• Being a mom is hard: My experience with postpartum depression.

    my experience with postpartum depressionI don’t want this post to sound “complainy” because I truly love being a mom more than anything else on earth. And I know so many women who struggle with infertility, have lost a child, etc. so I don’t want to sound unappreciative of the gift I’ve been given. But I wish someone had told me this when I was struggling, so I’m putting it out there in case it helps someone else. Being a mom isn’t always lovely.  It’s almost always pretty freaking hard.  It’s often ugly (and smelly, and exhausting).  But it’s always worth it.

    one mom's experience with postpartum depression

    Being a mom is hard.  No one understands just how hard until they go through it, and anyone that isn’t still knee deep in poopy diapers and sleep deprivation is probably experiencing at least partial amnesia and can’t remember how hard it was not that long ago.  Because if they did remember everyone would be an only child.  But some people have a harder time than others.  I firmly believe that every woman goes through something tough when it comes to having a baby. You might be horribly sick for months while you’re pregnant, or you might have a really tough labor and delivery.  Or you might have a shitty postpartum phase.  I had an amazing pregnancy. I LOVED being pregnant. But I had a pretty difficult 26 hour labor, and a very challenging postpartum period.  It took me at least 5 months to realize what I was experiencing wasn’t “normal.”  It took me two more months to see a professional about what I was going through. Charlie was 18 months old before I felt like my old self and started to forgive myself (and everyone around me) for what I had been through.  So I thought if just one new mom read my story and felt less bad about what they were going through, it was worth telling.


    Theoretically, your six-week OBGYN follow-up visit is supposed to detect if you’re suffering from postpartum depression, as well as other health issues. For me, it was basically a vagina check-up and an all-clear for sex (as IF!)  No one asked me how I was feeling, and frankly I don’t even know if I was feeling bad yet. So my first lesson learned from this experience: women should have a 3 or 4 month postpartum OBGYN follow-up visit. Seriously. It should be routine. I can’t remember when it all started for me, but I do remember that my husband was supposed to go to a Golden Globes party with some friends and I was unreasonably anxious and overwhelmed at the prospect of being left home by myself with Charlie for several hours. Charlie was born in mid-November, so he had to have been about 2 months old. It started like that: a building anxiety at little things. The thought of Charlie pooping while we weren’t at home made me a nervous wreck. I hated going anywhere because I was nervous about someone waking him up while we were out on a walk or coughing on him or touching him. And we had stressful breastfeeding issues, so forget about a major outing where he would have to nurse while we were out. That was a nightmare for me. Packing the diaper bag to leave the house was overwhelming, so packing for our first trip on an airplane was almost debilitating. My anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed were normal and understandable to me, but no one around me understood. People took my feelings personally. I felt judged and alone. I didn’t have any mom friends in LA, and my new mom friends in other parts of the country that I would talk to seemed like they were doing so much better than me (one had a baby Charlie’s age, a toddler, and a husband in the Army in Iraq – so I really felt like a slacker that I couldn’t get my own shit together.) I also had been unable to lose any of my baby weight. In fact, after losing a little bit in the very beginning, I was actually gaining weight. And I was eating relatively healthy foods (though often because breastfeeding makes you SO hungry) and I was walking a lot with Charlie. Who gains weight after they have a baby? Can you see the perfect storm of postpartum depression building here?  (Oh, and I also lost my day job about 6 weeks after returning from maternity leave.  Yeah.  Although now I’m SO happy that happened and life led me to being a work-from-home full-time blogger.  But back then…a different story entirely.)

    my experience with postpartum depression

    When Charlie was just past 6 months old, we had the above photos taken. I had started seeing a personal trainer for the first time in my life because I was so sick of gaining weight and being fat and hating myself.  I went at it pretty hard for a couple of weeks, and then my body went into shock.  In the picture above I had a fever and felt like I had the flu, but I didn’t.  That lasted for two weeks with no change, so I finally went to the doctor.  A two-week fever was what finally made me see a professional – thank goodness for that fever!  The doctor asked me my symptoms and I started listing them off:  exhaustion, sluggish, aches & pains, extreme lethargy (some days I couldn’t get off the couch for hours, which is not easy with a 6 month old), depression, weight gain…as I listed them off a light bulb started to form.  Then the doctor said “I want to check your thyroid.”  As soon as he said it I realized I had hypothyroidism.

