I am Rebekah Shackney. I’m a wife, a psychotherapist and the mother of two. Seven years ago, as I waited for my son’s birth, visions of rocking my baby in the nursery wearing a beautiful nightgown with bluebirds singing at the window danced in my head. I heard from friends that new motherhood was difficult, but like many women before me I didn’t take the warnings seriously. How hard could it be to care for my beautiful baby boy?
Well, let me tell you it was harder than I ever could have imagined.
It was not just the sleep deprivation, the pain, the crying, the lack of free-time, etc. I felt completely alone even though my husband worked from home, and my next-door neighbor also had a newborn. I felt desperately insecure about my abilities as a mother. I worried constantly that every wrong decision I made would ruin him for life. I was miserable.
New motherhood was not the fairytale fantasy I had imagined. Instead of a beautiful nightgown I wore milk-stained t-shirts as I sat on the couch with my son on my lap, unable to move. I was paralyzed with sadness, resentment and guilt. I was suffering with post partum depression, and I did not realize it.
How does such a thing happen to a person who spends her professional life educating people about their mental illnesses? Depression is a covert illness that infiltrates the mind and body so gradually that the pain it causes feels normal. I thought it was normal for a new mother feel as bad as I did.
Thankfully, I was wrong. I got help and so can you. It wasn’t an instant cure. It was a long process that took time and effort, but I can still remember the enormous relief I felt the day I made the call. It was then that I realized I was not alone, and neither are you.
If you are struggling with postpartum depression, don’t wait for it to get better on its own…it won’t. Get help right away. You owe it to yourself and your family.