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. Anonymous wrote:

    It’s not the same, but I had to take care of my sick father who needed round-the-clock care starting a few years ago. It took a toll on me, mentally and physically, and I’m your age. He entered the hospital and was belligerent with me and everyone else due to dementia, so it was like dealing with a grown man-child who wouldn’t listen. It seems to fall to you, the care-taker, (especially if you’re Asian and female) to DO EVERYTHING… and *THAT* is actually impossible. Nothing prepares you for when you need to take care of someone around-the-clock unless you are in the medical profession (and even then!). I had to learn that the best way to take care of someone (helpless baby or belligerent grown adult!) was to take care of yourself first. So go be “selfish” (it really isn’t selfish if it helps your sanity!) and spend some time outside, go out for “girls night” or “haven’t seen you in ages! night”, try to ease back into the activities that you were interested in before this life-changing event happened, have some fun, and most importantly, ENJOY having that fun.

    Also, people are stupid; your baby is cute as hell! Sorry she’s got eczema, but if it helps any, I outgrew mine by the time I was 12 or 13! (Just in time for puberty to start! Lol) Good luck, lady and baby!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  2. Thatiany wrote:

    I am so sorry you experienced your first few months of motherhood this way. I did not have PPD , but I definitely had long nights with some tears shed because I felt like I was failing as a mom or as a wife. But what makes me most sad is the fact that other women or other moms were sending you hateful and nasty messages. That is one reason I hate social media. Since people don’t see all of you, they think they have the right to judge the little they do see. I hope you’re doing much better. Praying that you as a mom find peace and comfort in knowing that how you’re handling life as a mom currently is the best you can do. Keep working on you! And I’m sure Nori will grow up to be appreciative of all you are doing for her. You making sure you’re ok and stable to take care of her is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Thank you for sharing your journey. It’s definitly not easy for us moms. ♥️

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  3. Becky wrote:

    I’m 15, 17, and 19 years post-partum (:D), but appreciate your honesty. I just told my husband the other day that I am so thankful I didn’t have my babies during the age of social media. It would be SO hard not to do the comparison game with these women on social media that seem to bounce right back and look beautiful doing it! I was still sitting on a donut, barely showered, and struggling with breastfeeding for weeks! Your vulnerability is so refreshing in a world of perfection. Blessings to you and your family!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  4. Kristine wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    Long time reader but first time commenter here. First- you, Nori, and Nick make the most beautiful family, and I wish you all the best.
    I’m sorry that there are people who have been unkind; I’d like to think that for each mean spirited person, there are many more compassionate people who appreciate your authenticity, honesty, courage, and beauty. Letting the “meanness “ roll off you is easier said than done. But I think the same quality that makes you vulnerable to the stings of judgement are the same qualities that make you sensitive and empathic towards others. So, I hope little Nori learns the art of resilience from you 🙂 I believe it’s one of the most important qualities we can teach our children.
    Thank you for sharing your story. <3

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  5. Y.A. wrote:

    I’m not a mother but I can image how difficult this must have been to write. I was on birth control for several years not realizing that it was giving me cycles of pretty intense depression. It was only when I went off of it that I realized how different my mood was. But at the time, it was so hard to see. It’s so easy to accept as the norm. Thanks for sharing your story so that others can find strength and hope.

    On a side note… people create multiple accounts just to be mean to someone on social media?? Geeze, if I had that much time on my hands I could take over the world… Sometimes I think about sharing more of my interests on Instagram but I don’t think I could handle the senseless cruelty that’s out there. Thank you for pushing past the meanies to share your life with us.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  6. Cassi wrote:

    Just want to send some encouragement your way! I had my daughter a few months before you had Nori and have loved following along with your motherhood journey! You are so genuine, have TONS of great baby ideas and I love checking in on your sweet family! I’m so sorry people have been so unkind during this time and I want to show my support! And thank you for being so vulnerable with this post! I didn’t realize I was struggling until I was out of the “fog” either and it’s so helpful to find community in people who are going through the same things. All the best to you and your gorgeous family!!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  7. Ann wrote:

    I’ve never commented on any blogs before, but ever since your post on your infertility journey, I’ve had the urge to write you. To say thank you for being so honest and putting yourself out there. It’s not easy talking about these issues, especially so openly on social media where most people create false idealism of the perfect self image.

    I started following you when I was working as a young lawyer around the same time you began writing this blog. After a few years I got married and actually moved to Boston with my husband. (As a foodie, I loved your restaurant recommendations even more than your fashion posts, haha). I was going through infertility issues the same time you opened up about your struggles and it was very encouraging. I now have a 5 (almost 6) months little boy! I saw you with Nori and Nick a few times and wanted to tell you that I really appreciate your willingness to share, but always decided against it because I didn’t wanted to bother you.

