I love Pinterest—it’s 2017, who doesn’t? One of my favorite things about it, though, is that sweet little button that says “secret.” You can make all sorts of secret boards without anyone else seeing your crazy.
Back when Pinterest and I were both still young, I pinned photo after photo of clever favor ideas, elegant invitations, and enormous tulle wedding gowns. When The Engineer proposed, I excitedly made my “Someday” board public.
And made a new secret board, entitled “Our New Someday.”
Can you guess what was pinned there? Adorable nursery photos, breastfeeding infographics, and proven sleep schedules (ha!). Articles about budgeting for baby, preparing your marriage, taking supplements.
I was just preparing. I’m forward thinking like that.
Eventually that board also went public and I continued to “prepare.” Registry must-haves, hospital packing lists, introducing your baby to the cat. Every so often, a pin about postpartum depression showed up. I kept scrolling, because what did that have to do with me? I was finally going to become a mom, I wasn’t going to have that.
Except I did. And the warning signs showed up about two minutes after the double lines on the pregnancy test did. Only I didn’t realize it. For over a year.
I wasn’t going to have that, because how could I? I didn’t have a history of depression. My pregnancy was planned, my husband supportive, our families excited and involved. Very involved. All I had ever wanted was to become a mom. I never wanted to experience postpartum depression. Or any kind of depression. Who does?
Except I did. And it took so, so long for me to realize what was wrong. That something was wrong—it wasn’t just me, it wasn’t just my version of motherhood.
Something else was going on.
I had been Little Darcy’s mother for nine long, painful months before I even considered that I might have postpartum depression. That what I was experiencing wasn’t normal. He was ten months old when I was officially diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety. We celebrated his first birthday before I celebrated becoming myself again. I’m still grieving LD’s first year, my first as a mother. We both missed so much, so much that I sometimes get wrapped up in anger. Anger at myself for not searching for answers sooner, anger towards my loved ones for not realizing something was wrong and telling me, anger at society for perpetuating so much misunderstanding about PPD.
At least anger is inspiring.
What changed everything for me (and those suffering alongside me) was a chance text. My friend Katie sent me a link to Chrissy Teigen’s Glamour article “Chrissy Teigen Opens Up for the First Time About Her Postpartum Depression.”
Katie simply said “This is interesting.”
I didn’t bother to read it. Still.
I didn’t know who Chrissy Teigen was, apart from seeing her on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians. And I wasn’t interested in PPD.
A week later, I went to send Katie an adorable photo of Little Darcy wearing bunny ears and realized I hadn’t replied to her text. So I clicked the link with the intention of quickly skimming the article so I could respond with something quasi-informed.
Instead I read it three times, and I cried for only the third time since LD had been born.
Because this was me. This was my motherhood, my struggle. The lack of energy, the impatience, the prickliness. The excessive sleeping, the lack of appetite and weight loss, the numbness. The constant shifting of blame to other factors for why this was so hard.
My motherhood didn’t have to feel this way. That realization changed everything.
So thank you, Chrissy Teigen. I still don’t really know who you are in the celebrity world (but I did start following you on Instagram-you have the most beautiful family!). To me, you’ll always be the brave, strong mama who wasn’t afraid to share her story if it could help others. The brave, strong mama who saved my motherhood and inspires me to do whatever I can to help other mamas who are struggling more than they need to.
It’s time to make my secret PPD board, “Ugly Honest,” public.
Click here to read my next post, “Denial, Monica Style.”