Thursday, March 13, 2014

Reach out

The first question most people ask you when you're a new mom is, "How are you doing?" or "How are you feeling?" Braving a smile and downplaying my feelings got old for me real fast. Not only was it exhausting, but I began to feel like I was hiding something and that never feels good.

When I finally accepted I had postpartum anxiety, I knew it was time to open up and tell people what was going on. After all, I didn't want people thinking the zombie I had become - my ragged face, perpetually low mood, disheveled everything - was the "new me." I wanted people to know I wasn't myself anymore and I wasn't sure if I ever would be again.

I also wanted to tell people because I needed help. I don't know why it's so hard for new moms to ask for help. We want to show people we can do it on our own. I wanted to show people I could do it, that my colicky baby wasn't going to ruin me, and that I could handle being a mother. But the truth is, I couldn't handle it. Not even a little bit. Unfortunately, I waited for my worst days to reach out. I dug down deep, admitted defeat, and made those phone calls..."Please, please come help me with my baby. She's crying and won't stop. I didn't sleep last night and I don't have the strength to rock her all day."

After I got the help I needed, I began to tell more people about what was happening to me and then I witnessed something truly beautiful happen. I felt like a plant covered in two feet of snow, and with every new person I told, the snow melted a little bit more. I was coming alive again because I was embraced with love, support, and acceptance. Hope began to grow within me.

My family and friends hugged me, cried for me, apologized to me, offered up everything to me. And then, I met new people who cared for me.

On one of my worst days, my husband made a phone call to a colleague he hadn't spoken to in months. Our new baby came up in conversation and his colleague asked, "How is your wife doing?" My husband was a bit surprised by the question since it was months after her birth. He answered, "Well, the baby's been colicky and my wife isn't sleeping well." Without missing a beat, his colleague said, "My wife experienced postpartum depression with our first born and if your wife needs someone to talk to, please have her reach out to my wife." We met for coffee soon after and it felt so good to talk with someone who knew exactly what I was feeling without me having to explain.

I reached out, I decided not to suffer in silence, and it's changed my life. In the two weeks I've been blogging, I've met beautiful people who want nothing more than to support another mama. Because the truth is, we all know how hard it is.

No matter what ails you, postpartum depression, cancer, the loss of a loved one...reach out, reach out, reach out. Tell someone else what you're feeling. You might be surprised when the person you tell, hugs you, cries for you, or tells you, "I know exactly how you feel..."

My theme song these days is Sarah Bareilles', Brave. Here are a few lyrics to inspire you:

Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle 'neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes the shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

My mom and me. Best shoulder to cry on.


  1. So glad that you reached out to Alexandra. She is wonderful. I am so glad that you are reaching out and telling your story, Becky. You are changing lives and helping other moms.

    1. I hope I can help just as I've been helped.

  2. My mom was there for me, too, in a major way. Can't wait to meet you in person!

  3. lovely words! Sending you love Becky!! Auntie Anne

  4. Thanks for sharing your story :) I think it might just be time for me to reach out :)
    One particularly miserable day I told my best friend that if I was on my own I would have put my son up for adoption by now. The crying and lack of sleep, the hormones and constant lump in my throat, the feeling that I have made an awful mistake... But my family without anyone mentioning PPD is taking my son to let me sleep, and so supportive. I wondered for the last few weeks of this is PPD, but the lack of overwhelming love... The forced cheerfulness... The desire to get back to work as soon as possible (run away run away!!) it is all pointing in that direction. Having the other mums in the baby groups telling me how they can pump 9oz in 15 mins really doesn't help either!! I am battling on with the breastfeeding, I just don't want to feel any worse than I do already and at least that makes me feel like I am doing some of my duty. Don't get me wrong, I change him, walk him, hug him and kiss him, but the bond everyone talks about just hasn't got me.

    Anyway, thanks :) it's nice to know I am not alone and that 'this too will pass' :)

    1. Sinead - Thank you so much for your response. You can always email me too at I know what it's like to be confused by the feelings early on. But don't run from them. If you think you might have PPD schedule an appointment with your doctor and talk it over with him/her. If that person doesn't help, keep trying. I had to see several people before I got the help that I needed. You are such a good mom and the bonding will come, I promise. Take care of yourself.