Many women silently battle with postpartum depression, and this story should remind us that not every mother’s journey is joyful, happy and bright. Sometimes it gets dark, lonely, scary, miserable and uncertain.
In Montgomery, Alabama, lived Allison and Julie – neighbours, and lifelong friends. Allison and Julie were both Army wives, and when Julie moved in next door, Allison had set up a welcoming double date, it wasn’t long into their first dinner together that Julie knew she had hit the friend and neighbour jackpot.
At the time, both friends were expecting their first child, Allison was due first. The two pregnant ladies shared plenty of time together and enjoyed many similar experiences that year in Montgomery. They shared the experience of pregnancy, went for cupcake dates, walked the neighbourhood together, and took turns alternating as designated drivers so that their husbands could enjoy going out on the weekend for a few drinks.
Allison held a career in early childhood education and her love for the little ones was clear. Julie trust Allison’s baby sense., so she followed along, making the same decisions as Allison. She had joined the same OB group, purchased the same stroller, car seat, nursing tanks, and nipple shields. She was a friend, neighbour and mentor. Allison handled pregnancy and motherhood beautifully… On the outside.
However on the inside, less than 200 feet away from Julie, Allison was silently struggling with Postpartum Depression, and Julie had no idea.
After Allison’s daughter was born, Ainslee, Julie has asked her friend about her postpartum hormones. She recalls bluntly asking her “Do you feel crazy? Do you cry a lot?”. Julie wanted to know for herself what she might experience after giving birth to her own baby. Allison responded saying that she sometimes cries, but mostly happy tears about Ainslee gaining weight and developing the sweetest little chunky baby rolls, and what a good father her husband is.
Julie’s friend Allison lost her hidden battle with Postpartum depression on June 28th, 2016. On this day, she left behind a beautiful 4 and a half-month-old baby girl, a loving husband, and countless family and friends that adored her. In her suicide note to her family, she wrote: “I’m so sorry that I didn’t know how to describe this pain and seek help”.
Julie share’s her plea, that postpartum depression become de-stigmatized, other struggling mothers should not feel shame or guilt to ask for help. Sometimes this truth can be very hard to speak. But there is nothing to feel ashamed about when it comes to postpartum depression, this is an adjustment to a new way of life as a mother, and changing hormones can have some not-so-nice effects on the mind. No woman should have to bare the brutal weight of postpartum depression on their own.
Guilt is something that we self-impose and that society imposes on us. It can be overwhelming. It is often made to believe that motherhood is all rainbows and butterflies, and if it’s otherwise than we should feel ashamed. This should not be the case, help is out there in so many forms for mothers. Whether we seek help from loving friends, supportive partners, counsellors, online support groups, or support meetings.
If you’re currently experiencing some of these feelings yourself. You are not a bad mother! You can sort all this out, postpartum depression is twisting your memories and feelings, it’s lying to you, but it can stop. Just please seek help.
If you have a friend or family member who is currently in the 4th trimester (a new mama) always check in to make sure they’re ok. Remind these women that you are there for them no matter what. Ask them tough questions, and make them feel safe.
We should thank Julie for sharing her brave and heartbreaking story. Her hopes were that this could potentially save another life, and family. Please share this message.
Resources on Postpartum Depression:
Postpartum Progress: Tougher + Stronger http://www.postpartumprogress.com
Postpartum Support International
Twenty-four hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline:
New Mom Takes Her Own Life After Silent Battle With Postpartum Depression: Why All Of Us Must Share Her Friend’s Plea https://herviewfromhome.com/new-mom-takes-her-own-life-after-silent-battle-with-postpartum-depression-why-all-of-us-must-share-her-friends-plea/
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