The message I would have wanted Lashandra Armstrong to hear before she made her tragic choice.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be joyful celebrations but these major changes can also bring significant worries, doubt, unhappiness, and ambivalence. Even the most competent mothers grapple with uncertainty and discontent. Yet, when we don’t voice our concerns and get the support we need, our self-doubt about motherhood can start to define our whole experience.
Is mothering different than you had planned?
Just by asking an honest and painful question, you’ve already done something positive for yourself and your baby.
If your feelings interfere with your daily routine; coincide with extreme fatigue, sleeplessness or overwhelming feelings of sadness, agitation, or guilt, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have feelings or thoughts that make you want to hurt yourself or someone else, let your doctor, family member or a friend know. It is not a sign of weakness but strength to ask for help.
There are plenty of excellent post-partum treatment options for depressed feelings and excessive worries that can make you feel much better. And yes, treatment can be counseling. And, yes treatment can include medication. And yes, it is effective. The goal of treatment is to help you re-find joy in your life and in the lives of your children. You deserve to feel joyful and engaged.
While you get treatment, explore who could be part of your emotional safety net. There are people who care about you and about your children. There are people who will be there when you call for help and can help to sustain your children’s happiness while you work towards health.
Be sure to let yourself accept the help you need: you and your children deserve to be healthy.