    After quitting my job to move to Boston, I’m now a stay at home mom, and I know how difficult it can be taking care of a baby full time. All my family is back in Taiwan, so I also understand how isolating and hard it can be without nearby support. Being a first time mom, I’m also struggling with the mom shaming issue and often feel judged that I’m inadequate at taking care of my own child. It’s something I’m still learning to cope with. I’m glad you are better and have the support you need. It’s not easy to share your life struggles, especially when it may probably bring new waves of hatred comments, but please know that your openness to discuss these issues are so important and helpful. Thank you for being so strong!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  8. M in Tokyo wrote:

    Thank you so much for your honesty. I think we all feel under pressure to gush about how wonderful motherhood is when the reality is that it is very difficult. Of course we love our babies but becoming a new mother is a huge shock to the system. I was fortunate enough not to have suffered from PND but looking back, I wasn’t as happy as I felt I should have been. My first baby was what you might call “high needs” (couldn’t put her down for a second, would cry all night, etc) and I remember sobbing in the shower one morning saying “what have I done? My life is over! “. Living thousands of miles away from my family and friends made it so much harder. I am fortunate that my husband works from home and so was able to give me the support that I needed.

    I’m so sorry you suffered from such appalling online bullying. You are doing a wonderful job and your daughter is absolutely beautiful.

    Let me know if you are ever in Tokyo – our babies can play together ^_^

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  9. Blaire wrote:

    This is so well written Jane. You capture the raw truth of PPD. Sharing your story is beautiful and brave. Being a mother is so hard. You are not alone in your struggles. I also suffered greatly from PPD. I love my son but found myself wanting to run away when he was a baby. I felt inadequate and thought my son needed better care than I could provide in my broken and exhausted state. He needed medical care as a newborn and I developed an extreme paranoia to keep him healthy. I wanted a child so much so it felt selfish to share my true feelings of anxiety and depression. But I needed help. I finally broke down after almost a year and accepted the help I needed. I thought asking for help was a sign of weakness but it was actually my greatest strength.

    Hindsight 7 years later let’s me appreciate that I was and still am an amazing mom. I have found peace in parenting. Time and self-grace helped me cope. I needed medication to balance. Talking about PPD openly is important to healing. I agree with the points you addressed. I also highly recommend date nights to reconnect with your husband and for you both to take mental breaks from parenting. My best friend watched my son overnight so we could sleep. It is amazing how much you can accomplish with a little more rest.

    I wanted to write you and say thank you for sharing your story. You’ve got this mamma! Take a deep breath and know that motherhood evolves. Your daughter is precious and lucky to have you.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  10. Carole wrote:

    Yes, girl, thanks for sharing your story! PPD/PPA/PND are not talked about enough. I definitely had PPD (especially aggravated by breastfeeding issues and my baby not gaining as much as the ped wanted). Being a mama is so freaking hard, and it’s not all rainbows and unicorns for all of us. Anyway, I LOVE being my girl’s mama, but oh my goodness, the worries and anxieties sometimes left me unable to function. Now I’m preggo with my second, have prenatal depression, and this time I’m taking care of myself! So glad you’re feeling better now, too. You are a superhero to that baby girl and to the world of mamas!!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  11. Bo Bae wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’ve enjoyed all of your postings of Nori from IVF to her most recent post. It’s such a shame that women can’t support and help other women. That’s for sharing your IVF story. It is such a hard journey to go through. I thank you for sharing your stories for other mothers .
    I had PPD when I had a micropreemie, but just got through it by will due to circumstance. This time around I had severe post parting rage. I have been on antidepressants, even though I had some reservations, but they have helped tremendously.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  12. Winn wrote:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this. Your words are empowering and I have been wondering about how you and your family have been doing after following and hearing bits of your challenges to conceive and actually raise your child. I have always wondered about child birth because instagram and model sized celebrities make it seem like a breeze. I had no idea it would take this kind of toll on your body, mind, and mental health and deeply appreciate the journey you are on and sharing it with us. Your experience is valid and you are an incredibly strong and amazing mother. Your child is extremely lucky to have you even though she won’t realize it or think about it until she is much, much older.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  13. HH wrote:

    Sending you a virtual hug and a verbal smackdown to those people who harassed you, and continue to do so. I’m so sorry that you experienced that. Nori, you, and Nick seem so lovely and as a fellow new mom who went through IVF, your posts have really hit home. Thank you for sharing about PPD and for offering a very sane take on it.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  14. Alice wrote:

