Suffering in Silence: Family shares story to help others with postpartum depression
Today during lunch with my 10 month old, she stretched out her arm and offered me a soggy Cheerio. I delightfully accepted her gift and pretended it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted! Pleased with my reaction, she giggled, revealing two little front teeth. My eyes welled up. It’s gut-wrenching to imagine I could have missed this moment.
We have the same name, we grew up in Virginia just an hour apart, were pregnant at the same age, and both first time moms to baby girls. On the outside we look very similar, in fact there’s an eerie resemblance. There’s actually no major difference between the two of us except one significant thing, I’m alive and she isn’t. Allison Goldstein, after silently suffering from postpartum depression, took her own life on June 28, 2016. Suffering in silence: family shares story to help others with postpartum depression
I have felt her pain, her shame and hopelessness. I don't know why I escaped from the hell we were both living in and she didn’t. One sleepless night when my daughter was 4 months old—the age Allison’s daughter, Ainsley was—I googled “new mom depression”. I believe this article saved my life: The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety. I learned I wasn’t different, that there was a clinical name for what I was feeling, and most importantly I wasn’t alone. The next day I was honest with my husband and began my path toward recovery.
If you’re suffering, I promise whatever you're feeling or thinking—no matter how twisted and crazy—is not only common, it's normal and completely treatable. The reason you don't feel like yourself is because you're not. You are not alone in this. This world is a better place with you in it, your baby needs you. If you're scared to talk to your family or doctor, then email me. I survived it and I'm here for you.
Postpartum depression affects 1 in 5 women during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. This cunning and scary illness tells a new mom terrible lies about herself and her life—that it will always be this way, and that there’s no way out; that her family is better off without her. Mothers of sweet babies are suffering and dying in silence. We have to start talking about this and de-stigmatize the shame that seems to be attached to the diagnosis. Postpartum depression has no red flags, hiding it is part of the disease. If you think you don't know anyone suffering, you're wrong. Share this with every new mom you know, even if you don't think you need to.
Love, Allison (firstname.lastname@example.org)