    my experience with postpartum depression

    Actually, I had developed something called Hashimoto’s Disease, which is a type of autoimmune disorder. 10% of women develop this postpartum as a result of a major stress trigger (for me a very tough labor followed by having a newborn). Most women come out of it by one year postpartum. But 10% of those women end up with full-blown hypothyroidism. I was in that 10%. Because my depression wasn’t severe (I didn’t have bad feelings about my baby, wasn’t detached or removed, etc.) it is very likely that my depression was just a symptom of my hypothyroidism. It is also likely why I had breastfeeding issues (because I had a very low supply, despite trying literally everything to increase it). So I’m pretty sure my effing thyroid completely sabotaged my first year as a mom. The good thing about it is, I now take medicine everyday to replace what my thyroid doesn’t do for me anymore. And I will always have to do that, for the rest of my life. But it makes me hopeful that next time I have a baby I won’t have the problems and challenges I had the first time. I’ll just have new ones!

    my story of postpartum depressionCharlie was 18 months here, and I was finally starting to feel and look like myself again. But it was a long and hard road. After I treated my thyroid, my depression didn’t completely resolve itself on its own. So I tried a combination of therapy and medication for a while, which I found tremendously helpful. I realized that what I was going through was not my fault. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t snap out of it. I couldn’t just make it go away. Depression doesn’t work that way. And postpartum depression is so tied to your hormones, and anyone who has had a baby knows hormones are a bitch. A mean, angry bitch. So when you are feeling like a crazy, mean, angry bitch it really isn’t your fault. Tell your loved ones to call me – I’ll tell them myself!

    motherhood and my experience with postpartum depressionFor those of you who don’t yet have kids, I am really not trying to scare you.  I would go through all of that 100 times to get Charlie – he is that worth it.  But I wish I had read something like this when I was suffering.  I’m a blogger and I’m guilty of it too, but sometimes life on blogs is so edited, so pretty, so not realistic.  Every party isn’t styled to perfection.  Every wedding isn’t devoid of tackiness.  Every baby isn’t clean and happy and perfectly behaved.  And every mom does not have her shit together.  In fact, I bet you very few of us do.  I know I don’t.  So there, now you’re not alone.

    my experience with postpartum depression

    Thanks for letting me share my story with you. I have lots of them. I have that 26 hour labor story to tell, I have a “breastfeeding sucked” (pun intended) story, I have a story about something that happened after having a baby that rivaled the pain of having a baby. I have so many stories. And so do lots of my momma friends. So I hope this post is helpful. Let me know if you want to hear more, if there is a topic you’d like to hear about, or if you have a question you want to ask. Because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that we mommas are in this together. We should try to help each other out as much as we can.

    All photos by Jennifer Roper.  Jennifer Roper is a member of the Lovely Vendor Guide.  If you’d like to be considered for the Vendor Guide, apply here.

    leave a comment.


    1. Amy Jones
      Posted Mar 15 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      As my only child approaches 13( I know I know How can I be old enough for this!) people always ask me why he is an only child. Well besides the fact that God must have wanted it this way, I have another answer. I had a super easy pregnancy, but most 20yr olds do, the delivery sucked and I felt like I had a c-section from my vaginal delivery, and had no post partum. Then Dylan was a GREAT baby and an ideal toddler. He didn’t throw fits in public or cry all the time. The bottle was gone at a year and the paci soon followed. He potty trained in 3 weeks before he was 2 yrs old. What is my point? I have always been a little scared that if I had another baby it wouldnt be so easy. I have so many friends who have gone through ppd and it scares me. Not only that, but what if I had a fussy baby, one who throws fits, one who won’t pee on the potty? I love every minute of being a mom. But I think God knows me better than I know myself and made this decision for an only child easy on me. Every woman is unique and the experiences we share about motherhood connect us. Btw, I lost the baby weight ( I gained 65lbs seriously ) within 6months but got married and gained 40 of it back. I am just now working with a trainer to get back to what I would consider healthy. I’ll never see a size 4 again and I’m fine with that. During the last 12 years Ive enjoyed a lot of good meals and desserts with my son. And I don’t regret any of them!