    You are amazing. You are an amazing mom. Nori is perfect. And your bond is perfect. Just the way you both are. Please do not let anyone make you feel anything less!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  15. KV wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I myself also went through IVF and was lucky enough to conceived with twins. My twins also had to dealt with jaundice and had to admitted to NICU for the light treatment a day after they came home and immediately back at the hospital. They also had an issue with spitting up after feeding. It was quite a lot to dealt with now thinking back. My kids are now 11. Heavy and growing up too fast. I can still recall some of my struggles being a new mom and dealing with twins. I had the biggest fear to go anywhere by myself with the twins with the fear of not being able to provide care for both at the same time when they needed care. I eventually got over it and had to go back to work but yet I still had anxiety for a long time feeling guilty for not being home with them taking care of them instead having to send them to daycare. In any case, it is not easy but as you have called out having a support system and making time for take care of yourself is extremely important. I want to applaud you for sharing your difficult journey and dealing with PPD. Sending you love ang hugs! Stay strong and Nori is absolutely adorable!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  16. Carly wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this! You are an amazing mom! Your little girl is so adorable and a true little miracle. NEVER EVER let anyone on social media make you second guess that. We all experience motherhood differently. Our babies are different and we are different, so I don’t know why we expect our experiences to all be the same. I struggled a lot at first thinking every single decision I made for my daughter was going to have a monumental impact on her life, from daycare to diaper brands. She’s over 1 now and she’s had ice cream, french fries, and non-organic foods. I use the cheaper diapers instead of the fancy brands that I started with. I breastfed for 7 months instead of a year. She often goes outside without socks or a hat because she pulls them off in the car. I always remind myself that at the end of the day, if you love her and provide her with a supportive, happy home to grow up in, everything is going to be just fine. Once I started living without so much importance tied to every decision, life has been more enjoyable as a mom.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  17. Farrha Powell wrote:

    Thank you so much for this blog, I know this will help so many. Even after 15 year (yes my oldest is a teenager) still brings me back to those dark days of guilt and isolation. I didn’t understand why I wasn’t like my sisters who made it look easy or friends who multitasked with such ease. Simply put, I was a mess. I had an emergency c section and my son got an infection so he was in the NICU for a week. I was adamant I would breast feed him so I was woken up every 1.5 hours to be wheeled to feed him. I didn’t know how to ask for help because EVERYONE told me he must be breast fed. But in doing so, I neglected my own need for healing and rest. I went home in a fog and my husband (bless his soul) did his best to reassure me all would be okay. I cried constantly and was filled with crippling anxiety. This was nothing I ever experienced so it was hard to explain my emotions when they were foreign to me. I was so sleep deprived that I was a shell of a new mom feeling intense guilt about not bonding with my child. Breast feeding was not working and that made the cruel inner voice more apparent. Finally, my husband reached out to my parents and sister for an intervention. It was my life raft that I was so desperate to grab. They were all on rotation helping me get the rest, cooking, cleaning and all the things that felt too much. When my husband had to go back to work, I cried all day and so my parents had me to go their home the moment he left for work and when he got home, I would drive back. I did this until my baby was about 5 months old. Thank God for my family otherwise I would have drowned. I didn’t get PPD with my second child, but I was prepared if I did. My family and friends were helping and we hired a night nurse so I could get the rest. My goal was to be kind to myself so that I can be healthy and emotionally available. Thank you and I hope this email makes you feel less alone. xoxo

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  18. Sharon wrote:

    Thank you for sharing honestly your experience. I do agree that PPD isn’t talked about openly and there is still shame associated with it. I didn’t have PPD but I did have the blues where I cried for no reason and felt helpless when I had a hard time consoling my newborn baby. Thankfully I had help and that definitely helped me as a new mom. Being a new mom is REALLY hard. The baby doesn’t come with instructions and each baby is SO different. I hope others who read your post will be able to find the help they need.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  19. Christine wrote:

    Thank you for being so honest throughout your entire journey to motherhood! As a woman getting just barely ready to even start trying in a few months it helps so much to have a realistic view of what pregnancy and motherhood can be behind the photos. Bravo and keep the ‘you’ behind the awesome style coming!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  20. Jen wrote:

