Have you ever had one of those days where you felt like you traveled in time? The kind of time travel where the feeling is palpable ― all too familiar and yet a little unknown? This happened to me recently while on Periscope. I felt myself almost teleported into a broadcast of someone I had never watched or even heard of before her live ‘scope. I connected with her instantly, but I didn’t know why. In the midst of her sharing beauty and business tips, she talked about her very personal struggles with postpartum depression. There it was: My past and present colliding together. I was brought back to a place where I too had been 14 years ago. A very public tweet by Hayden Panettiere also brought me back to a place that felt all too familiar. Hayden tweeted this:
Wow, doesn’t that say it all? It’s exactly how many of us moms feel struggling in silence with PPD. Our bodies do not feel like our own. Our hearts want so badly to feel the love for our babies. The love that we see on display, time and time again in the movies, in pictures, by our own friends. But, we feel helpless almost like we are not in control of our bodies, our feelings or our emotions.
So if this is you ― if you too are struggling or have struggled with postpartum depression ― this blog is dedicated to you. It is my love letter to all moms battling PPD.
Oh, mama. Yes, you, sitting on the park bench with tears filling up your eyes while your baby sleeps so sweet in the stroller. It seems like no one knows that this baby, your baby who is perfect in so many ways, doesn’t feel like yours. People look at you and smile and you force a smile in return when all you really want to do is cry.
I see you.
Oh, mama, pretending to enjoy a meal out with your family in a restaurant with grown-up people. People who love you and your baby. People who love you, but can’t seem to see that you are not you right now. Oh, how you need someone, anyone to feel how you feel, even if it’s just for one minute so that they will understand that this is so much more than “baby blues.”
I feel you.
Oh, mama, rocking your baby to sleep at 3AM and looking out the bedroom window. You see dark houses, no lights on inside, everyone seems to be sleeping except you. You sit there and finally let the tears roll down your cheek that you’ve been holding in all day, because it’s just you and your baby and no one needs to know how broken you feel inside.
I am you.
I remember looking into the eyes of my child and wondering, “Why don’t I feel anything?” And thinking that already, on day one, I was failing as a mom. How could I not feel love for my own child? But I am also here to tell you that as those days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I found my way back to me and to a real love for my baby. For me, it happened one afternoon after doing laundry and singing to Elton John when “Your Song” came on. I started singing it to my baby, staring into her eyes and just in that moment, it happened. I felt love. It was real, it was unexpected and it was ours. And, you will find it too. I write this to tell you from my heart to yours that above all else...
You. Are. Not. Alone.
Please know that you are amazing! You are. You are so much stronger than you ever thought possible. You are beautiful, loving, giving and kind. And, most importantly, you will beat postpartum depression. You will. And, when you find your way back to your body and to your own love for you baby, just know that we are out here with you holding your hand, giving you virtual high-fives and big hugs. Yes, we are survivors, warriors even and we have won the battle against PPD. We unite to share our stories, to support new moms who enter these battle fields and to stand up together to stop the negative stigma of postpartum depression.
Together, we can change this conversation once and for all.
Together, we can help shine a light and support those suffering in silence.
Together, we can let love in and let love win.
Are you or a loved one suffering with postpartum depression? Let’s keep the conversation going. Comment right here on HuffPost or join our discussion on Facebook at “Hello Mama” a new support page for all moms who want to share their voice, their struggles and their celebrations.