pdf

  • Trish March 21, 2019 at 11:31 am

    My daughter is 6 and I must admit it’s still tough at times….it will get easier but there will always be challenges. Hang in there. I’m also always asking for help when I feel I need one….never had a problem with that.

  • Clarissa March 21, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience! Sharing with other women really helps them feel like they’re not alone and others are going through the same thing! My baby is 5.5 months old and I can now say I think my PPD has gone away for the most part. After the 4th month I started to feel it lifting slowly. I’m feeling more like my old self. The first 3 weeks (initial baby blues) were miserable, the worst I’ve ever felt in my life, worthless and hopeless; like my life was ending. Cried everyday and found it really hard to bond with my baby. I didn’t have that initial maternal bliss and bond that women say they feel as soon as their babies come out. I was waiting for that happen and when it didn’t I felt like there was something wrong with me. And I wanted to get pregnant so bad and was so grateful when it happened for us! It doesn’t change the fact that having a baby is the most life altering thing you can do. Breastfeeding was an issue too, not a proper latch (super painful) and baby wasn’t getting enough. Supply was low too. My father-in-law in the hospital even said to me “does breast size affect how much you produce? Because (his other daughter-in-law) had no trouble breastfeeding and she’s very well-endowed in that area!” Comments like that do not help! I turned to pumping my milk and supplementing with formula. No one told me how hard pumping would be! But I’m glad I did and almost done at 6 months. Also, being a stay at home mom carries a different dynamic. I actually couldn’t afford to keep working because my income was lower or the same as what childcare would cost in NYC. Thankfully, my husband makes enough where we can survive, but really tight. Not having a job anymore left me feeling like less of a person. So I had to accept that this was my new job and down the road I can get a work from home job when the baby gets more independent. So in the end, what helped me the most was trying to be patient and knowing that it does get easier when the baby is older and the bond does grow when they get more of a personality. Accepting your new life as your new reality instead of refusing it and craving your old life like I was doing. Knowing that things you aren’t great at (burping them, getting them to sleep, diaper changes), you will eventually be a pro at, just takes practice and time!

    • Angela September 14, 2019 at 11:58 am

      I know this comment is old, but I just want to say thank you so much. You described a lot of what I’m feeling, especially wanting your old life back. This gives me hope, thanks for sharing!

  • Juls March 21, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! You are a super mom and are always doing the absolute best for your beautiful baby!!

    There are so many different forms of PPD and I wish I would have known before. Support and someone who will listen are so true advice. Not to be mistaken with someone to advice and criticise you.

    Mom shaming is cruel and so unnecessary. The comment I will always remember was “why did you have two if you can not manage” (I am a twin mom). After the fog has now lifted I am very good in countering, but it still hurts!!

    • Janki March 21, 2019 at 10:31 pm

      Your open and frank posts are always so refreshing. After following you for several years
      I feel like you are a friend of mine. I want to remind you to keep the mindset that you are “enough” in the front and center of your mind. As the baby grows you will find moms (usually random ones from play groups or day care) will drop little digs to make you feel like you aren’t enough.
      Just keep reminding yourself that you are. Also, as an Asian American we often may have been pushed to be flawless. You may like to read “Mindset” by Carol Dweck which takes about how learning to embrace mistakes is a good thing.
      Keep that in mind when you run into moms bragging about how her baby counts to 1000 in several languages, walks, draws, and reads all while yours is just barely uttering a word.
      Good luck!! It gets better when you find your tribe of mamas! And a manicure never hurts.
      Xoxo

  • Col March 21, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    Hi Jean, I’m a mom of two in the Boston area and I’ve been reading you for years. I recall reading your post about Nori having jaundice and being hospitalized as a newborn, and I thought, “Oh wow, how absolutely terrifying and difficult. I hope *Jean* is OK.” I’m so sorry that you were struggling. Your baby is beautiful!

