On Saturday, Laditan, who often shares humorous posts from the perspective of a toddler and has written parenting books, wrote a Facebook post about having postpartum depression and lacking “that magical insta-connection” with her third child.
“He didn’t feel like mine. I felt like I was taking care of someone’s else’s child,” she wrote, adding later, “In those early days, I’d sit up in the dark of night nyrsing [sic] him looking like the picture of maternal devotion, but there was something missing and one of my greatest fears was that someone would notice.”
Laditan wrote that after she was diagnosed and began taking medication, her mood began to change, but it took three years for that connection between her and her child to finally take form.
“In that time, I loved my baby boy, took him to play centres, parks, we cuddled, I painted his hands and pushed them into soft clay for keepsakes, and snapped a million photos, but there was a valley between us that I prayed he didn’t feel,” she wrote. “Then one day, or perhaps over several days, or maybe through each day of showing up, his real mother finally walked through the door and it was me. 100% me.”
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow shared a similar experience in 2011, when she told Good Housekeeping she dealt with postpartum depression after giving birth to her second child, Moses, and struggled to find a connection with her son.
“I felt like a zombie. I couldn’t access my heart. I couldn’t access my emotions. I couldn’t connect. It was terrible,” she said, adding later, “I just thought it meant I was a terrible mother and a terrible person.”
Other symptoms of the mood disorder include anxiety, exhaustion and lack of motivation to complete everyday activities.
Knowing her readers might be affected by the disorder, Laditan finished her post by offering advice to mothers who feel like they aren’t connected to their babies in the way they always thought they would be.
“Keep showing up. Keep rocking them to sleep searching their little faces for what you need. Keep wiping down that high chair and kissing their pillow soft cheeks,” she wrote. “Every time you do you, the angels throw a handful of sand into the canyon between you. One day it will be full and you’ll walk across it to find you were always there somehow.”