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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Can Happen to Anyone

“How did this happen to you?” People ask me about my postpartum depression in disbelief, as if I could have escaped it somehow. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t fit the mold of someone they think would suffer from this illness. But as the mom of a 14-month-old toddler, I do know this is not the result of something that I did or didn’t do.

If you suffer or have suffered from postpartum depression, anxiety or a perinatal mood disorder, a question like this one can make you feel worse. It did for me.

Postpartum depression and anxiety does not target any one person or group. It can affect any new mom. It is much more than just ‘the baby blues’ and lasts beyond the common couple of weeks of feeling sad or down after a baby is born. It is feelings of sadness and anxiety that might affect or interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family.

As a first-time mom and hospital chaplain, I found myself in a role where others assumed I was happy, positive all the time and well-adjusted to the changes that a new baby brings. While I wish this was true, it simply was not the case. Postpartum depression and anxiety clouded every second of every day. It felt inescapable and exhausting. I was plagued by persistent negative thoughts and feelings. Personally, it made me feel like I failed my son, husband and those around me.

But I have not failed. I continue to persevere and so will YOU. We must cling to this hope. Ask for help and be patient with yourself.

If you’re struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety, know that you are not alone. I understand what you are feeling, I truly do. And I’m here to reassure you that things do get better.

When it’s hard to get up and out, it can help to lean on others, and finding a supportive community can help fight off feelings of isolation. That is why CHKD’s Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby support group was created. It provides a safe and healthy forum where moms can receive reassurance that taking care of themselves is an important part of being a good mother.

CHKD offers this free support group to any parent, including staff members, who find themselves needing extra support.

If you are feeling the burden of this illness, please join us on the third Wednesday night of the month. We can get through this one step at a time, and you will … moment by moment.

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About Anne West Kesner, MA, BCC

About Anne West  Kesner, MA, BCC Anne Kesner is a full time chaplain at CHKD. She and her husband James are parents to 14-month-old, Parker. She continues to fight PPD/PPA/OCD with an amazing spirit and support from ‘Healthy Mommy, Healthy Baby’ meetings, group facilitators, her family and therapist.