Today I’m re-sharing my interview with the fabulous Katherine Stone, talking about postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness. This is an important one, and it’s definitely worth a listen – or, for that matter, a re-listen.
Seven years ago right now I had a two-and-a-half week old baby, and I was depressed. I cried for long periods of time, often for no specific reason. I was convinced that I was a terrible mother, and that I had made a terrible mistake. I did all of the things that I was supposed to do for my baby, but I really wasn’t myself, and I didn’t feel the way that I had expected to feel. To complicate matters, I didn’t really see my own depression for what it was. The people around me did – and I thank my lucky stars for that – but I wasn’t really able to acknowledge what was going on.
It’s taking all of my personal strength to not delete that paragraph, by the way. The shame surrounding depression is strong, and I think that when we’re talking about postpartum depression it only ups the ante. When you have a new baby, life is supposed to be blissful. You’re supposed to be overwhelmed with love, and just spend your days gazing at your new little bundle of joy in wonder. Only, it’s not like that for everyone. And it doesn’t make us bad mothers, it makes us human beings who are suffering from a disease that is categorically not our fault.
In my case, my depression was reasonably short-lived. By the time my baby was a couple of months old – and sleeping longer stretches at night – I was through the worst of it. I didn’t suffer in isolation for months, as some women do. My healthcare providers didn’t dismiss me, and no one suggested to me that I was in any way to blame, even if I sometimes felt that way myself. In many ways, I got off easy. All the same, I carry the weight of that time with me every day, and it colours my memory of my first child’s arrival in a profound way. I know that I am hardly alone, and I strongly believe that we need to fight the stigma of mental illness related to pregnancy and childbirth. So I decided to speak with Katherine Stone, Founder and Editor of Postpartum Progress, the most-widely read blog on postpartum depression and reproductive mental illness.
I heard Katherine speak at BlogHer, and I knew that she was passionate and committed to creating positive change. That passion came through during our conversation. She’s working hard to help mothers find the help they need, and to break down societal and cultural barriers to accessing that help. I find her inspiring, and I’m so glad that she’s created the resource that she has for mothers. I wish I had known about it myself as a new mom. Listen to what Katherine had to say about postpartum depression and other reproductive mental illnesses:
I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!