Mom's Powerful Post About ‘Showing Up’ Through Postpartum Depression Gives An Honest Look At The Disease

"No, it’s not fair that you have to work at what’s supposed to come naturally, but in life the only thing that’s promised is work."

Mom and blogger Bunmi Laditan, the writer behind Honest Toddler, got real about postpartum depression and her words are resonating with readers everywhere. Postpartum depression affects approximately 600,000 new moms in the United States every year. The symptoms can vary from person to person, but the mood disorder occurs after childbirth and can be characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, fear, guilt, anger, and even resentment toward the new baby.

On her Facebook page, Laditan opened up about having postpartum depression after her third child was born. 

"With my first two, I felt that magical insta-connection. You know what I'm talking about. That mama-bear-I will-kill-a-mofo-who-touches-this-stroller-primal-let-me-drink-in-your-euphoric-scent-Jacob-imprints-on-Renesmee-you-are-in-my-bones-realness," she wrote. "But when I came home with my little cub, while he was cute as a button, I knew something was missing." 

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She felt disconnected from her newborn son. 

"He didn't feel like mine. I felt like I was taking care of someone's else's child," Laditan wrote. "My body felt distinctly postpartum and was leaking from too many places, but as I'd change his diapers and gently push his sweet little arms through his yellow and white pajamas, I remember looking my bedroom door, half expecting his real mother to walk in and say, 'Excellent work, fräulein, I'll take it from here.'" 

After being diagnosed and medicated, Laditan's mood stabilized. But it took her three years to feel connected to her baby in the same way that she did with her older children.

"God is my witness, it took three solid years," she wrote. "In that time, I loved my baby boy, took him to play centres, parks, we cuddled, I painted his hands and pushed them into soft clay for keepsakes, and snapped a million photos, but there was a valley between us that I prayed he didn't feel." 

"Then one day, or perhaps over several days, or maybe through each day of showing up, his real mother finally walked through the door and it was me. 100 percent me," she continued.  

Laditan hopes sharing her experience will help to comfort other moms who may also be struggling with postpartum depression. 

"So, mother, if you're going through this today, changing a baby's diaper or giving a toddler a bath with the shaking fear in your heart that this little one will never feel like your own, please just wait," she wrote. "Keep showing up. Keep rocking them to sleep searching their little faces for what you need. Keep wiping down that high chair and kissing their pillow-soft cheeks. Every time you do you, the angels throw a handful of sand into the canyon between you. One day it will be full and you'll walk across it to find you were always there somehow." 

She recognizes that it'll be a difficult journey, but knows it's one that's entirely worth the work. 

"No, it's not fair that you have to work at what's supposed to come naturally, but in life the only thing that's promised is work," she wrote. "Have faith, sweet mother. Your efforts will be rewarded. Speak gently to yourself. Breathe. Ask for help. Dawn will come, girlie. Just stay." 

Laditan's post has since been shared over 1,500 times and has over 15,000 likes in just a few days. Many commenters shared their own experience with the disease and thanked Laditan for sharing her story. Despite how common the condition is, postpartum depression isn't talked about enough because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Many parents feel ashamed about their feelings, not realizing that their disconnection to their newborn can be a symptom of postpartum depression. The more moms like Laditan that share their story, the more moms like her that will get the help they need. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, you can find local support groups and resources by visiting Postpartum Support International's website or calling 1-800-944-4773.

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