  • Christy Ploen March 21, 2019 at 10:20 pm

    Nori is beautiful and you are doing great. My 1st had reflux and nursing issues. He is 11 now and just fine. Nori will grow out of most of the symptoms. Don’t listen to hateful people. 😊❤

  • Maureen March 21, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s not always you hear about it especially because as moms we are supposed to be strong. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I didn’t love motherhood. Matter of fact, I still don’t. There’s a lot of it that I can’t seem to stand but that doesn’t mean I don’t love my son. On the contrary, I will do what it takes to give him the best. I rode out my emotions during the first two years. It was rough. My son isn’t the best sleeper and was always up after 2 hours. What helped was having my parents around from time to time helped with my sanity because they were able to support me in ways I am forever thankful for. I also cried when I needed to and I walked away when I couldn’t handle any more time with baby. I let him cry it out a lot because my son was always crying too. Just nonstop. It was no joke. My son is now five. It doesn’t get easier Jean as most people will tell you but your challenges change and you find your way.

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

  • Renee March 21, 2019 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

  • Neha March 22, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Thank you for sharing, I had a horrible time after my son was born. He cried, no screamed all the time, never wanted to be skin to skin. I didn’t feel the bond and just felt I couldn’t make him happy. He has a list of issues as we now know reflux, milk protein allergy and now FPIES.He was born around the same time as Nori and seeing your posts at the time made me compare and feel more inadequate. This is not a criticism of you at all. But we couldn’t go out because he would cry all day. We have no family in the US so really were alone. I wondered what I did wrong during pregnancy for my son to have all these issues. I blamed myself for everything, I’ve never felt so bad. I think the social media comparison is dangerous for sure but also I don’t think enough people are honest about how the immediate aftermath of birth feels. I don’t think many people feel instant love and have instincts that kick in. But we think we are meant to. Immediately after having a baby I just felt like a robot – I was doing things but without really feeling anything, and what I did feel was negative. Anyway thank you for sharing I think this will help many people. Things definitely get better but some people just need that extra support.

  • EN March 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    The new mommy thing is hard and I went through with PPD with my first. Took me a long time to forget and kind of conquer it, which then allowed me to freely thing of having a 2nd. TIREDNESS and the scary new job of being a mom was the main cause of my personal experience. When the fog lifts, it feels amazing and it sounds like you making it work now! The secret is we’re (parents) all making it up as we go!

  • Lisa March 22, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    I’m so sorry. Those cruel people don’t actually know you, so their criticisms say everything about them and nothing about you. It’s time for kindness and love. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years, and I think it is wonderful. Several items that you recommended are now go to pieces in my closet, and you’ve helped me to look at petite fashion in a new way.

  • RA March 22, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    Don’t be too hard on yourself . I still tell my kids I make mistakes but I am ready to learn..They are older now but I understand as a new parent what you are going through. Having help at home especially someone older like parents or in laws will help. Remember this is just a phase and she will be grown up even before you know. “This too will pass”. As for the difficult people forgive them and think maybe some circumstances in their life made them the way they are. Not your fault so don’t let them take away your happiness or your peace. I wish you and family true happiness and wonderful memories to cherish for lifetime . My daughter used to be up most of the nights and today I joke about it with her and she grins and laughs about it. It was difficult back then but today that same memory is something I laugh about so think of it like that . Someday you will be telling your daughter and she might just grin at you. I never thought I would !

  • Misty March 23, 2019 at 12:25 am

    Honestly, thank you for this. I didn’t recognize my PPD initially for what it was and went through many of these same emotions. Unfortunately I hid it from my doctor and went untreated for four months. Destigmatizing PPD is an important step and sharing this took a ton of strength.