    Jean, thank you for posting this. It’s brave and necessary to eliminate shame around PPD, and because sharing is healing, and I hope for healing especially for you. I’m two weeks away from delivering my first baby (a daughter, too!) and I’ve been trying to be mindful that PPD can affect any one of us. My husband and I have had conversations about the possibility that it could afflict me, to notice signs if it does, and I’m hoping that my mom traveling to us for a few weeks will help (my family isn’t near either). Know that so many women, mothers or not, support you. Thank you again for this post.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  21. Leslie wrote:

    Thank you for being honest. We have been trying for 2 years now with little success. Last month, I had a positive test only to be a chemical pregnancy. Reading your posts have helped me a bit as I have had no reasons as to why we are not successful. We are ready to go IVF this summer. Reading your blog has given me some insight. With no history and no results, it is nice to have someone to talk to.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  22. Mary wrote:

    Thanks for your honesty and for being raw about your experience. Its so appreciated from a fellow mama. We need more bloggers like you who are truthful and vulnerable! Ps- this is my first time commenting on a blog post ever but have been following you for a couple years now. Pls always remember you are joy and light to many women including myself through social media!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  23. Kim McCue wrote:

    I feel you. I had a hard time conceiving and I also had a hard time dealing with early Motherhood, I didn’t feel like a natural.

    I wish Moms would do a better job at building up other moms rather than tearing them down.

    Thanks for sharing your story

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  24. Liz wrote:

    As someone who’s dealt with depression and wants kids in the future, PPD is something that I’m concerned about. Seeing women who have made it through helps me know that even if I do face it, I’ll be able to make it to the other side too. Thank you for sharing your story. Nori is so lucky to have you.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  25. Ellie Moutoudis wrote:

    I know exactly how you feel. My daughter had reflux as well and she barely slept. We finally got her on medicine at about 6 weeks, but at the point I was so sleep deprived and so agitated that I had started to disconnect from her. I felt like everywhere I went, even away from home I could hear her crying!! It was terrible. My husband was starting his own business at the time, so he took about a week off, and my mom was not able to help much because she was still working, so my support system was small . I had a great sister in law luckily who helped me, and would say to me that there was always light at the end of the tunnel, which of course I thought there would never be! Lol
    But I finally was able to see that I needed help.
    I did do therapy for a bit, but I felt as though therapy was time consuming and the therapist was always trying to dig up info from my past that I just felt like didn’t have anything to do with what I was experiencing.
    I did finally take medicine, which helped tremendously, but it took me a long time to be able to bond with my daughter.
    I just couldn’t breastfeed either because she was just always uncomfortable, so it was a struggle for me in that department as well.
    My daughter is 15 now,
    And I do still Feel guilty sometimes for how I was with her, but honestly Infants are tough, and acid reflux babies are tough, so don’t feel bad.
    Only you know what that’s like, luckily it’s just a small phase and they will grow out of it, but it’s a really scary feeling what you are going through.
    Hang in there, and always be honest with yourself and your husband.
    There is a light at the end of the tunnel!!!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  26. Mishelle wrote:

    What a brave post, thank you. I suffered postpartum depression for a very short time. I didn’t think it was very serious because it lasted for such a short time, but in hindsight it was the start of my long battle with depression and anxiety. I’d be fine for years and then depression would hit during stressful times in my life. The “episodes” got longer and longer and it became harder and harder to pull myself out of it. When it became impossible to hide (I was good at hiding it from everyone), I asked for help from my husband, sister and family. I recognized I was in a very dark place and was afraid of where my mind was going. I leaned most heavily on my husband. I felt so guilty and ashamed because I thought I was a terribly weak mom, and I was fearful about the stigma of mental illness. I finally went to a psychiatrist, went on medication and took a break from work. I’m now off of medication and in a good place. I can smile, think, make decisions, and look forward to the future. I learned I am most prone to depression when I am short on sleep. Exercise, meditation, yoga, getting outdoors in nature, good nutrition and most importantly sleep are helping me. Nori is a stunning baby, thank you for sharing her with us. I don’t know how you put yourself out there online. Be grateful for Nick (what a good guy!) and know that all the challenges you go through together make the good times that much sweeter! I wish you strength and good health!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  27. Angela C wrote:

    I’ve had 3 kids and experienced PPD when months later I didn’t know I had it. The signs were so obviously.! That baby book what you need to know about the 9 months of being pregnant… well I read that and when I got to the post partum page, I’m like “you gotta be stupid to not realize if you have these issues.” Well after my first born came, I would hold him and just cry. I told myself why is he here? I’m not worthy of being his mom. To top the cherry with PPD, my hubby was also in the military at this time so he was two weeks out to sea and back. I felt so alone, and I would cry when he wake up. I just thought if my baby could hush for an hour I would be okay.? I nursed him and my nipples cracked and bleed which made everything worse. When I wasn’t nursing him, I would feel bad because I had the most negative thoughts I could think of being his mom. I cried everyday, I kid you not. I would look at my son and tears will just flow. Then when my hubby was home, I’d stare at him and my baby and thought how lucky I was yet I was so sad. I cried being a mother and as a wife. Idk, PPD definitely took a toll on me but after a good 2 months I finally came to my senses. I slowly grew out of it but I still remember it so vividly! I’m so happy you shared with us because you definitely aren’t alone. <3 Hugs Jeanie!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  28. Anonymous wrote:

    Hi Jean. Thank you for sharing. I really think it will help others. I was in a similar situation as you – I’m a fellow Bostonian, IVF pregnancy and had what I realize now was probably undiagnosed PPD after my son was born. I’m also a physician, so you would think I would have been able to “see” it, but I couldn’t. My symptoms were more “lack of interest and hope.” I simply didn’t have anything to look forward to, even though I knew I was supposed to be happy because we tried so hard to have the baby. Having the baby in the dead of Boston winter didn’t help because it was so hard to get outside in the snow and slush.

    I think your suggestions were spot on. As new mothers, we need to ask for help, realize that PPD can present in many ways, and stop comparing ourselves to perfect Instagram mothers. If you can afford housecleaning and a night nanny, I strongly suggest it.

    I came out of the fog at about 4 months when I went back to work. Ironically, working made me feel like I had something to look forward to again. But now I try to tell anyone that asks how I was feeling. I think it helps others to feel that they aren’t alone if they feel this way.

    Best wishes.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  29. Nathalie wrote:

    Great post thank you for sharing your journey

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  30. Sara wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I also did ivf, and my baby was in the NICU for 5 weeks, and I felt so guilty for not bonding with him right away. I felt
    So much pressure to be HAPPY he was home, but I was drowning in my own anxiety. He also had reflux and cried so much that I heard “phantom crying” even when the house was silent. I was in an exhausted fog. Honestly, getting on anxiety medication and carving out exercise time for myself was all that helped. That, and time. My son is 2 now and that newborn fog seems like it was ages ago, but I’ll never forget it. We moms need to look out for each other.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  31. Kitty wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! And I’m so sorry to hear about the terrible comments. I think you, your blog and your little family are just lovely. 💕 💕 💕 Reading your posts is very much a bright spot in my day.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  32. Martha wrote:

    I have been a supporter of you and love your blog. You do such an amazing job for a needed niche. But, I can honestly say I love you more than ever for this post. I have four sons. They are getting older now, but the pain of PPD and PPA is so real to me as I contemplated things I never thought I would then. I would suggest looking into a postpartum Doula. They are expensive, but worth having some good support if you don’t have people around you.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  33. Carla Krae wrote:

    Family can drive us nuts at times, but this is why having a support system is so important. In the past when kids didn’t move far from parents, often with generations staying in the same neighborhood or town, new moms didn’t face so much pressure. Now in the modern world of spreading out + social media…. But at least info is readily available and doctors understand this is a real medical issue. Anyway, one of the best things a person can adopt in modern society is to stop caring what other people think and load up on f—it all. Pity the trolls. They’re deeply miserable people.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  34. Eunice wrote:

    Thank you for sharing! It’s not always easy to talk about something that “should” feel so natural to us and when it doesn’t… well can just make you feel helpless. I too had postpartum! I remember before I had my son all I wanted was to have him and hold him. I was put on bed rest at 5 months pregnant bc I was diagnosed with a incompetent cervix and could have a preterm birth. I cried and prayed he would be ok and come full term. Thankfully he did and I was over the moon when I made it to my 39th week. I thought this is it what I’ve wanted for so long! Then I held him and expected to feel this instant connection and pure happiness but I didnt.. I thought it will happen give it a few days but it didn’t! It didn’t happen for a long time. I remember not even wanting to hold him! I would even be mad at my mother for holding him too much and would start crying hysterically at nothing.. I had no connection to my son and felt so guilty and none of my friends could relate. Finally after I got my first period I started to feel different. I wanted to hold him more and felt less helpless but the guilt still lingured and I still feel it today! My son is 17 months and I’m expecting number 2! I don’t know if its PTSD but I’m having these negative feelings start creep back into my mind about this lil guy growing inside of me. I knew I had to do something about my feelings and started to talk to someone about my fears of feeling the way I did with my son. I am open to taking an antidepressant after I have number 2. Our bodies go through so many ups and downs when having babies. There is not a day that goes by I don’t think about the first 3 months of my sons life and how I wish I felt differently but life is not perfect BUT that’s what makes us human the imperfections..

