Parenting has Stages, Healing has Stages
You can struggle within one stage of parenthood and that is what it is: one stage. The child will pass into another stage and so will the mother and father. Sometimes we shed the anxiety or depression within the strength of adjustment, sometimes we need extra support along the way.
In this article, the author also illustrates how postpartum anxiety can cause what I term: overreaching. So the postpartum anxiety or depression does not appear as the classic picture of the distant mother unable to hold her baby, instead it surfaces as an overtired mother unable to let the child not be held or sleep on her own or mom never giving herself time to eat or drink.
This overreaching within an episode of postpartum depression and anxiety allows for the illness itself to not be as transparent as the image we see so often in our media.
Thus go untreated for years for both mothers and fathers. I spoke with a father once, who said to me “I am slowly dying.” This may sound dramatic, but there is an isolation that can run thru a family that makes the experience appear cohesive and overflowing with love, especially on social media. But, in actuality, both the mother and father are isolated and depressed, and it is not for lack of trying. The most ambitious people I know are severely depressed. People who suffer chronic depression are the hardest workers I know. It is not a character flaw, and there are many paths to healing.
Many women and men definitely grow out of the depression and anxiety, many women do not. Though ultimately, if you are in the midst of this stage, why muscle through it alone? We are a culture built on the image of John Wayne, the iconoclastic lone rider, but I am almost certain John Wayne was a 6 pack a day chain smoker.