Today as I drove into work I saw a single balloon float into the sky. I imagined the small child in the grocery store parking lot, sad because the balloon slipped out of his hand because he tripped on the curb or absentmindedly let go of the string when he spotted a worm on the ground.
Sometimes I feel like the balloon. My children are fine even without me completely present, floating above them in a haze as they are distracted by other things. It’s lonely in the sky by myself. I am high enough to see all of the pain and all of the heartache but I can’t float back down to do anything about it.
When we talk about postpartum depression, we usually hear about the new mom who isn’t sleeping at night and it’s just a passing phase. I’m here to tell you that postpartum depression can happen well after your baby is eating solids and sleeping through the night. Postpartum depression needs a face, so that people stop making fun of the moms who need help.
There is nothing funny about postpartum depression. When you hear about the people on bridges who disrupt commutes with their suicidal intentions, stop complaining. When you hear about the water being polluted with antidepressants because so many people are taking them, stop making jokes.
Mothers come in all shapes and sizes. Healing after childbirth takes a long time – physically, emotionally, spiritually. May I remind you to be extra kind to someone today because postpartum depression or anxiety or stress has a face and that face belongs to someone you will interact with today.