Postpartum Depression and the Judgment of Others

“Never judge a person by the chapter of their story you walked in on.” ~ unknown

I recently reconnected with an old friend. 

We used to “hang out” regularly at “Mommy and Me” programs when our kids were little. She opened up to me in our most recent conversation that she had suffered from Postpartum Depression (PPD). At the time I had no idea. She learned very early on how to mask it when in the presence of others as so many of us do when battling Depression. But our conversation quickly triggered many memories for me and it immediately brought me back to that time and place as I remembered how some of the other moms in our groups would gossip and judge her based on certain behaviours back then. 

Many new moms experience Postpartum “Baby Blues” (BB) shortly after giving birth which usually lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks after delivery. Typical symptoms may include anxiety, sadness, overwhelm, irritability and difficulty sleeping. It’s totally understandable though given both the physical and emotional changes our bodies have just been through. 

Page from my children’s book “Where Did Mommy’s Smile Go?”

Although PPD can sometimes be mistaken for the “Baby Blues” at first however unlike the BB’s, PPD doesn’t just disappear shortly following the first weeks of childbirth and will more than likely only intensify as time goes on, making it very difficult to tend to your baby’s needs or complete your daily tasks. Symptoms which may include thoughts of suicide can actually begin to escalate as early on as the pregnancy itself or anytime within the first year of your baby’s life. It is not uncommon for many new dads to also suffer from PPD as well and in some cases PPD can lead to Postpartum Psychosis in moms causing them very severe and dangerous symptoms of confusion, disorientation, obsessive thoughts, paranoia and attempts to harm their baby.

I never suffered from PPD, so I can’t talk of it on a personal level because as many of you already know from following my journey since its onset, my symptoms of Depression didn’t present themselves until I was in my early 40’s and my youngest of three children was eleven years old (she is turning 20 this coming Fall).

I’m grateful that my friend was able to seek proper treatment and find the help she so desperately needed at the time. I’m sad though when I look back now and remember how much others judged her, even going so far as to call her selfish for setting healthy boundaries for herself in order to do what was best for her and her babies…Selfcare is NOT selfish!

Although judgment is a natural instinct and sometimes we may not even realize we are doing it, we are all guilty of it at times whether it be by criticizing a stranger in the grocery store or gossiping about our best friend, either way, it was never okay to judge my friend’s choices or behaviours in the first place for things she could not control. Afterall, she was in survival mode. 

Onesie from my @agentlereminderproject

We all need to remember to take a step back before judging others and try and understand where another person may be coming from and it really goes to show you that you never know what goes on in someone else’s home, let alone their own head therefore we should never judge a book by its cover whether its innocent or not. Afterall, we are all just trying to do the best we can in the moment with the resources that we have. 

And a good lesson to keep in mind here as well is “judging someone does not define who they are; it defines who you are.” ~ unknown

#postpartumdepression #castingjudgmentonothers #babyblues #postpartumpsychosis #mentalhealth #mentalwellness #suicideprevention #suicideawareness #depression #gossip #youarenotalone #youareenough #startaconversation #itsoktonotbeok #choosekindness #wheredidmommyssmilego @agentlereminderproject

Author: Kim Fluxgold

Wife, mom of 3 beautiful children, dog lover, creative sole and children's book Author. Sharing my journey with depression and anxiety through blogging in hopes of educating and ending the stigma.

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