There are days I think about you, baby number two. I wonder what sex you'll be and what color eyes you'll have, and I wonder if I will ever see them.
A recent research study indicates that for women with the most severe symptoms, maternal depression and anxiety often begin during pregnancy not just after giving birth. Yet despite this staggering statistic, 70 to 80 percent of these women never receive treatment, because they are never properly identified and diagnosed.
To me, the house felt like a symbol that everything might turn out all right, that there might be a way for two childish adults to somehow make a family.
I write on behalf of the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, representing over 1,800 pediatricians practicing across the Commonwealth.
The idyllic picture of a smiling nurturing mother, caressing her growing belly or loving her cooing adoring newborn, is not the reality for many women during pregnancy or the time following a birth.
I remember standing on the porch in the rain on one of my first Mother's Days and sobbing because no one did anything special for me.
I strongly believe that our pain, whichever it comes from, is on purpose. It helps us grow and give birth to a better version of ourselves. It is hard to be thankful for our pain but, if we shift perspective, we realize it always brings us a lesson in disguise.
Every parent of an older (or adult) kid likes to remind you how you'll miss these early days. But I think what those moms are secretly trying to say is that they miss being young, too.
Unlike some women who slide into motherhood like pulling on a pair of well-worn yoga pants, motherhood for me felt more like trying to squeeze into a pair of too-small skinny jeans. I pulled and twisted, held my breath, bent and contorted and still ended up in a puddle of tears.
When we sit together in your nursery, cuddled chest to chest, I feel the weight of glory pressed upon me despite the uncertainty that always tries to take over.
Moms with postpartum depression cannot wait for care and treatment when faced with depression and other perinatal emotional complications. The impact on both Mom and her infant can be serious. But in Massachusetts there is a new model that is providing hope for these mothers and changing the landscape so that providers can provide the care that is needed.
About six weeks after I have birth, I started a rapid decline into a state of complete misery. I would stare at the blank wall, sometimes for an hour straight, listening to the negative thoughts circulating in my mind.
Many mothers do feel ill-equipped to handle the big meltdowns preschoolers often repeatedly have, experience pressure to keep it all together and perceive they have nowhere to turn.
I put on a good show in front of others. But on the inside, confusion and guilt racked my brain. How was it possible, I wondered, that I wasn't completely enamored with my first born child?
Today I lead postpartum support groups, and thank goodness I have to be the group leader, so I can't walk out of the group and cry in the restroom. I must open up that old inner self to some more compassionate attitudes if I'm going to be of help to my fellow moms.
We need to find a way to prepare mothers for the possibility that they may struggle, and that it doesn't make them bad mothers.