  • Patricia March 23, 2019 at 11:36 am

    I am sorry you felt afraid to share this with your audience. I am not a mother nor will be, as my husband and I have chosen not to have children. However, I feel disgusted by people judging you or us or anyone for the matter as everyone’s reality is different. I am glad you are doing well. Nori is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your family. ♥

  • Anne March 24, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Hi Jean,
    First of all congratulations! She is beautiful! My little one is almost one, and though I did not have post partum depression, it was certainly overwhelming to have a new child. She is my second one. And I remember from her earlier days, it was certainly tiring and overwhelming and the lack of sleep was just kicking my behind. I complain everyday to my husband, I still do. And it’s ok. It’s an outlet. A release. I was fortunate enough to have family nearby. And they would let me sleep for at least a couple of hours during the day. Motherhood is hard. Wifehood (don’t think it’s a word but I don’t care) is hard. But my children’s smile makes everything worthwhile. And I will tell them stories of how hard it were to raise them, so I won’t be able to babysit their babies overnight when they get theirs. I’ll tell them I haven’t recovered yet! 🤪. I follow you because I’m petite as well. I’m 4’9” and proud of it (there’s even a Broadway song for it!). And with a little bit humor and a whole lot of sleeping pill (at least for me), I’m sure you’ll be the best mom for Nori. Good luck! And welcome to mommyhood! (It’s exhausting, and it’s worth it (now shake your hair like a l’oreal commercial model)).

  • Adelina March 24, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    My daughter is 11 now- but your post made it all come back to me! Everything you said was so relatable. You are brave and better than most for talking about it. It will get better. For all you mommies out there- I used gripe water for the gas pain my baby had. Oh how she would cry! People sometimes made me feel like I wasn’t doing something right… I started giving her gripe water before and after feedings- it helped a little bit mostly she just had to develope her digestive system more. So time…. the breast feeding struggles, the exhaustion… so relatable. Time will help you Jean. Plus your husband and your friends. You are doing great!

  • Alisa March 24, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    Jean, I am so very sorry. This post was difficult to read, I can only imagine how difficult it was to write. Number 7 brought me to tears. As a woman, I simply can’t understand how some of us can treat others in this way. I am sitting here, trying very hard to understand and I can’t, because there is no excuse for it. We are supposed to have each other’s backs and be there for one another, not tear each other down. Just know that for every ONE of those women who are hurting you, there are a MILLION ready to go to war for you. I am so glad to hear that you are feeling better.

  • Marcela Bastos March 24, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Hi Jean,
    I admire your courage to be so honest and open. This is a really tough time for new moms. It took me a good year and a half to get better. I was in denial about my PPD.
    Thank you for your post! We need more support for one another. You are part of the change!

  • Raven March 25, 2019 at 1:17 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, the tough details, and your advice. Nori is so lucky to grow up with such a great mom, who can teach her to be strong, responsible, and honest, to accept help, and to help others. And she’s lucky to grow up with a dad who cares so much about his relationships and his family, who appreciates the importance of sharing our feelings, and who is adaptable, generous, and responsible. Your family is beautiful not because of the perfect instagram photos (though I love looking at them), but because of the complexity and depth we can relate to.

    • Cat Bilodeau March 25, 2019 at 10:31 pm

      I LOVE that you shared this! It will be so meaningful to so many new moms.
      I am a psych nurse for young adults and it can be a scary, confusing and exhausting time for moms dealing with PPD on top of all the other challenges that come from being a new mom!
      Your helpful ideas are great!

  • mk March 26, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I was in labor for three days, and was passing kidney stones while I labored. Delivery was difficult because my boy was wrapped in his knotted umbilical cord. Recovery was long,. I had lost a lot of blood, was so very weak, and in so much pain. I remember crying every day. I remember not caring about anything. My mom had to insist that I feed my crying son; I was so tired and overwhelmed that I would have just let him cry. I didn’t feel guilty. I didn’t feel anything. My mother and my husband stayed by my side for two weeks. And afterwards, my husband stayed at home with me for over a month. It was he who pointed out that I wasn’t acting like my normal self (even my normal self when stressed-out), and that I had PPD, and that I shouldn’t judge myself for it or imagine that it would last forever. I was in such a blunted state that it hadn’t occurred to me to wonder about any of this.