    2. Linda Ross
      Posted Mar 15 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      Thank you for such an honest post! I’ve had a really hard time reflecting on and admitting to this issue of PPD. Not sure if I thought it wouldn’t affect me (what a stupid thought!) but when I had my first, PPD debilitated me. I refused to admit anything was wrong until after I had my second child (almost 2.5 years later). After seeking help, it’s like a light went on.

      I feel like I’ve lost so much of my life with my kids, husband, friends and family. I hope this post brings comfort to other mothers out there in that it’s okay, totally normal, and help is out there.

      Thanks Chandra!

      • Posted Mar 15 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Oh, Linda – thank you for sharing that! I feel the same way and had the same experience for Charlie’s first year. It is so hard to admit that something is going on and it makes us feel even more shameful and depressed. But it feels so much better when you put a label on it and realize that isn’t just what it is like to be a mom and we can get better! So glad you shared too!

    3. Sarah
      Posted Mar 15 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      This was exactly what I needed to read today – thank you so much for sharing. I’m currently 37 weeks pregnant with my first and have had such a horrible experience so far. I’ve been depressed this whole pregnancy (with no good reason – we were trying after all!) and I’ve been really scared that I’m going to completely lose it once the baby comes. Anyway, I won’t go into my issues, but I do want to say a big THANK YOU. It’s a hard thing to even admit this to your significant other, so getting it out here on a public blog is huge and very helpful to other moms and moms-to-be. Take care and congratulations on such a beautiful little boy. Charlie is adorable. 🙂

      • Posted Mar 16 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        Thank you, Sarah! Congrats and good luck with your little one. Glad you found this helpful 🙂 xx

    4. Posted Mar 15 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Thank you for writing this. You said it well – every mom does not have her shit together. I wish more bloggers would write some more honest, real life posts. I have started a few but have never posted them. I don’t have my shit together and while my clients think I’m a calm and picture perfect mom, I’m not and I don’t strive to be. I’m glad you got help and things are on the mend and I hope many other women get help from this post as well.

    5. linette
      Posted Mar 15 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing such a personal story. I experienced many similar challenges (up to and including diagnosis of hypothyroidism after pregnancy) and made the mistake of not reaching out for help. The result was my own depression/anxiety and my son missing out on his mom being fully present to enjoy him as a baby. Can never get that time back and I hope others who read this will reach out to get help and not worry about being judged. Thanks again for writing this so beautifully…I plan to share with my husband as a way to help him better understand what I was going through as I could never explain it as well as you have. : )

      • Posted Mar 16 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Linette, sounds like we have a lot in common. thanks for sharing and for your sweet words!

    6. Posted Mar 15 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing such an honest and vulnerable post!

    7. Jen
      Posted Mar 15 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Thank you so much for sharing your story! I went through extremely hard postpartum depression that almost cost me my marriage. After counseling, medication, and diet changes in slowly coming out if it, 9 months later. 🙂 You are inspiring and I completely relate.

    8. Posted Mar 15 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I cannot thank you enough for putting this out there! I too suffered with PPD, with both my boys, and then Zachary got so sick, and I stress ate, and now I am 35 pounds more than I want to be and it won’t come off, but the antidepressants saved my life, I wasn’t me. I hated myself, I disliked my kids, my husband… oh and forget S.E.X – that was out of the question, and no one tells you how terrible that is going to feel after child-birth.

      But, honestly, with all my heart, I totally understand where you are coming from. Thank you for being so vulnerable and heart-felt.

    9. Hollie
      Posted Mar 15 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Great post! I’m glad you’re sharing your struggle with other women, so they don’t feel so alone. I’m so sorry that you felt the way you did and I hope I never made you think I didn’t support you or didn’t understand you. Looking back at everything now, I almost wonder how any of us made it to where we are today. I suffered from depression too, but didn’t realize that’s what was wrong with me, until my kids were 1 and 3. I couldn’t figure out why I was always so angry, so on edge, so impatient, so OCD, etc. I wasn’t sad or crying, just mostly angry all the time. I was far from happy, but had everyone fooled. I was the girl that everyone always called and thought of as strong, so it was hard for me to accept that I needed help. Finally I expressed my concerns to my doctor and she got me started on Cymbalta. It has been a life saver for me!

