You Can’t Tell a Mom Has Postpartum Depression by Just Looking

In an August post, Postpartum Progress founder Katherine Stone writes “People assume it should be fairly obvious [when a mother has postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD or PTSD], except it isn’t. We can get pretty good at hiding how we are feeling and what we are thinking. So to all the people who say, ’But you look great!’ and to all the physicians who say, ‘I don’t need to screen. I just know when my patients need help,’ I say look at these faces. Look at them closely and then read their words. This is what maternal mental illness looks like.” Stock Image from user redfloor - Baby Kiss 2

The post features a series of happy photos of mothers and infants, accompanied by the mothers’ experiences of the emotional rollercoaster that they were experiencing at that time.

“You can’t tell by looking, but just hours before this picture was taken, I tried to kill myself. I had been sobbing for two weeks. An hour after this picture was taken, I got up on stage and performed for a church talent show like everything was fine,” writes a mom.

Reader comments demonstrate the impact of the stories on women suffering in isolation at the moment, and their efforts to appear to be coping, for fear of the consequences of being exposed as ‘crazy’ or ‘unfit’.

One respondent comments, “Thank you for this post. My four girls are now aged 31-22, but I can still totally relate to these sweet mothers and their pain. Even my husband had no idea how bad it was. We become so good at hiding the horrible truth from others. Please continue to share this amazing post so that others can understand and help.”