Mental Health Stigma is a powerful force keeping us suffering in silence. What I love about this story from Amanda Roche, is that her pediatrician caught her postpartum depression and anxiety. I think it also shows us how hard it is for moms to get the help they need even when help is available. It is our honor to introduce you to Amanda's powerful story. 

"When my husband and I found out I was pregnant, we were in Maui with my folks on a family vacation. We were thrilled. We had this vision of what parenthood would look like for us. With a familial history of post-partum depression, my mom had it with both her pregnancies, I knew I was at a higher risk. 

I remember the days after Olivia was born feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and completely out of control. Everyone told me this was normal but it did not go away. I was given a high needs baby with reflux and she was more than I could handle. Motherhood wasn’t at all the vision we had in mind. I spent most days watching the clock for my husband to come home from work, crying, wanting to run away from both of them. I was worried and scared about everything and I couldn’t sleep. I was a mess. 

At her six week checkup, our pediatrician handed me a card for a therapist who specialized in post-partum mood disorders. I was diagnosed with PPD and PPA. I only saw her twice. I figured I would get better over time. I didn’t. 

When our daughter was 15 months, I found out I was pregnant again. I was terrified. As the pregnancy continued, I hid from everyone how unhappy and overwhelmed I was. I didn’t realize I was suffering from PPD even into our daughter’s first year of life. I ignored it.

After this realization, we came up with a plan early in my second pregnancy including weekly therapy and a sleep schedule to divide up nighttime duty once she was born.

After Isabel was born, I began medication immediately and we implemented our nighttime strategy. I started opening up to people about my experience and attended a weekly support group. I felt the things everyone told me I would feel but didn’t with my first. I found myself appreciating every moment, even the challenging ones. I knew I was well. 

I have two beautiful daughters who I love more than anything in this world. I watch them in amazement and have days where my face hurts from smiling. I have no regrets except for ignoring my symptoms and not actively seeking help. Our second child, my gift, gave me the opportunity to do things differently and forgive myself for something that was not my fault."