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  35. Ale wrote:

    Hi, I can relate cause I got depressed under different circumstances last year. I was so afraid to admit it and so embarrassed to even tell my mother. I looked for help (therapy), and it helped me to get out of it. I am feeling like myself again. I hope your are now on the other side. I am also a Mom and during my depression episode it was hard to take care of my kids, the desire to isolate myself…. it seemed like required a monumental effort of my part to engage into playing and other kids activities, crying was constantly and the guilt of feeling like a bad mom… but I got better. I hope u r out of it too.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Christina wrote:

      You are amazing. I want to leave a comment to try to off set all the negative comments. I work with mom’s with PP depression and it is heartbreaking. I really appreciated your perspective and introspection with this post. Keep plugging along, you’ll make it to the other side. There will be some hard days but there will be more and more bright days. Nori will learn strength, love and beauty from all your experiences. You’re the best mama for her; you’re irreplaceable. From one extrapetite mama to another.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  36. Linda wrote:

    Thank you so much Jean for this, not only did you create awareness about how our bodies are postpartum but you’ve literally taken the words out of my mouth (well mind because we don’t talk about it!)

    I’m 4 months postpartum and had suffered PND whilst pregnant and now going through PPD. As a first time mum its been real tough and I’ve been struggling so hard from the labour trauma to not bonding with my baby girl. Trauma has been so bad that my anxiety is through the roof when anyone goes near down there. I have been heavily reliant on my husband for support but sometimes we need it from other mums.

    I’ve also learnt that the power of social media and being online reading other people’s stories or people you least expect will reach out to pull you out of your darkness. We’ve all been there, nursing baby middle of the night on our phones about to throw in the towel and send out ‘help signals’ but one message, one heart emoji from another mum/woman/friend is all what it takes to keep us going.

    I’ve bookmarked your blog, this post especially to read again and again, we’re doing an amazing job as new mums. Jean no doubt you are an amazing mother, it’s hard to filter all the negative comments/messages but at the end of the day it’s about you, Nori and Nick, one beautiful little family that you’ve created and you should be oh so proud, Nori is beautiful x

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  37. Stephanie wrote:

    I’m fairly new to your blog. You have been through so much and are so brave to share all of your experiences. I too went through IVF and then dealt with PPA. Time helps, but also bring open and honest can help to relieve the pressure and anxiety you feel. You are strong – thank you for speaking out and sharing your story about such important topics.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  38. Leslie wrote:

    I want you to know that I looked forward to your posts about you and your experiences with giving birth and now caring for your baby. I have a 3.5 month old baby girl who was born at 32 weeks. She was in the NICU for 3 weeks. It was a difficult time and I naturally blamed myself for not being able to carry her full term. Thank you for your stories. Thank you for sharing. Seeing you go through it helped me deal with the daily ups and downs from the body changes to all the feels. From one mama to another, you are doing amazing. You are one bad ass mama and don’t you forget it! – all the love!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  39. Emily wrote:

    Thank you Jean. It’s really not easy (first time mom myself to an 11month old). I think you’re incredible for being able to balance first time mom responsibilities while trying to keep your readers happy. Thank you for always being honest. I’m sorry for all the negative comments you’ve received. I know how much little things can hurt. From what people thoughtlessly say.. to seeing your baby in the hospital for the first time when they’re so little.. it’s heartbreaking. My baby also had jaundice and had to spend time at the NICU during his first week. I also didn’t feel any strong immediate bond. But through all my tears, I realized how much love I have for this little person. I would take all his pain and more. Nori is yours and you are hers forever. She is beautiful and you are beautiful. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Jen wrote:

      As a first time mom to a 3 week old, thank you so much for writing this and your courage and honesty in everything else. Everyone tells you how hard it will be (and to date this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, labor included!), but you don’t understand that sentiment until you’re in it. I was the same way about the formula even though I knew “fed is best”. Thank you for uplifting your fellow moms and women. I wish everyone would extend you the same courtesy. Love to you and your family ❤️

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  40. Dahlia wrote:

    Thank you for sharing and kudos for having the courage to talk about it. It’s so very important to be able to talk about what you’re going through in the early stages. I had the baby blues the first 2-3 weeks and would not wish those awful feelings on ANYONE. I was crying nonstop because my daughter also had jaundice, my milk hadn’t come in yet, and we had to supplement with formula, and I was constantly fighting with my husband because he didn’t understand what was going on with me.

