I wasn’t crazy. I was just a new mom having a really hard time.
“Recently, I went out alone with both my children for the first time. It was a scenario I couldn’t have imagined even just a few months ago. My first was born in September 2019, I didn’t get diagnosed with a PMAD until October 2020, and even then it wasn’t a diagnosis as much as it was a passing remark. “You probably have some postpartum stuff going on.” Hearing that, even informally, felt like a wave of relief washed over me. I wasn’t a bad mom. I wasn’t crazy. I was just a new mom having a really hard time. I’d second-guessed myself for months, minimizing my symptoms because I wanted to appear like a good mom. Mostly, I spent a lot of time convincing myself that since I was high-functioning, I wasn’t doing too badly. When I got pregnant again, I quickly started to feel better, and it hit me just how much I’d been suffering. More importantly, I realized it wasn’t my “fault” that I’d been having such a hard time. This gave me the mental space I needed to process what had happened and to prepare for my next postpartum journey. I ended up having symptoms again, but instead of waiting over a year to address them, at eight weeks postpartum I realized that I was heading down that path and I was able to get the help I needed sooner. It’s made a huge difference. It felt like a big milestone to leave the house alone with two kids, and it was. What felt like an even bigger milestone was that I did it by choice, not because I had to take them somewhere and had no other options. In the depths of my PMAD, I would have never celebrated a moment like this, because I would have told myself that it’s just something moms do. Maybe for some, it’s easy, but for me it was celebration-worthy. I asked a stranger to snap a photo of us to memorialize the moment. The photo isn’t “nice,” but it’s beautiful. It’s still hard to believe that I’m the mom in the photo, but what’s much easier to believe these days is that good moms can have a hard time.”