  • Sam March 26, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    I just wanted to say that I’ve loved your blog and perspective for over a year. You’ve helped me feel confident, comfortable, and pretty in my professional attire.

    Shortly after you had your baby, I found you on Instagram, too. I have an on-again/off-again relationship with instagram because I just can’t manage the negative emotions it seems to induce in me. So my strategy is to log in everyone once in a while and enjoy it til it gets to be more negative than positive, then log out and give it a break for a month or two…and wash/rinse/repeat. Anyway, the point is that I found you on insta, too, and loved following you there because your stories were so… normal. I found that super refreshing, and I hope it’s not too creepy to say, but they made me think it’d be fun to be friends in real life. 🙂

    Babies are hard, and it sounds like you’ve had an especially tough road. Thanks for the work you do for strangers like me.

  • Nancy March 26, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    You are doing an awesome job as a mom. I hope you get more positive comments or feedbacks than negatives. When you first posted your IVF blog my cousin had forwarded that to me and I’ve been following your story since. I myself am Chinese and my husband is Filipino. Our first born daughter Angelina was stillborn on March 23, 2017. It was a year of heartbreak but we finally did conceived our rainbow girl 9 months after. Our rainbow Isabella was born Sept 5, 2018 just weeks after your Nori. I can tell you Nori is one beautiful, happy, and quick learning baby. When Isabella finally rolled over I saw your post of Nori crawling and eating real solid foods. You should be a proud mama!!! I know it’s hard to ignore the negative comments but remember you inspire a lot of girls, and mamas out there.

  • RC March 26, 2019 at 9:47 pm

    I’m a long-time reader, and just wanted to say “Wow.” I think it is amazing that you have been willing to share this aspect of your journey with all of us, and I thank you for it. I had severe PPD after my first and went on medication, which I have not stopped since. Yet, I have shared that with very few people. It is people like me – those who don’t share – who contribute to a world where new moms don’t know what to expect, don’t know what to look out for, and don’t realize that what they are thinking and feeling are normal and not things to be guilty/ashamed/whatever about. Thank you for not being like me, and being the brave person that you are.

  • Pia March 26, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Jean, thank you so much for sharing. It breaks my heart that people were so cruel to you. Please know that you are adored and appreciated by your real readers! You are amazing! Hugs!

  • b. March 27, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    you are not alone. i am one of those moms without a “village”. i don’t have family nearby to help me and my husband is always at work. it was overwhelming being a first time mom as i was also depressed and wanted to hurt myself so badly. people do not understand the why’s of this, even i don’t. when my baby was 2.5 months old i found out i was pregnant again. so while still having postpartum depression, almost alone taking care of my baby all day i was also pregnant most of my child’s first year of life. i honestly could say i would not be in this world if it werent for my kids. i knew and still know they need me. i am still a mom without a “village” raising 2 kids under 2. my oldest is 18 months and youngest is 6 months. i love them more than anything but i think its ok not to love motherhood all the time.

  • Glennavelle March 28, 2019 at 2:00 am

    Congratulations being a mommy and to your bundle of joy. I am a mother myself too and the things you have mentioned on your blog is relatetable for I have been through some of those experiences myself. You will get through it. It is okay to have an alone time away from your baby even if it is an hour or less as long as you take time to recharge. It is not being selfish but self-love. We can’t give when we have nothing to give like our time or energy.
    Best wishes!!!
    Glenna

  • Rukia March 28, 2019 at 2:51 am

    I greatly appreciate you share this and I truly hope every woman getting pregnant can read your post and become more prepared with all the support and help she can find. I was totally in your place, and I found so many new mommy had been in that place too. Most of us got luck, we recovered with time and blend in our mommy role. But some were not. They might had marriage crisis because the husband never understood the changes a woman had been through physically and mentally after the baby was delivered, and they were misleading but the fake from social media or celebrities: laboring was easy, so was nursing. WRONG!! They all have a village to care for the baby and the mom, but we only have our own!! And some mom felt so misunderstood and hopeless as to become severe drepression, or to suicide even.

