This Mom Just Shared a Raw Photo Showing What Postpartum Depression Really Looks Like
"We are allowed to cry."
After the baby is born, all new moms realize that pregnancy was just the first challenge of becoming a mother. Not only is taking care of an infant a learning experience, but the body changes that come after delivery can be tough to deal with.
Even rougher are the emotional changes, particularly postpartum depression, which strikes one in seven mothers. A bout with this condition has one influencer getting real about taking care of her mental health.
Kiera Elton, a mother of two and photographer from Lethbridge, Canada, shared an intimate look at her experience with postpartum depression on Instagram. Elton posted a photo of herself holding her son while crying, reflecting on her personal struggle with postpartum depression.
“Mamas, you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have,” she wrote in her caption. “In the midst of these stressful times, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to let your babe lay in their crib and cry too. We all need it. I know right now, you feel at your worst.”
Elton, 22, explained that she hopes her followers will be able to see this post and relate what she is feeling in this photo.
“I took this photo to remind myself of this day. To remind myself that I’m not 'weak' because I cry,” she wrote. “I am not weak because I feel things deeply. I am not weak because I feel helpless. I am strong. I am a mother. I am worthy.”
She went on to say that while she understands bad days will come and go, there is so much to worry about as a working mother of young children that it can be easy to overthink things that are out of her control.
“Postpartum depression + anxiety are a bitch,” she wrote. “I ask you all to please be kind to mothers on here. We are all surviving on little to no sleep. Trying to get through these tough days. Trying to survive the newborn stage. The sleep regressions. The teething stages. The picky eaters. The tantrums.”
Elton finished her message by applauding all mothers who are fighting their postpartum anxiety and depression while raising children and working.
“Even if your biggest goal was getting out of bed, or brushing your hair or getting yourself dressed for the day,” she said. “We are all warriors. We are allowed to have bad days. We are allowed to cry.”
Her message hit home with her followers: She received dozens of comments from other mothers who said they were experiencing similar feelings.
“I cried as I continued to read because this hit me so hard in my heart, relating in every word,” one user wrote. “I can relate!!!! You are stronger than you know,” another added. “To you and to me and the hard working mommas.”
Why some women develop postpartum depression is part of the mystery of the condition. “Postpartum depression is a term that covers a wide range of things,” Kathleen Kendall-Tackett, PhD, psychologist and board-certified lactation consultant who specializes in postpartum depression, previously told Health. “It covers major depressive disorder during the postpartum period, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.”
Symptoms include excessive crying, severe mood swings, and difficulty bonding with the new baby. According to Kendall-Tackett, some women may have changes in their appetite, energy levels, or sleep habits. Luckily there are resources moms can turn to if they suspect they have the condition. Your pediatrician and ob-gyn are two professionals to turn to for recommendations and help.
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