She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to… Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
Do you have any piece of advice for a depressed mother?
I’ve been trying to overcome postpartum depression for eight months, but there is no healing at all. I love my tiny daughter and my three elder children. They all are healthy. So am I. But I feel like I'm dying.
Today I got fired from my work because it's become too difficult to cope with my everyday duties.
I want to live. So much. My faith is the only thing that keeps me from suicide.
Honestly, I can't stand it anymore.
Thanks a lot for what you are doing to people.
And for the answer, if there will be one for me.
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I am so glad you’ve reached out for help. I want you to know that postpartum depression is very common. One in seven moms (and one in ten dads) suffer from postpartum depression.
I want you to know that you don’t have to go through this alone.
There are many resources out there to help you. First, if you can, you should let your OB or midwife know. Second, Postpartum Support International can give you access to help here in the United States and internationally. Their website is a portal to a lot of helpful information, online support groups, and practical medical information for both you and your loved ones.
Please talk to your partner, your family, your friends about this. I know that when I struggled with depression in the past, I would often act as if everything was okay, say everything was okay, but inside I was crumbling. You mentioned that you'd been fired from work. If your workplace had noticed that you were not functioning, perhaps your loved ones have, too. Maybe they don’t know how to approach you about it.
Postpartum depression, like other forms of clinical depression, feed on loneliness and isolation. You don’t have to feel this way. This is not your fault. I want you to remember those facts.
Our brains can trick us into sitting in the shame of needing help.
Our brains might tell us: “But you have so much to be grateful for; you shouldn’t be depressed.”
That’s all bullshit. Depression, whether of the chronic or postpartum variety is not a choice. You can’t choose your way out of a mental health crisis.
It’s terrific that you have a faith that you hold dear. But faith alone cannot fix this.
This type of depression cannot be exercised away, meditated away, or prayed away. I cannot stress enough how urgent it is for you to seek help from a medical professional — whether that’s your OB or midwife or mental health specialist.
Please do not stay silent. Reaching out to me was a tremendous start. Don’t stop there.
The information within Ask Erin should in no way be interpreted as medical advice because I’m not a medical professional. But I am here to help — to share with you the wisdom I’ve gained after years of making mistakes. If you have a question for me about relationships, addiction, dating, friendships, depression, parenting, sex, consent, what I’m watching, what I’m reading, Rainbow Fluorite, or anything at all, use the contact form below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, your anonymity is golden. Lastly, I’m so excited to share with you my Ask Erin Self-Care Guide, free when you sign up for my weekly newsletter. xoxo