    I have been each experience you had: the guilt, the not enough (I shopped Amazon every day cuz I always I left some baby stuff and always returned items because I felt they are not helpful ), the breast feeding uncomfort, the little sleeping time, and the hopelessness that no one I can share with.

    All your suggestion are very helpful, indeed. That’s how I heal myself too: asking for more help (I finally hire a 24/7 babysitter), going outside to talk to ppl, joining a new mom group….then you will know what happen to your baby are usually normal as some other kids. It’s not mom’s fault. It’s not everybody’s fault.

  • Jenny March 29, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    Hi Jean, kudos to you on this post! I’m a long time fan and follower of your blog. It is so important to talk about these issues and realize how many other moms are going through the same thing. I’m a mom of two (9 and 5) and completely relate to all of your observations.
    The most important thing for me has been there is no right answer except what works for you and your family, and also that there is usually no “magic” solution to problems (including eczema! my kids have it – I’ve tried everything under the sun and right now we’re liking K-beauty snail cream). Thank you for taking the time and sharing.

  • Christan March 31, 2019 at 2:46 am

    Thank you so much for your brave transparency. Your honesty and openness will help countless women, I am sure. As a 45 year-old mom of two teens, I’ve never thought about how I didn’t have to navigate social media comparison/pressure when my kids were babies and toddlers. My goodness, that must be so hard — especially as a blogger. Thank you, also, for your vulnerability in sharing about the racist comments you and your daughter have received. I am so very sorry you’ve had to endure this. It breaks my heart — we have so far to go. I do believe that you are the very best mother for Nori… God gave her to you over anyone else on the earth. You are enough. And just as you will teach her many things, she will teach you, as well. God uses our kids to teach us so much about ourselves, society, and our worldview… and they don’t even know they’re teaching us. 🙂 What a gift that you are learning so much. Thanks for bringing us into your grief, your struggle, your tension. xo

  • Joy March 31, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Love these tips Jean—and baby Nora so cute…please do a blog on breastfeeding. Thanks

  • Al April 3, 2019 at 10:45 am

    I called mine “postpartum rage”. I was on the lookout for depression-like symptoms, so the high hum of anxiety and adrenaline and the insanely short-fused temper that came with my PPA/PPD blindsided me!

    9 months of 100mg of Zoloft and an incredible therapist, and I’m a better person than I was before. Taking meds was an agonizing decision, for myself, and because I was nursing. (And nursing was the only thing going well at that point.)

    Looking back, I can’t believe I thought that her exposure to the meds in my breastmilk was worse than having a mother who could not get through a day, hell, an afternoon, without a complete breakdown.

    Jean- much love to you and Nick. I can’t even count how many days I called my husband sobbing/screaming, begging him to come home from work early. He ended up taking a long, unpaid leave, too.

    It’s all about to get much easier, I promise!

  • Linda April 4, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Friends and family were the backbone to my survival throughout the last 5 years. After having three kids all under the age of 2.5 years (two of them being twins), post natal depression as we call it in Australia didn’t set in. While everything was still a blur and I was anxious most of the time, family and friends were always there. They lived with us, cared for us, drove our kids to whereever they needed to go when we couldn’t, fed us when we couldn’t cook, did laundry everyday, baby sat occasionally when we needed a break. They did this while I was in and out of the hospital when the twins were in special care and during surgery. Their unconditional love kept me going and although it took me awhile to accept all that love, it’s what I believe all mums should receive. It takes a community to raise a child and care for mum. This can be family, friends or your local community. Accepting help is key.

