A mom wrote into the r/parenting subreddit to offer a heartfelt and emotional update on how her mental health has changed throughout her first year of parenting. She acknowledged that she suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety, and noted that as a result, “when my boy was born, I didn’t want to be his mom.”
The mom who ‘hated’ motherhood gave a hopeful 1-year update.
She explained that her son was “prayed for, planned, and loved from the positive pregnancy test,” yet that didn’t halt the emotional downturn she experienced from postpartum depression and anxiety. She gave him nurture and care, but “it all felt like a chore. I couldn’t find any joy in what I was doing.”
The mom gave an honest assessment of the tender months after her son’s birth, saying, “I was happy he is in this world but I would pray somebody was there to collect him.”
The dissonance she felt is not uncommon, especially for moms experiencing a postpartum mood disorder.
The Office On Women’s Health, which is a sector of the US Department of Health and Human Services, explained that a person’s body and mind inevitably change during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, yet feeling hopeless, worthless, or disconnected from the baby can signify the onset of a postpartum mood disorder.
The Office On Women’s Health notes that one in nine new mothers report having postpartum depression, a statistic that doesn’t account for unreported or undiagnosed cases. Often, new moms feel a sense of shame for feeling depressed during a moment where societal expectations reinforce the idea that all moms immediately fall in love with their babies. Yet that expectation isn’t always realistic and doesn’t represent what many moms actually feel.
In addition to medical treatment and therapy, the Office On Women’s Health offered some guidelines on how to start the healing process, including asking for help with household tasks and getting as much rest as possible. They also suggest that moms express how they’re feeling out loud, as a way to recognize and vocalize what they’re going through. There are simple things moms can try, like meeting up with a friend or talking to other moms, to normalize their experience of having postpartum depression.
In the year that’s passed since her son’s birth, the mom received treatment for postpartum mood disorders and feels the love that she worried was missing before. She explained, “I love him so much it hurts. I love being his mom.”
The mom came to an honest understanding of parenting, allowing her to accept herself for the mom she is, not some idealized version.
“I came to the conclusion I just hate the baby stage,” she explained. “And it’s ok.”
She recognized that staying on a high dose of antidepressants regulates and stabilizes her mood, yet giving herself the grace to love her son without loving the baby stage has clearly been revelatory.
“Finally, I can see the light,” she said. “And I can’t wait for the next stage bc maybe I will enjoy toddlerhood even more. I’m full of hope, one year ago I was full of darkness.”
The mom’s story is a testament to the fact that no feeling is permanent, no matter how hard those feelings initially are.
She shared her story to offer hope to other parents in similar situations, reinforcing, “It’s ok to hate [the] baby stage. You are not weird or evil. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t become a mother.”
She ended her post with a sweet message to her son, exclaiming, “Happy birthday, my beautiful sweet angel boy. Mama loves you.”
She shows that the extent of a parent’s love is a powerful thing, even if it doesn’t fit the version of love society expects a person to have.
Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango’s news and entertainment team. She covers parenting, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.
Dr. Debi Johnson is a medical expert and health journalist dedicated to promoting well-being. With a background in medicine, she offers evidence-based insights into health trends and wellness practices. Beyond her reporting, Dr. Debi enjoys hiking, yoga, and empowering others to lead healthier lives.