Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Today We Have Failed.

Today I am angry. Sad.

5 years ago I endured a mental struggle that no woman should ever have to live through. And trust me, I almost didn't.

During this 2-year battle for my sanity, my youngest sister was my shining light. She was 19 at the time, and wise far beyond her years. She saw my worst moments, and supported me through one of the ugliest parts of my life.

My little sister is now 24, married, and a mom of 2.

As hardworking as ever, she has juggled a toddler, a full time job, and as of 3 weeks ago; the birth of her new little girl.

But this time is different. 

Two days ago she was diagnosed as having postpartum anxiety.

She is struggling. 

I feared that one day another one of us would fall victim to this illness....but I had hope that if it did happen, we would be better prepared this time, right?

What better support system than one that has already dealt with the worst of the worst, right?

But we have failed her. 

And every day we continue to fail mothers by claiming to be supportive and understanding of postpartum mood disorders, but not walking the walk.

Today I am angry. Sad.

I am angry that my sister herself didn't allow herself to see the signs right away....I'm angry that she felt like she couldn't speak up because she has "2 under 2" and these must be "normal" feelings.

I am angry that those around her have told her that all new moms feel this way.

I am angry that a joke was made about her being a "psycho" for her high Beck Depression Inventory score.

I am angry that her family doctor (who was also mine during my depression) prescribed her an antidepressant that is known to INCREASE anxiety, and told her she would feel better in 2-3 days.

I am angry that healthcare providers claim to be on the watch for this, but don't look past their own noses half the time.

I am angry that I didn't know. 

And I am sad for her.
Sad because I know how this feels....our struggles may look different on the outside, but at the core, I know how this feels.

My faith in our advances in mental health awareness has been shaken; If we cannot recognize and support postpartum mood disorders even after having lived through it once.....then how can I expect others to do the same without any experience?

If postpartum anxiety can mask itself and pull the wool over our eyes, how do I expect anyone else to not be blind to it?

And to Kristin - I am sorry for our ignorance. I will not tolerate it and neither should you.
You will not be cured by a good sleep or a babysitter for the kids.
You will not be calmed by the assurance that you are an amazing mom.
You will not feel better after 2-3 days on an antidepressant.

But you WILL get better.
Your brain IS experiencing some ungodly imbalance that is creating irrational thoughts. With proper treatment, and time, you will get better.

In the meantime, a good sleep or a break from the kids may help you get through your days, but we will not be fooled any longer into thinking these will make you better.

We know better now.

Or at least we should.

We all should.


  1. this is a great post. I suffered through this. Everyone kept saying this is normal. My anxiety got so bad could barely sleep. my rage towards my husband increased daily. and I cried every morning in the shower so the kids wouldn't see. I really hope your sister does know there are alot of us out there. It does take time to get better. But IT WILL . much love and support xo

  2. Hugs Amanda!!! I too suffered with anxiety and depression with my second, but my girls are adopted. So even not having given birth, I suffered post partum....YES!!! It is not selective....something happens to us women who I believe have the genetic makeup to become mentally unbalanced. Stress, lack of sleep, and raging hormones will do this to us. For me, my tipping point was when my youngest was about 4 months. Took me years to finally get the proper balance of medication before I finally felt better. My family doctor tried, but it wasn't until I was referred to a psychiatrist, that I finally felt somewhat normal. To this day I would say I am still not entirely myself, which still makes me very sad, but I can cope! Your sister is not alone, and the more we talk about it, the less of a stigma will be attached to mental illness. So many suffer in silence. My oldest sister is currently going through Electric Shock Therapy as a last resort :( My family is in Kitchener, and it's killing me not to be there for her. She has had at least three treatments already, and still feels like she is in a dark cloud. I'll pray for your sister Amanda, as I continue to pray for my own. Thanks for sharing xo

  3. Thank you Mary for sharing, and I am so sorry you know this kind of struggle full well. Post adoption depression is very common as well, something more people also need to be aware of!
    Electric shock treatments are pretty horrific in my opinion.... I had 12 of them and it stole my memory for a very long time. Prayers go out to your sister and that it will help her..... It did actually help me, but the side effects were not pleasant.
    Thanks again for sharing