Facebook is notorious for making ourselves feel bad about the reality of our lives. As hooked on the social media platform as many of us may be, it's filled with people sharing (and often embellishing) only the best parts of their daily routines. Photo filters add to the seemingly perfect snapshot of folks living their best lives. It starts to make you wonder, do they ever have a bad day? Are they always #blessed?
As you well know, life is full of ups and downs, and certainly not as one-dimensional as some like to represent on social media. So when someone, particularly a fellow mom, busts out with some cold hard truths on Facebook, we generally stand up and applaud.
The latest case of a social media hero: Tiffany Jenkins, blogger at Juggling the Jenkins, who shared her heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and incredibly relatable battle with postpartum depression (PPD) on Facebook.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in nine women experience symptoms of PPD. But here's the thing -- that number only reflects reported cases. Because PPD still has a stigma attached to it, despite strides in mental health advocacy, many women never seek treatment or consult a medical professional about these symptoms. This is just one reason why Jenkins' post is so important and hit close to home for many women who had not heard another mom share such pain.
"I know that some of your jaws are hanging open, and some of you are probably disgusted thinking, 'how the hell can someone dislike their own children?' she wrote in her post. "I know, it's effed up, which is why it took me so long to tell anybody about it."
Tiffany confesses she spent most of her days crying when her son Kaiden was 17 months and daughter Chloe was just one month old. Her husband was unaware of her battle because he was often out of the home for work. The tipping point arrived one day when the mother of two decided she would not take the kids out of their cribs. They could scream, cry, and soil themselves. She couldn't be a mother anymore.
That's when, thankfully, Tiffany reached out to her doctor.
"The moment my favorite receptionist answered I broke down in tears," she wrote. "I told her I didn't want to be a mom anymore and she told me to, 'Come in IMMEDIATELY.' I did. The doctor spoke to me about postpartum depression as if he'd had this conversation thousands of times."
And that's because, as she recalls, he had conducted this conversation a thousand times. PPD is real, it's challenging, and it's isolating.
Today Tiffany's kids are ages 2 and 3 years old. She admits she's in a much better place mentally, loving and adoring those children in ways she likely never thought possible. But her heart also wants to reach out to other moms who may be experiencing the same pain she did, and she has a message for them.
"If any of this sounds familiar to you, I just wanted you to know -- you aren't alone," she says. "You aren't crazy -- and you need to tell someone."
If you find yourself experiencing any symptoms of PPD, like crying more often than usual, feeling angry or distant from your baby, or doubting your ability to care for your child, consult your physician immediately. PPD can rear its head in many different ways, and its onset can vary from one woman to the next. Remember you're not alone and please ask for help.