When expecting a new child, our hearts and minds can be overrun with thoughts of boundless love – but what happens when postpartum disorders interfere with that perfect love we imagined? For today’s guest, her unexpected struggle with multiple postpartum mood disorders forced her to reexamine everything she thought she knew about becoming a mother. Emily Phelps, a Prenatal, Birth & Postpartum Doula, joins me to discuss her personal struggle following the birth of her son, the loss of identity that new mothers experience, and why we need to normalize the wide range of responses we have after childbirth.
“I had postpartum depression, anxiety, postpartum onset OCD, and birth trauma so I would joke that I had the trail mix of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders because I had all of them.” [04:25]
“I had a healthy baby, and I was fine…but in the months following his birth, I didn’t feel really connected to him.” [07:45]
“I felt emotionally evaporated. There was nothing left.” [10:38]
“If I had a good day, I felt like I imagined the whole thing. On my good days, I would gaslight my reality with the bad days.” [13:30]
“The village that surrounds us is a huge piece of what allows us to find our way back home.” [18:04]
“We are not good about honouring that an immense experience has happened that has a hugely acceptable range of emotional responses. It does not have to be all happy.” [18:12]
“People feel like they are defective. [They think] “What am I doing wrong? I’m not a good parent, I’m not a good mom, or dad, or partner. I’m not able to do it right. It’s me.” And it is not true. [20:36]