Kelly - Pregnancy and postpartum

“Despite always wanting to be a mother, I’d say my path to motherhood was rocky at best.

Doctors always told me that it would be harder for me to get pregnant, so I decided to preempt my potential infertility and began seeing NYC’s leading fertility acupuncturist – the one everyone goes to after IVF fails. Turns out the doctors were sorely mistaken, and I was pregnant in a hot second.

I wasn’t really prepared for it. At the time, my husband had a new job and was living in New Hampshire, driving back and forth on the weekends. I decided it was a necessity that our new family be together, so during my maternity leave, I quit my job and moved with our 6 week old son from our beautiful cobblestone Tribeca street down a dirt road in a New Hampshire forest.

I convinced myself that I was done with the city, and we’d now be living some idealized bucolic life with our newborn baby (singing kumbaya by the fire, I guess?). And then we discovered that I am predisposed to postpartum depression (my mom had it, her mom had it, etc). My hormones started playing tricks on me and having separated myself from my NYC life of 12 years, I went off the rails. It was only after I stopped breastfeeding my son at 13 months that the hormones started to abate, and I felt like some semblance of myself again. Notwithstanding the black tar of guilt that sat in my gut for not being this perfect vision of a mother that I envied in others.

We moved to Boston, had two more babies. More postpartum depression. Some people ask why I kept having babies if I had such bad depression. To be honest, it’s because I wanted a family, I wanted my son to have siblings, and I had an outsized view of my ability to defeat the depression solely on my own.

I don’t wish postpartum issues on anyone, but they made me look hard at the person I want to be. So if you are struggling, you’re not alone, you’re not a bad mother, and if you’re up for it, you should reach out for help from those you love. I was lucky enough to have people who loved me when I really didn’t love myself, and I found very good doctors.

I also know that I miscalculated the identity shift that motherhood required for me, and I don’t think I understood love before I had children. My deepest and fiercest desire is for my children to know how much I love them and that I will always be standing behind them, so they can take that love into the world. As their mother, I think that’s the best gift I can give them."

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