    I was doing too much: pumping, breastfeeding, formula feeding. I was never sure how long she should nurse or how much formula to give in the beginning. In the end, I had to decide what I wanted to do, and I chose to exclusively pump (and still do, 7 months on) for my baby because nursing was too painful and stressful.

    It wasn’t until my mother finally visited and did an intervention, that I had recognized that something was wrong and sought a mental health worker to talk about what was going on. It felt SO good to talk to someone who simply listened and empathized and felt like I finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel. We only did 3 sessions total, once a week, and by the last session everything was going much more smoothly as I got the hang of things.

    It’s so very important to have a support system, as I don’t have any family that live in my city either. But I was able to push through, and I only needed to hear this: Because you care so much of making other people happy, including your baby, it means you’re a good mom. I was trying my best, despite being new, and I’ve read countless articles and instagram posts saying the same thing: you’re doing great, mom. Don’t let the posts of other moms be your goals. Inspired? Maybe. But take care of you too. Carve out time for yourself (not as mommy or wife). You’re brave for sharing so much of your life online, and even more courageous to fight through the negativity that comes with it. Hang in there momma, you’re doing a fantastic job!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  41. nat wrote:

    So sorry to hear that there are so many unkind comments there to attack you and your baby and to know that you’ve to endure all that. really sad for me to hear. :'( I have followed your blog for a long time and I’ve really appreciated all your honest and brave sharing. Best of luck in your journey in motherhood. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  42. Mallory Winter wrote:

    Thank you Jean for sharing your story. We are ALL doing GREAT every day, just as long as our babies are loved <3 I had a baby boy 3 weeks after Nori was born, and even found myself comparing my experience to yours and other new moms on instagram (Are their babies growing faster than mine, does it look like they are doing a better job at nursing than I am, are their babies sleeping through the night, do their babies seem to be developing more quickly cognitively).. The comparison game is such a dangerous one. This post is one of my favorite yet <3

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  43. Sara wrote:

    Love this! It’s beyond true. Thank you! I love reading your journey, I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and reading your posts that are so real and helpful. Best to you and your beautiful family. Appreciate you!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  44. Candice wrote:

    Jean, thank you so much for sharing this. I am a first time mom with a 9 day old baby. I can relate to so many of your challenges. Just today I cried my eyes out because we are supplementing with formula. I am fortunate in so many ways with a great support system, including paid time off for my husband, which is rare. I feel guilty for feeling depressed, anxious, or when I just need a break from the near constant demands of a newborn because I’m so fortunate. I’m so sorry you experienced mom shaming and down right harassment. People can be so horrible, especially when hiding behind social media accounts. Nori is absolute GORGEOUS, and I’m glad you’ve come out the other side of PPD. It’s so good to just hear from other moms about their experience.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • HH wrote:

      Hi! Fellow new mom here and we had to start supplementing with formula around 4 or 5 weeks and continue to do mixed feeding. I cried, too, and it’s a terrible feeling when you can’t feed your baby the way you hoped you would, but it gets better. Sending good mom juju to you.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  45. Sarah wrote:

    Hi Jean! I’m a fellow Bostonian who loves your blog (even though I’m not particularly petite), and I loved this post too. Thanks for sharing your blog, your story, and the beautiful pics of your daughter and family. 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Benita wrote:

      Thanks for sharing Jean! (: I was in a similar boat to a lot of things you mentioned (baby had jaundice, had to supplement – HUGE struggle to be breastfeeding only now, experienced lots of highs and lows) and I am glad you are sharing this to bring to light this important issue! By not concealing it, you are giving a more rounded picture of motherhood in social media, which is often lacking, like you mentioned! Way to go Jean!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  46. Irene wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this! I too had PPD and only got help when another mom who’d beren through the same talked to me about it (she recognized the signs in me.) So I know firsthand that speaking out about can definitely help others.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  47. ls wrote:

    THANK YOU so much for sharing your story. Being a strong mother doesn’t mean being perfect. You can’t grow strong without being faced with difficult challenges, and every mother faces a completely unique set of challenges. Keep growing and keep sharing! 🙂

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Katherine wrote:

      Thanks for sharing this honest post! I’m sure it will help everyone understand the struggles of a new mum and that its not all rainbows and butterflies

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  48. Mary wrote:

    Thank you, Jean!

    I started following you because of fashion but greatly appreciate your personal stories because I have been struggling to balance an invisible chronic illness, fertility, marriage, and career (and people have made verbal attacks about my ability to be a mother, marriage and career).