    My heart goes out to you because we as mums know how tough it is. Everyone thinks it’s such a “natural” thing, but from experience, there’s nothing natural about it. We just try to do our best and you are enough. No one can tell you otherwise. Lots of love from Australia

  • Cat April 8, 2019 at 9:08 am

    You are a ~beautiful~ mother with the most stunning, perfect, angelic baby in the world and it makes me furious that any nasty comments ever made you feel like less. Even though I cannot relate to being a mother quite yet, your blog has always inspired me to be a better version of myself. At 24 I’m still looking up and looking forward to every stage in my life because you make it real and not as complicated as it seems. I wish you and your family only the best and I can’t wait to see what stunning posts you bring us next!!!! xoxoxoxox

  • Fiona MacDonald April 8, 2019 at 5:25 pm

    It took me almost a full month to read this post because even 3.5 years later the wounds of PPD/PPA are still as fresh as they were the day I was diagnosed. My symptoms were almost identical to yours, just a feeling of being overwhelmed at this new job, my husband going back to work shortly after our son was born and struggling with BF which in the end I did pump for 6 months (which most of my friends was bonkers in itself) and then using formula as well. I think with social media being so in your face and seeing these perfect families makes us think child birth and post partum is some fantasy like dream world, but once I opened up about my struggles, starting seeing a therapist and speaking out ( I actually now run a yearly walk to help raise awareness and funds for postpartum support international) more friends and moms came out with their own stories, we need to support each other and be honest with our struggles so others know they’re not alone. I applaud your honesty and strength mama, you’re amazing xo

  • Giedre April 10, 2019 at 3:17 am

    This was very good post. I am 21 weeks pregnant with my first child. I have read about PPD but in reality, do not know what to expect. My mom had severe PPD after my younger brother was born. I already talked with my husband and will talk with him again. Thank you for sharing your tips. And I am very sorry you had to go through so many negative people in that time. Wish you and your family all the best! I love your blog and appreciate the knowledge you share with us 🙂

  • Chloé April 11, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Hi Jean,

    Postpartum Depression must be taken seriously. I strongly recommend you to seek God at the Universal Church and listen to the Universal online radio.

    Best wishes from Switzerland. 🙂

  • Melissa April 17, 2019 at 12:24 am

    I’m just getting around to reading this now and I wish I could give you a hug. So brave for telling your story and thank you for being so candid and honest for those of us who have yet to experience motherhood. You’re doing great and little baby Nori knows it too. Also… so sorry about how wretched some people can be.

  • Mimi April 22, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    I truly appreciated this post. My baby boy just turned 1 and I wish that I would’ve realized that I wasn’t alone when going through the early months of motherhood. The tears, the anxiety, the fear, the guilt… it is all too common… and I almost feel like that is invisible veil of motherhood that we all wear. Your baby girl is so lucky to have a mother like you, to be her role model and shining light to guide her through life. Wishing your family all the love in the world <3

  • Isabel April 24, 2019 at 12:49 am

    Hi Jane. Thank you for sharing this brutally honest yet beautiful post on motherhood. My baby was born a few months after Nori and she is about 6 months old now. I’ve filed for 6 months of maternity leave (which I am one of the few lucky ones) and about to go back to work next week. I am especially feeling anxious about leaving my baby and whole issue of figuring out how to pump breastmilk while I am at work. I’ve never realized how strong mothers are until I become one myself. I am incredibly grateful for my body to be able to grow a human, birth a human, and feed the human afterward. There are so much changes to our body (mentally and physiologically) and I must say it is a tough/traumatic experience to our body. Meanwhile, we as women must be resilient and develop strong coping mechanism to copy with all these drastic changes! We also have to educate ourselves to recognize that there will be turbulence while we are riding out our experiences of motherhood. In this community of motherhood, we all should treat each others with a little bit more love and support. Of course, there will always be exceptions, but unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about it other than ignoring their negativity. I’ve no doubt that you are the best mother to your baby as I am one to my precious little one. Good luck and please post more about motherhood. Sharing our vulnerability only makes us stronger, not weaker.

