We asked moms in the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the most surprising thing about their postpartum depression, and the responses were truly eye-opening:
1. "Postpartum depression is like being on one side of a glass wall and seeing your child on the other side — you want so badly to connect, but you literally can't."
2. "It doesn't always happen right away. I thought I was in the clear until my baby was about 6-months-old...when it hit me like a freight train."
3. "I wish people would stop calling it 'just the baby blues.' We can't snap out of it by getting a nap or a night out without the baby. It's depression, and it's heartbreaking to suffer through."
4. "I had the urge to get into my car, drive away from my family, and never turn back. And it was terrifying."
5. "Postpartum depression didn't make me cry. Instead, all I could feel was anger."
6. "I didn't even notice it until I could no longer smile or participate in conversations about my baby. Everyone else was excited, and I just couldn't get on board."
7. "I loved breastfeeding. I loved feeling my baby against me. I even looked forward to her waking up. But when she fell asleep, the doubt crept in."
8. "It isn't just about an inability to connect with your babies. For me, it was an overwhelming anxiety and fear that came with them."
9. "A lot of us feel guilt and shame because society sets women up to be overjoyed about motherhood. But in reality, becoming a mom strips away a layer of your identity and requires you to rapidly build up another. And sometimes that loving, euphoric, mother goddess layer just doesn't take hold right away."
10. "Everything was a chore. Nothing was fun, easy, or happy."
—Elizabeth Hayes, Facebook
11. "Please don't judge us as mothers. Just support us and our efforts to get help — that's what we need most."
12. "The most surprising thing for me was how willing people were to pretend that I didn't have PPD — when I literally felt the urge to throw my baby out of a window when she wouldn't stop crying. Their denial made me feel like I couldn't talk about it or ask for help. Thank God my husband believed me and supported me getting the help I knew I needed to be the mom my daughter deserves."
13. "I actually passed all the questions my doctor asked me. But one day I woke up feeling like a completely different person."
14. "It can also occur during pregnancy. Antepartum depression is less known, but people do experience it — like me. I felt at my absolute lowest during pregnancy, but hid it from everyone to hold up the impression that pregnancy is a blessing and a happy time."
15. "It can manifest itself as physical pain as well. I went to the emergency room for really bad chest and back pains, where I learned it was actually postpartum depression and anxiety."
16. "The final straw was the day I heard the breast pump and it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. That's when I knew I had to get help."
17. "It can last YEARS. I didn't start to feel the joy of motherhood until my son was 2 years old."
18. "Sometimes you can go about your work and taking care of your baby through your postpartum depression, but with no feeling whatsoever — only numbness. So you can be 'fine,' but you're no longer you."
19. "I was surprised at the lack of support from other moms, even those who went through it themselves."
20. "I would look at my husband and cry,' 'What have we done?!' But I didn't even realize how bad I felt until I got help and felt better. Pregnancy and birth changes a woman, and it's OK to get help for whatever it is that changes in you."
21. "It breaks my heart as my child grows and I realize we missed so much bonding time in the beginning. I feel like I have to constantly make sure he knows I love him."
22. "Don't be ashamed for doing what you feel is best for you and your child. I decided to become a 'part-time parent' and have my baby live with my very trusted friend for a few months. I knew I wasn't capable of caring for him, so I limited his nights with me until I had my postpartum depression under control."
23. "I used to think people with depression were just seeking attention or needed to 'buck up', but after three months of postpartum depression, I have a better understanding of what they suffer daily. Only now do I understand just how deep and uncontrollable it really is."
24. "I felt very alone in the beginning. But as soon as I became vocal about my postpartum depression, I heard from many, many friends who'd gone through the same thing!"
25. "The days were long, lonely, and painfully repetitive — and every day felt as horrible as the last. But to my daughter, I was more than enough. I was her mom."
Some responses have been edited for length and clarity.