    Thank you so much for sharing your struggles and experiences with fertility, being a mother, and postpartum depression. Thank you also for speaking up about mental health.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Jamie wrote:

      I had a baby a few months before you had Nori! I had a hard pregnancy (threw up daily for 9 months). I have absolutely loved watching your journey from the beginning of IVF to all of your post baby posts! You always show the real side of things, not just the pretty instaphoto and that helped me so much when I was trying to keep it all together! Although I didn’t experience the fog of PPD, I can relate to all of the struggles you talked about as a new mom, I had a colicky baby for 3months. It is intense and all at once, nothing prepares you. My baby is turning a year next month and I still can’t believe I survived it, no joke! Don’t listen to those trolls and mom shamers. You are doing a great job and your baby is beautiful!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Erin A. wrote:

      So sorry to hear all you’ve been through but always incredibly proud of you that you share your life with us – but both the good and the bad too. It’s so refreshing to know both sides, honestly. I know it’s so easy to focus on the negative things people say but you have a lovely little family.

      Did you do the traditional Chinese sit-month? Or were you encouraged to do so by your parents or your in-laws? Curious about that because a lot of your coping strategies for PPD goes against the traditional Chinese sit month “rules,” like not leaving the home for a whole month… You’re also not allowed to do a lot of things, like not washing your hair, no strenuous activities, etc.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  49. Kristin wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I went through PPD myself and at the time felt like I was the only one among my friends who recently gave birth to suffer from it, only to find out that many of them were going through the same thing, but were afraid to admit it. I actually suspect that more women than not go through it and I hope the more people who are open about it, like yourself, the less shameful it will be for others. Bravo for putting yourself out there!

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • El wrote:

      You are so so brave to post this and I am so incredibly grateful you did. I had both ppd and ppa after having my son. I tried therapy for a few months, then had to add medication as well. I was in a similar fog you described and having never suffered from any mental health issues prior, I think I also was in a bit of denial at first too. I used to say to my husband, “I miss me”. Then I’d feel guilty for thinking of myself. My son is 9 months old now..happy and healthy as well as his mama. Things that have helped me in addition to therapy/medication…Joining mom groups, forcing myself to leave the house once a day, exercising during his naps or early in the morning, savouring the small things knowing he won’t be little forever, and being honest and patient with myself. At the end of everyday, I make sure to remind myself that I’ve done my best and that my best is enough.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Jillian wrote:

      Thank you for being so open and honest about your experience. I recently had a baby and can relate so much to what you talked about, it is refreshing to know that we’re not alone. I found getting out of the house and talking to fellow moms was so helpful. Morherhood is no joke, thank you for sharing, momma!

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • Ashleigh Rudkin wrote:

      Thank you for sharing! I felt all of these things too. I didn’t get out as much as I should’ve, I pretended I was okay with other people, I tried to look brave at my 6 week post partum appointment. I had crazy anxiety spells which didn’t make any sense looking back. It was all there. Mine also went away at 3 months post partum too. Crazy how it happened that way. But I still struggle with comparison to other moms. It was so hard with the depression, and then I had a stroke at 2 months pp, and wasn’t allowed to Breast feed anymore. It is hard daily but we are walking through it. My daughter is now 9 months old and we are both doing well! I hope you and Nori are doing well now too.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
    • J wrote:

      I’m going to be honest I rolled my eyes in the beginning thinking ok this is another article about ppd but it was an absolute honest experience. I greatly appreciate the read. With my first I felt exactly the same about the connection, and the feeling adequate , and the mom shaming or even opinions that I saw more ate criticism. The sleep deprivation is just incredible and I think anything can drive you insane at that point. My second is an angel and it’s hurtful to say but it makes loving her so much easier. My first grew out of it so it too shall pass is 💯 correct. But I always loved and love him with all my heart. I was once told that babies are really good babies when their parents love them unconditionally-because I opened up about my son having a lot of energy and being a handful. People suck because it’s completely NORMAL! We are raising human beings who need to be taught how to be civilized independent and loving individuals. THAT IS THE HARDEST THING TO DO IN ALL OF LIFE.

      Posted 3.18.19 Reply
  50. Mel wrote:

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story. I’ve followed your blog for a while and this is the first time I’m commenting because I feel truly connected to your words here, even though I’m not a mom. Sometimes we forget that people online are also people in real life and I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with harassment like that. You have a strong community here, and we support you (even if it’s from far away). Thank you for speaking up about mental health. As someone who works in mental health, I know how shameful and isolating these experiences can feel. The more we talk about it, the more we expose the darkness to light and allow healing.

    Posted 3.18.19 Reply

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