    10. Posted Mar 15 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      First of all, let me just commend you Chandra for writing this. Although I have yet to go through pregnancy and having a child myself, a lot of my friends are beginning to, and share these same exact feelings. It’s very hard for us as women to admit when we’re not perfect because we’re so used to having that “I can do it all” mentality. I’m so happy to know you sought out the help you needed and are brave enough to speak out about postpartum, as well as the other realities of pregnancy and post pregnancy! It’s about time women start getting real with each other :). I will be sharing this on my page. Wishing you all the best on your road to recovery and happiness❤

      Alex Flores
      Elegance By Alex
      Makeup Artist
      Preferred Vendor on Oh Lovely Day wedding blog

    11. Posted Mar 15 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh gosh I am so glad you wrote this. I was seriously in a major downer phase for the first 3 months of my daughter’s life. I was so OVERWHELMED! And I think the sudden lifestyle change – OMG, I can’t just run down to Starbucks by myself for a cup of coffee realization hit hard. And of course not getting sleep. I actually lost a ton of weight and was dizzy, had breast feeding issues. They tested for everything, but turns out nothing came up, so I feel like I suffered from some sort of depression. It wasn’t completely debilitating. I could do my normal routine (whatever that was) and I was eating, visiting with friends. But it was a trying period. Mila just turned 2 and now we’re expecting a baby boy in July. I’m nervous about my feelings and what I may go through this time around, but I think I’m also much more aware of what to expect and also knowing I’ll have Mila to look after through it all. Best to you! Your boy is adorable!

    12. Posted Mar 15 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Thank you for this so honest post! The first two paragraphs had me so drawn to your story. Every time I think that this mom business is not for the fait of heart, I think that millions of people of succeeded at it and feel like it can’t be as difficult as I sometimes feel like it is. But you are SO right. Unless you have caught a mom in the middle of her child’s first year, with a breakdown happening right at that moment, they would NEVER tell you how hard it really is. It’s h.a.r.d hard but worth it a million times over. So, thank you for being freshly real and I look forward to reading the rest of your story.

    13. Posted Mar 15 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    14. Posted Mar 16 at 12:50 am | Permalink

      Thanks for sharing your story Chandra. I am really glad you are feeling better. It was very brave of you to write about your experience. I am sure you have helped many people with this post.

    15. Posted Mar 16 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      A brave a beautiful post Chandra and very touching too! Looking forward to reading more of the Lovely Ever After series and so pleased that you are in a happier place. As someone planning to start a family in the near future it is not just a useful read but it feels good to know that there is supportive nature out there and that like you said – things aren’t always rosey. Lots of love, Catharine x

    16. Posted Mar 16 at 4:50 am | Permalink

      Oh my heart – as if pregnancy/labor/birth/adjusting to having a baby to care for weren’t enough new things to deal with!!! I love that you shared this, every single mom I know has been through some sort of “surprise” with varying degrees of severity but the bottom line is we need to speak up & support each other – no mom is alone!!!! xo

      (Ps I’ll be emailing you soon)

    17. Shell
      Posted Mar 17 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      Thanks for such a honest and heartfelt article. I am planning to have children myself in the next couple of years .Motherhood is often portrayed as the happiest and wondrous event and there seems to be feelings of guilt when the mother is feeling less than ecstatic and is not coping so well. Thank you for providing a more realistic and balanced portrayal of motherhood . Congratulations, You seem like the most wonderful mother ! x

    18. Posted Mar 17 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      They are so cute. What an amazing story.

    19. Lauren
      Posted Mar 18 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      thanks for the post! I am still just in my wedding planning stages but some day we will have kids and its good to know that these things will be coming…

    20. Posted Mar 19 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I meant to reply sooner…
      This is so important to share and I’m so glad you did. I feel like society – for whatever reason -holds post-partum depression and miscarriages at bay, and treats them as taboo subjects which could not be talked about openly. Total B.S. and just the opposite is true. It’s helpful, thereaputic and reassuring to hear other people go through them too.

