After years spent fighting postpartum depression, Krysti Marie Motter says she finally understands what drives some moms to commit suicide.
The Utah mom took to Facebook to tell others that, “I get it. I finally get it,” when it comes to the lows that postpartum depression can cause.
I get it. I finally get it. You see moms committing suicide. And I couldn’t understand it. How do you leave your kids…
Previously, Motter wrote, she couldn’t understand how things could get to the point where a mom could contemplate taking her own life:
You see moms committing suicide. And I couldn’t understand it. How do you leave your kids behind like that? Postpartum depression is what they call it. You don’t feel like the world would be better off without you, you feel like you’d be better off without this world.
Motter explains that a mom in the depths of postpartum depression feels overwhelmed and guilty at the same time:
Behind on life, can’t get anything done. Everything is expected of her and she’s drowning. She lost herself taking care of others. She’s told you, “I can’t today. I have too much to do” Don’t offer to help with her kids because then the guilt sets in. She won’t let you take them because she feels like she’s already not spending enough time with them.
What upsets Motter is the reaction when a mom commits suicide. It’s not unusual to see people say there was no sign of trouble. Motter points out that the signals were there, but no one saw them. She wrote:
[T]hen everybody posts, “Oh, I never knew. She didn’t say anything. She seemed okay.” … She told you. And it seemed small to you, you didn’t get it.
Motter wants moms with postpartum depression to know that she sees and understands what they’re going through.
What’s more, she wants others to see and understand those moms too. And she has advice for what to do if you think you know a mom who’s quietly drowning: “Stop by and visit, let her take a shower, help her in some way so she feels like she’s not so behind. Like she’s not alone. Like she’s HUMAN. There’s your signs. Stop saying you didn’t know. Because she told you.”
The mom’s post resonated online, where it was shared more than 120,000 times and received hundreds of comments.
Many of those who commented spoke about their own experiences with postpartum depression. One mom wrote:
I break down and cry nearly every day and night. I feel so alone and lonely I also feel that sometimes my partner and my children are better off with out me but I just can’t find myself to try and commit suicide! I’m too scared at the same time. I have dealt with depression nearly my whole life and it hurts, it’s painful at times and it makes you tired and unaware of things. But we’re all still here so we must be a lot stronger than we think we are.
Others shared their perspectives on the challenges of motherhood and postpartum depression or offered comfort and sympathy to those currently struggling with it.
Though she was later criticized for borrowing from other writers to compose her post, Motter defended herself, saying it was changed and personalized to reflect her own experiences.
Motter wrote that the point of her post was to raise awareness of postpartum depression and get more support for women who need it … like her:
I have struggled and struggled and struggled with postpartum depression for two years. It needs to be talked about!
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, postpartum depression is caused by a number of physical and emotional factors — not from anything a mom does (or doesn’t do) following the birth of a child. While about 80 percent of mothers report a mild case of the “baby blues” after the baby is born, about 15 percent experience postpartum depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, moodiness, or irritability.
- Feeling overwhelmed, worried, or overly anxious.
- Feeling anger or range.
- Crying more often or not being able to explain why one is crying.
- Difficulty sleeping (even when the baby is asleep) or oversleeping.
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions.
- Loss of interest in hobbies or previously-enjoyed activities.
- Withdrawing from friends and family.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Physical aches and pains, including headaches, stomachaches, and muscle pain.
- Difficulty bonding with or forming an emotional attachment with the baby.
- Doubting one’s ability to care for the baby.
- Thoughts of harming one’s self or the baby.
Postpartum depression is treatable. If you recognize the symptoms of postpartum depression in yourself or a loved one, encourage the person to talk to a medical professional and think about ways to assist the mom in caring for the baby or help her with daily tasks.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.