30 September 2012

How do you deal with the shame and guilt?

Last night as I was lying in bed wishing I were asleep (but instead listening to a very noisy 2 week old scoot, grunt, squirm, sigh, squeak, belch, fart, and make every other noise you can think of), I logged on to Twitter. As I looked through my feed, I saw that someone who has just been diagnosed with PostPartum Depression had tweeted me asking how I deal with the guilt and shame.

My heart immediately went out to her. I know exactly where she's coming from. I'm fairly certain that I asked the exact same question when I was diagnosed with PPD. At the time, it seemed like the worst thing in the world. I felt like the biggest loser ever to walk the face of the earth, like I was a shoe-in for the Worst Mom of the Century award, like an utter and complete failure at everything. What had I done wrong? How did I get to such a dark place? I must have screwed up somewhere, right?

I know now that every single bit of that was a lie. There is no one right way to deal with the shame and guilt, no single answer that is the magic formula for everyone, but there are some important things to keep in mind, things that helped me to cope.

You have nothing to be ashamed of, you are not guilty of anything. You haven't done anything wrong. You didn't screw up somehow or commit some grave error that resulted in your diagnosis. It is absolutely not your fault that you are struggling with this nasty critter. Guilt means you did something wrong. You didn't. Don't let society tell you otherwise. Don't let yourself give in to the line of thought that if you just make up your mind to be happy, start praying more, etc. you will miraculously be cured. Don't give in to the negative ideas that society throws at us. It is not your fault.

Having PPD doesn't say anything about you as a wife or mother. It doesn't mean you're a failure or say anything about your success in any area. The only thing PPD indicates is that your body has betrayed you. It doesn't mean you suck and it certainly doesn't mean you are lacking.

It's normal to be scared, worried, angry, or any other of a whole myriad of emotions. Don't think that because of whatever it is you're feeling you are anything less than a wonderful person. You are beautiful, brave, and strong. You will get through this and you don't even have to do it alone. You are a wonderful person. Don't let what society tells us about PPD and mental health get you down. You are a fighter and a survivor. Don't be ashamed, don't feel guilty. Just take it one day, hour, or minute at a time. Be patient and kind to yourself and don't beat yourself up. You are beautiful, inside and out, and you are loved. Don't be afraid to reach out for help and support. You are wonderful. Never forget that.


  1. Thank you for posting this! And, may I say, don't forget that this means YOU, too! :)

  2. I think some of the guilt and shame over mental / emotional issues stems directly from them, and you just have to fight it. But there is definitely still a stigma attached from more superstitious times; western culture is not as free from superstition as we would like to think.

    You are right; there is no validity to these feelings. Freedom to all who need it!

    And hugs, Especially to you!