DIY

Can You Tell A Mom Has Postpartum Depression Just By Looking At Her?

Spoiler alert: You can’t.

Katherine Stone, founder and author of Postpartum Progress, asked her community of postpartum depression, anxiety, psychosis, and OCD survivors to share a photo that could be captioned by filling in a simple sentence:

2. “When this picture was taken I was suffering from ____________. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt/was going through _____________.”


Below is a small sampling of the responses she got:

3. Adrienne Feldmann

Adrienne Feldman / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering through severe postpartum depression. You can’t tell by looking, but just hours before this picture was taken, I tried to kill myself. I had been sobbing for two weeks. An hour after this picture was taken, I got up on stage and performed for a church talent show like everything was fine.”

4. Candice Brothers

Candice Brothers / Via postpartumprogress.com

“This picture was taken during my second round of PPD and 3 weeks before I entered the hospital for postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety and chronic and acute PTSD. I had not left the apartment in months, and this was the day my husband dragged me and my boys outside to be in the sun. I was dealing with flashbacks of my postpartum hemorrhage, high suicidal ideation, and extremely intrusive thoughts.”

5. A’Driane Nieves

A’Driane Nieves / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum depression and severe anxiety. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt like a horrible mother. I had been suicidal a few months prior. I was having racing & intrusive thoughts, experiencing moments of rage I couldn’t explain or understand, constantly sweating from anxiety, having at least one panic attack daily, and found myself stuck in gravity wells of sadness every few days that made just getting out of bed painful and exhausting.”

6. Jessica Durkee

Jessica Durkee / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering severe depression. You can’t tell by looking, but I had to force myself to leave the house, was crying all the time, and hated being a mom.”

7. Alicia Glascock

Alicia Glascock / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum PTSD from childbirth trauma. You can’t tell by looking but I was having vivid flashbacks of my labor and delivery, crying every time I was alone and struggling with guilt of feeling like I didn’t love my baby as much as her older sister. I thought I was going crazy.”

8. Robin MacFarlane

Robin McFarlane / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum depression rage. You can’t tell by looking, but I was extremely irritable and every little thing set me off. I yelled constantly and threw things (like laundry baskets) against the wall to keep myself from hitting my kids. It was like I was watching myself react badly to every day situations, without the ability to stop myself.”

9. Alena Chandler

Alena Chandler / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum depression. You can’t tell by looking, but I was self harming and trying to manage deep depression and intense rage.”

10. Jessica Torres

Jessica Torres / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering severely from postpartum psychosis. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt like I was going through hell. That everyone hated me and that everyone was judging me for the baby weight that I gained. I felt so alone and so depressed. I remember one time hiding in my room for 15 minutes crying because I was convinced they all thought I was ‘crazy’.”

11. Morgan Shanahan

Morgan Shanahan / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. You can’t tell by looking, but I was going through crippling self-loathing, constant systemic panic attacks that ravaged my digestive system, and a lack of desire to live.”

12. Wendy Fanucchi

Wendy Fanucci / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering postpartum anxiety. You can’t tell by looking, but I felt life was out of control. I was angry, terrified, and sure that I would fail in everything I did. I thought it would be more merciful to my family if I took my own life so they could function normally without me screwing it up.”

13. Kendra Slater

Kendra Slater / Via postpartumprogress.com

“You wouldn’t know by looking, but I was suffering from postpartum anxiety, OCD and PTSD. This was the week after I got out of an inpatient facility, and while I was attending an outpatient program. I was suffering from constant panic attacks, inability to sleep, eat or even sit still, and my mind was running a mile a minute with severe and persistent intrusive thoughts, including suicidal ideation.”

14. Amber Koter-Pouline

Amber Koter-Pouline / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from severe postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD. You can’t always tell by looking, but I felt/was going through HELL. I repeatedly said I wished that my precious son, with whom I am now completely in love and bonded with, was my nephew, not my son, in the first few months of his life.”

15. Grace Biskie

Grace Biskie / Via GraceSandra.com

“When this picture was taken I was struggling with postpartum depression. You can’t tell but I was struggling with deep despair, suicidal thoughts and a constant sense of overwhelm.”

16. Lisa Madden

Lisa Madden / Via postpartumprogress.com

“When this picture was taken I was suffering from postpartum anxiety and OCD. You can’t tell by looking, but I was always anxious. Always afraid the babies would die in their sleep. I couldn’t drive over bridges for fear of the actual irrational thought of wanting to drive off the bridge actually ‘winning’. I suffered from relentless insomnia. I told no one. And all everyone said was how great I looked.”

17. If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from postpartum depression or a related illness, please visit PostpartumProgress.org.

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