Screaming Into Sweaters – Honesty About Postpartum Depression

**PLEASE READ: This is a blog post I wrote three years ago for an old site I had at the time.  As intimidating as it is to share one of the most vulnerable seasons of my life, I do so in hopes that someone possibly struggling with the same thing or something similar might feel less alone in the struggle.

Here goes.

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After my first daughter entered the world, I cried for three solid weeks.  These were tears of overwhelming love, uncharacteristic schmoopy-ness, and a desire to keep my new precious baby all to myself.  No sharing.  I was in love, plain and simple.  After the first few weeks of bleariness wore off, I was distracted for a few months with a pretty painful and drawn out healing process after the damage left by my large-cranium-ed daughter and the three hours of pushing it took to get her the crap out of there.  The subsequent months of surgeries and healing and having to return to work to finish out the school year with my high school students distracted me from any feelings of depression or inexplicable sadness I may have felt.  Honestly, I just don’t think I experienced those feelings the first time around.  Nor the second.

My second daughter was born a mere 17 months later, and, after she flipped into breech position two weeks before her due date AND then sent me into labor all on her own, attempting to come out booty first, I ended up having an unexpected C-section. 😳 The recovery from that day of labor plus major abdominal surgery forced me to take things easy, let my family and friends help me, and just ease into becoming Mom of Two.  It took me a minute to release the fact that her birth didn’t go like I had thought it would.  However, after I processed that experience, my emotions seemed to level out.  The tears kept flowing, but they were, again, tears of love and overwhelming gratefulness for my new baby.  Tears of happiness.  Not so much with Baby #3.

While pregnant with my third little girl, our lives went through quite the series of stressful events.  My husband was in the middle of his residency year which required a lot of travel and unpredictable work schedules.  He was searching for a job, and the prospects of employment close to home were looking less than slim.  We began to mentally prepare to move far away from our families, when, at the last possible second, I believe God opened up a door for us to stay put.  I won’t bore you with details, but let’s just say this was no coincidence.  Huge miracle, I believe. 🙏🏼 Anyway, we decided to put our home on the market in search of a new one with a bit more space for our growing family, and if you’ve ever bought and/or sold a home…while pregnant….with two very small children at home to care for…then I don’t need to tell you the stress I was under.  E.X.H.A.U.S.T.E.D.  Not to mention that all of this took place in the summer months.  Pregnant pit stains galore.  Yum.

Finally, we moved into our new home, scurried to get things at least a little bit settled before Daughter #3 made her arrival, hunkered down for the holidays, and then…she came.  This was by far the easiest, smoothest, most predictable, least stressful delivery of them all.  Bless her.  😉  Water broke at home, checked into the hospital an hour later, finally got to experience the true bliss of an epidural for the labor this third time around, and, after a few hours of relaxing in my hospital room with my family, it was time to push.  So I did.  One time.  And…there she was. 😳 GLORIOUS! 😍 We spent days upon days just snuggling and sleeping and recovering thanks to my hardworking hubby and lovely family and friends.  I was in love, IN LOVE, with this new little baby, and I watched as my two precious older girls loved on her, too.  I was in awe of my little family of five.  So blessed. ❤️ It was such a perfect three weeks.

Baby Three was also my easiest baby.  If you know my kids, you know that’s saying a lot, because the other two were super easy, too. 😬 Don’t worry.  I get it.  Lucky, blessed, all the things.  I KNOW.  I’ve been reminded…a lot.  😉  And I’m grateful, because I don’t know that I could have handled the ensuing months of depression with an extra fussy baby.  Maybe God knew to throw me a bone.  And I mention this fact to give you some context: I had the world’s easiest baby and two older sisters who were handling the change like champs, and I was still so very sad, so very anxious, so very fearful.

I knew something was wrong when the tears didn’t stop after the first few weeks of my baby’s life.  Not only that, but they turned into different kinds of tears.  Ones of fear, anxiety, an urge to leave, to hide, to lie to everyone around me and tell them that I was handling it all just fine.  Almost every night for those first few months, I would just weep in my husband’s arms when he came home from work, but I never really could pinpoint a reason.  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  Three kids three years old and under IS a reason to cry sometimes from the strain of it all 😉, but it was more than that.  Every single morning, my eyes would pop open, and my heart would begin to race.  I had to fight the urge to literally hide from my older girls and the responsibility of parenting them in the face of my depression and anxiety.  In fact, I did hide from them on occasion.  It wouldn’t last very long, but it was alarming.  I would shut myself in my closet while baby slept and the big girls were watching a movie and just cry.  Scream into the folds of my clothes hanging in my closet so the sounds would be muffled and not scare my daughters.  Lay on the floor and force myself to breathe, to breathe, to breathe.  Force myself to get up, to stand, to continue…to mother.

