Our gorgeous, silly, and affectionate son is now five years old, and I have suffered and fought a very hard and long battle in the first three years of his little life.
It’s taken me a long time finally admit that I had been fighting a war against postpartum depression and that I needed help. There are so many different opinions from so-called experts, doctors, nurses, friends, family, and your neighbor’s uncle’s sister who knows someone on how to nurse. I breastfed our son but I didn’t enjoy it, and I wasn’t good at it at all. I was lucky if I managed to pump 2oz of milk. I felt inadequate and felt like the lowest of the low because we supplemented my nursing with formula.
I felt that I should be providing all that he needed. I was SO embarrassed. Breast is best, you know. I felt a tremendous amount of pressure to breastfeed and I cried A LOT because I already felt like I was failing at being a good mother. Getting out of the house was a big deal to me. Going to the grocery store seemed like I had accomplished something amazing like climbing Mt. Everest. I didn’t want to see anyone because I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I saw other women who seemed to be natural mothers and I compared myself to them. You know the ones I’m talking about. I’m talking about the ones who appear to be happy all the time, can manage to get dressed, and put on makeup.
Why couldn’t I be like that?
One day, my Husband, who is a big cyclist, mentioned that I should try cycling and that it would be easier on my knees. I tried riding indoors using Zwift, and I was hooked. All the irrational thoughts running through my mind stopped.
Then I decided to sign up for Ride Don’t Hide after I saw a therapist. I wanted to spread the word about my struggle with postpartum depression, and I wanted to help others like me. Cycling gives me a certain freedom that nothing else can. It gives me a chance to ride my postpartum depression away by having a few hours of peace to let my mind be still. It allows me to enjoy the simple pleasure of being on a bike again. I can go faster than running, I can go places my car can’t, I can experience the beauty of nature that a car doesn’t allow me to, and I can moo at cows. So now I ride for other women. Someone you know might be secretly fighting their own silent war with postpartum depression.
No one should be ashamed to talk about it, and no one should be too ashamed to ask for help.
By participating in Ride Don’t Hide, I can help others in different ways. I can spread the word about postpartum depression openly. It allows me to make it a topic that’s openly discussed, and not taboo. It allows me to bring postpartum depression into reality. It’s not something you’ve seen on TV or heard about in the news. I am a real person you know who’s dealt with it. It also allows me to help others by raising money. Because of Ride Don’t Hide, others have shared with me their own experiences.
There are a lot of women out there who have suffered from postpartum depression but don’t get help. I didn’t get help until the very last minute. By being vocal about postpartum depression, I can do my part by helping someone who sees my story.