This looks like my Gisele moment, nursing my child while jauntily wearing a Santa hat, one leg propped casually on the bed for support. I am smiling. I have lost all the baby weight and then some. I seem happy.
Maybe I was in that moment. Maybe my colicky daughter was latching correctly for once. Maybe there was sufficient milk supply that day. Maybe I was just content to escape all the people downstairs talking at me and fussing over the baby. My family.
I was actually in the throes of postpartum depression underneath this mommy-bliss expression. I am dressed up in a cute blazer and skirt, showing off my tiny waist and Steve Madden boots, but really, I am deep in the trenches of postpartum anxiety.
This week is World Maternal Mental Health Week, and this photo is part of my motherhood story. A single, early snapshot of my transformative and magical journey. It was an incredibly difficult emotional time for me, and being overwhelmed about becoming a mum made me feel incredibly abnormal and guilty.
Now I can look back at that new mum and newborn baby and experience a healing feeling of empathy. It is normal and common for many women to feel this way, not just me. But we need to talk about it more, and not shroud it in such feminine secrecy.
We also need to feel comfortable asking for help from our friends and family. We need proper postpartum support and care, and access to medication and therapy. These are the things that saved me.
These are the things that saved me.