Postpartum depression is super-common. According to the American Psychological Association, 1 out of every 7 pregnant people will experience PPD. However, the condition remains highly stigmatized and misunderstood. But two viral Facebook posts are doing their part to change that.
Last month, mom Anneliese Lawton brought attention to the condition by sharing her postpartum depression story. Last week, mom Krysti Motter did the same.
Lawton, a mom of two, began her post by explaining how her children’s health became a priority after birth — but her own well-being? Well, no one really asked. In fact, Lawton felt like no one seemed to care.
“After my boys were born, there were appointments,” Lawton wrote. “To check their latch. To check their weight. To check their hearing. To check the color of their skin for signs of jaundice. There were appointments. There were regular pokes and prods. Their well-being was front and center… they were well taken care of. Then there was me. A first-time mom without a clue. Engorged, bleeding, and stitched up. Sent home with some painkillers and stool softeners. Thrown into motherhood with the expectation my instincts would kick in.”
“No one poked me,” Lawton went on. “No one prodded. No one checked my stitches, my healing, or my sanity until eight weeks postpartum. And even then, it was a pat on the back and I was sent on my way.”
And that, Lawton explained, is a huge problem. The lack of postpartum maternal care is dangerous, damaging and detrimental.
“Our world forgets about mothers. We slip through the cracks. We become background noise. And in that we learn our role… our place in our family unit… to always come last,” she wrote. But “mothers deserve attention… [w]e need to be seen. We need to be heard… [a]nd we need someone to make sure we’re ok, too.”
And Lawton’s right. Mothers need care too because, without it, they could end up very sick or — as Motter explained in her post two weeks later — dead.
“I get it,” Motter wrote. “I finally get it. You see moms committing suicide. And I couldn’t understand it. How do you leave your kids behind like that? [But] postpartum depression is what they call it. You don’t feel like the world would be better off without you, you feel like you’d be better off without this world.”
Motter then explained more of what PPD feels like before echoing the same sentiments shared in Lawton’s post, i.e., that new moms are ignored. That they are invisible.
“She told you,” Motter wrote. “It seemed small to you, you didn’t get it. Behind on life, can’t get anything done. Everything is expected of her and she’s drowning. She lost herself taking care of others. She’s told you, ‘I can’t today. I have too much to do… Stop saying you didn’t know. Because she told you.”
Of course, both Lawton and Motter’s posts force you to ask: How can you help? What can you do? And Motter offered a few suggestions. “Stop by and visit, let her take a shower, help her in some way so she feels like she’s not so behind. Like she’s not alone. Like she’s HUMAN.” According to Postpartum Progress, one of the greatest things you can do for her is to be there and listen. Just listen — so she can talk without shame, guilt, judgment or fear.
For more information about postpartum depression and/or other maternal mood disorders visit Postpartum Progress. You can also contact Postpartum Support International — 1-800-944-4773 — or text “START” to 741-741 to immediately speak to a trained counselor at Crisis Text Line.