      I am due in 30 days with my first and hope to not get ppd but I know if I do: there was no one single way to prevent it, it’s okay, and I can find others to talk about it with. I mentioned on your instagram that men get ppd too, “pppd”. (Paternal post partum depression) I, you, and so many other people didn’t/dont know about that because, again, it’s not talked about.

      I did have two miscarriages before finally being blessed on our third try. I had a hard time with both of them and had no one to discuss my feelings with. That made it worse.

      We need to be more open, accepting and compassionate with one another. Period.
      Thank you again for sharing Chandra.

      • Posted Mar 19 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Well, sorry, I should have said..it was hard to find people to discuss my feelings with. But once I did, I slowly found friends (or friends of friends) had the same experience but hadn’t shared theirs because they felt like they didn’t want to burden anyone with their sadness. I hope we can change this about our society.

        • Posted Mar 19 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for sharing Maggie! I totally agree and hope this small dialogue will help someone else. And good luck with your little one + early congrats 🙂

    21. Jenene
      Posted Jun 30 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Thank you for sharing your story. I’m having one of my “bad days” in which I feel physically & emotionally worn out. I feel guilty because I love my 6 month old son, who is a very happy little boy, but is increasingly fussy because he is getting more teeth. I work full-time & my husband is a resident, so his schedule sucks (and we don’t live close to family for help) so I often feel like a single mom. I feel guilty because other moms (some in my shoes) rave about how wonderful it is to be a mom but I feel like something is wrong with me for feeling so exhausted & frustrated most of the time. Anyway, it’s refreshing to know I’m not crazy. I’m hoping it gets better/easier. Thanks again.

      • Posted Jun 30 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

        You are SO not alone. I’ve actually experienced a resurgence of it now that my toddler is getting well into the terrible twos stage. I know mine is related to some hormonal changes as well. If you haven’t already, talk to your doctor, and try medication and talk therapy. It really does help. Good luck and I’m glad my story helped you a little bit on a bad day 🙂 Hang in there!

    22. Jennifer
      Posted Jul 2 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I also now have hypothyroidism after having my little boy! He was 6mo old when I found out. My dr also told me that she thought I had PDD but I blamed everything on he thyroid. So I didn’t do anything about it until 7 mo layer my thyroid specialist told me I had PDD. Bc my thyroid levels were much better, not perfect, but better.. I started on some medicine for the PDD about to weeks ago and I actually feel worse.. I called my dr and they say it takes about 4 weeks.. So I’ve called a therapist and hopefully will start that soon.. I’m such a mess that I’ve not been working for a couple weeks and my mom is staying with me while my husbands gone bc I really just cannot handle my little boy all day.. I’m so exhausted and overwhelmed and my body just hurts.. Hearing your story makes me realize there is hope that I will feel
      Myself again bc I didn’t think anyone dealt with the thyroid issue AND PDD..

      • Posted Jul 2 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        It does take a few weeks on meds to feel better but they really helped me. I actually think thyroid issues after pregnancy are more common than we realize and often leads to PPD b/c the thyroid issue depresses your whole system. Hang in there, it will get better!

    23. Erin Schroeder
      Posted Sep 8 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      I am always very grateful to read stories like this, so thank you for posting. While I have not struggled with outright PPD, I was just diagnosed with an umbilical hernia from my pregnancy and I’m pretty upset about that! There are so many things about pregnancy–both during and after–that aren’t talked about and I think that contributes so much to people feeling like they are alone when things don’t go 100% according to plan–and when do they ever?!– and I really think blogs like this help a lot. So thank you!

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    25. rachel
      Posted Feb 4 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      I realize this is an old post but I just wanted to say that I had a really rough first 6 months or so with my first baby as well. Sleep deprivation was insane and I felt like I was hardly keeping it together. I also had tons of issues breastfeeding (I had thyroid cancer a few years ago so I wonder if that’s related??). Anyway, just wanted to say thank you for being honest! It makes women like me feel like we’re not alone — adjusting to motherhood can be so hard!

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