  • Emma April 26, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for sharing this post, and the rest of your posts on this blog. I’m a mum of two, petite and wish one day I could look as stylish and polished as you do. Alas somehow I don’t think that is going to happen. Anyway I just wanted to say I’m so sorry that people feel some sort of weird need to send you negative comments about you and your beautiful baby. Some people obviously don’t have anything better to do or just lack meaning in their lives making them feel the need to put others down I guess. As mums we are all trying to do our best, even if it may not look like it to others, we all have our good days and our bad days too. You are doing a great job. Don’t let the haters get you down.

  • Abiola April 27, 2019 at 10:32 pm

    I’m sorry for the ugliness you experienced. Thank you for your courage.

  • Abby May 9, 2019 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for sharing. I can relate to all of it. It took me ten years of trying before I became pregnant naturally. I never thought insurance would pay for it so I never tried. The cost to pay out of pocket seemed too prohibitive and I couldn’t afford it. For a decade I suffered the pressure from my Asian parents and their friends gossip that there was something wrong with me or that I was too selfish to want to start a family. Admittedly I never shared my deep desire to be a mother. All they saw was my commitment to furthering my career. I wanted to be successful but also a mother. Three years ago I finally hit a wall and quit my job and took a few months off before I started a new job. Removing myself from the corporate stress finally allowed me to get pregnant. I had always worked 60+ hours a week and didn’t think it was anything that could prevent me from getting pregnant (except feeling too tired to have sex). But it finally happened. Even after waiting so long for my baby the pregnancy was complicated and I had to have a c section prematurely to save the baby. Then afterwards I had PPD. I had all these expectations of breastfeeding my baby but it just wouldn’t work. The baby was weak because of the prematurity and couldn’t suck well and at the time I thought it was because I failed as a mother. I didn’t bond with her well because of the frustration of trying to breastfeed her. I finally gave in to exclusively pumping for her. It was the only way I could feel like I was being a good mother was by pumping for her. I pumped for six months and built a supply to feed her for another three months. By then I started recovering from PPD. The baby is no longer a baby now but the sweetest toddler and I’m bonding with her more and more. Now she has a little sister that just came home in March after 2 weeks in NICU. I learned that breastfeeding is not easy and I can’t force or will a baby to breastfeed. I bottle fed her pumped breast milk until 2 weeks ago and started practicing feeding from the breast once a day with increasing frequency. Now she us breastfed for all her feedings. It took time for this baby also to gain in size (she was 4.75 lbs) and strength to take to the breast. A better understanding this time around allowed me to bond better with the baby and not have so many depressive feelings and thoughts. In the grand scheme of things, the breastfeeding (and incessant crying) period is short lived. You will be your child’s mother for the rest of your life and will have many opportunities to experience moments that will deepen your relationship with her. The bonding will happen just not in the fairy tale manner, but in the real relationships take work kind of manner. That’s reality and that’s ok. Best of luck and many blessings to you and your family.

  • Amy June 23, 2019 at 2:24 am

    Jean, as so many others have, I want to thank you for a candid post on such a sensitive and rare topic that many women avoid talking about. Though we are about the same age, I started having kids about 7 years earlier and back then, no one talked about PPD or any of the struggles immediately post-delivery. I felt completely blindsided by so many of the emotions you described and didn’t feel the fog lift until 6 months later. Thank you for rising above the norm and making other new moms aware of this, so that they too, can be encouraged and rise above it. Much ❤️ from a long-time follower.

  • Katrina July 15, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Thank you for your courage in writing this post, and for letting whomever finds your blog feel that they aren’t alone.

  • Karina July 25, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you for a much needed post about post partum depression. Your willingness to be completely honest and vulnerable with your readers is such a show of bravery. I am honored to hear your story and please know that by sharing you helped many others suffering alone.

    I love your blog and have been a follower for years! Keep up the good work!

    All the best to you and yours!!

  • Nancy huang September 28, 2019 at 12:13 am

    I read the I v f journey posts and find this very inspiring because of the joy of finding this little nook when I have all these stories from you and fellow commenters. I am inspired to start my take on listing my outfits and knowing that As a woman I can feel okay saying to others To not ask about when a couple will conceive and even things like marriage. Hope to see you around town.

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