DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: All posts may contain affiliate links. These are kinda cool; they allow me to earn money for all of the time I put into this blog. So feel free to click and find something you'd like to check out! I do my best to make sure that each link is to something I support or personally use.The myths surrounding the experience of pregnancy and motherhood are rampant. Across television shows and movies we see mothers excited and giddy during pregnancy. Labors that are short and completed with a couple of pushes to birth baby, followed by blissful smiles while cuddling with baby for the first time. Family, friends and strangers, often with the best of intentions, offer advice, make cliche statements and ask questions – such as: “Isn’t motherhood the best? “You must feel so in love.” These sometimes-leaving new parents feeling guilty, confused and inadequate. There are so many unrealistic ideas of how new moms and dads “should” be feeling after having a baby. I, too, had these “ideas”. I thought breastfeeding would be easy and I would be head over heels in love with my daughters when they were born. This was not at all the case for me. After a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, I was unexpectedly induced with my first daughter. Labor was painful, difficult and lasted over thirty hours. Upon birth, we both had fevers, sending her to the NICU for a week. We were allowed to “cuddle” for a few moments after her birth and I had expected to feel more love inside me than I would know what to do with. Instead, I was scared, felt guilty and was flat out exhausted. We struggled greatly with breastfeeding in and out of the hospital. Motherhood was not at all how I pictured it. After months of almost daily crying, guilt and feeling inadequate, I eventually realized that I had postpartum depression and reached out for help. One of the most powerful things to help me in recovery was hearing other mom’s stories – from blogs, books and inside my support group. Each time I read or heard a story, I felt less alone. After knowing that the moms who authored these books and blogs felt better and were “their old selves again” I felt a glimmer of hope that one day, I too could be “okay again.” After hearing the story from a guest speaker and her mother at my support group, I made a promise to myself that when I was better, I would give back and volunteer for the Postpartum Resource Center of New York. My second pregnancy was similar – uneventful and healthy; and my youngest daughter’s birth was a breeze compared to the birth of her sister. I was far more prepared this time – I had resources to reach out to, we hired a postpartum doula and we were not afraid to ask for help this time. I greatly hoped I would escape the grips of a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder this time, but after a several months of sleep deprivation I began feeling incredibly anxious, angry and not like myself. Luckily, I reached out for help and recovered. Once I started to feel like myself again, I made good on the promise I made over a year prior. I contacted the Postpartum Resource Center and started to volunteer. I also began competing in the Mrs. New York America pageant to share my story and to raise awareness for postpartum depression and other PMADs. After sharing my story at support group meetings, trainings and on local television, I was encouraged to share my story further through writing my own book. I began writing my book, “Me, Again” last year and while in many ways, was not easy, it is finally complete and I am incredibly proud. While sharing such a personal story, thoughts and feelings was difficult, I hope that the readers of this book will find the same comfort and hope that I felt while reading and hearing others’ stories. I hope my story will help to “chip away” at the stigma surround maternal mental health and to let others know that they are not alone. If you are suffering from a PMAD (like prenatal or postpartum depression or anxiety) – you are not alone. You are not to blame. With help you will be well. In New York: www.postpartumny.org Outside of New York: www.postpartum.net “Me, Again: How Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Transformed My Life” now available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.
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