The scariest part was the lying.  Under normal circumstances, I am no good at hiding my emotions.  I am not afraid of a bit of necessary confrontation, and I would always rather work through a few minutes of awkwardness in order to express feelings and communicate emotions rather than hide those things away and pretend.

But that’s what I began doing.  Pretending.

I finally hit rock bottom when Baby Girl was two months old: I had my husband’s sweet family over for dinner one night.  I remember feeling like I was in a trance and like I’d floated up above my own body, just watching myself pretend to be okay in front of them.  It was eerie.  When I couldn’t take it anymore, I would make an excuse and go to my bathroom or closet and cry in secret.  Scream in a pillow.  Consider slipping out the window and leaving.  The next day, my best friend came over for a play date, and I did the same thing.  I lied straight to her face that I was doing just fine, and then I went to scream and cry into my sweaters again while she held my baby in the living room and fed my kids lunch.  I felt untethered, I felt like grabbing my keys and driving away forever, I felt like the least capable mother in the history of ever.  It was dark and scary and sad, but I didn’t know what to say or how to say it.

The next evening, I had plans to go out to sushi with a group of my girlfriends.  We sat around the table, and finally I couldn’t take it anymore.  I had to talk to someone.  I was going to explode from the anxiety and depression.  I burst into tears and began to describe what I was experiencing, what I was feeling, what I was doing.  Looks of sympathy, empathy and grace were exchanged across that table, and I will be forever grateful to one sweet friend who cautiously told her own story of silent suffering after her third baby that finally led her to ask her doctor for help.  Her third-born was six months old at the time, and I will never forget what she said: “I wish I hadn’t wasted six months of her life pretending I wasn’t depressed.”

Done and done.

The next day, I called my sweet OB, and within the week, I met with her to discuss my symptoms and concerns.  She is not a “over-prescriber,” and I appreciated the lengthy time she spent with me delving deep into what I was going through before we even discussed medication.

And here is where my worry about this post comes in.

Postpartum depression, well, depression in general really, is such a touchy subject, and it can be extra touchy within religious communities.  (**EDIT: Which, by the way, I am IN a religious community I love and proud to be there…just stating a fact based on my experience.  Not bashing.  No drama, pretty please. 😉**)  Not here to start any kind of debate: rather, I hope my experience can help someone else, like my friend’s helped me.  Whether you believe depression can be “prayed out” as I’ve heard some tell me, or if you think the first course of action when one feels even the SLIGHTEST bit sad is to pop a pill, please hear me out…. 👇🏼

My personal belief based on experience is that the first line of action when you feel that you are experiencing depression is to examine your life choices and practices.  That’s what I did.  Before asking for medication, I wanted to make sure I’d tried everything in my own power to turn the ship around, in a sense.  I started going back to church regularly once Baby was old enough; I began exercising again; I worked in ways to get extra sleep; I found time to read my Bible, which is a great source of encouragement for me; I made sure I was eating healthy; I found ways to help others in more need of it than me.  While those things undoubtedly helped more than I’ll ever be able to pinpoint, the fact remained that I began each and every day with tears, an urge to hide, and I always wound up in my closet, screaming my lungs out and crying with such scary depths that I couldn’t wait any longer to seek help.

(I’d also like to add here that I truly and honestly never experienced any feelings of self-harm or wanting to hurt my children.  Not once.  At this point, of oversharing my life, I would tell you if I had 😉, but it never went that far.  If it has for you, even once, seek help immediately.  No amount of coffee or exercise can even out a brain that is all swirly from drops and surges of hormones.  Please.  Don’t be too proud to ask for help.)

So, after a couple of months of trying to fix things on my end, that is just what I did.  My doctor, my pharmacist husband and I all decided on a low-dose course of anti-depressants, and I began them immediately, also continuing the lifestyle changes I mentioned before.

After about a week, I noticed that the daily bouts of weeping and screaming and wanting to grab my keys and drive away had faded.  Things weren’t all rainbows and glitter and bursting into happy songs as if life were suddenly in a musical.  No.  It was more that I gradually felt I could face my day without fear.  I could wake up in the morning and not feel my heart race so fast that I thought it might jump out of my skin.  I found myself bypassing scream-fests in the closet for story time with my girls.  I realized that instead of crying on my husband’s chest in the evenings, I was cooking dinners again.  Cooking!  Can you believe it! 😉 I had the presence of mind finally to put together healthy meals for my family.  I could look my best friend in the eye and be honest about my struggles.  I could speak to my Mom and MIL without the urge to lie and cover up my depression.  I put on jeans and flattering tops and makeup every so often.  I scheduled playdates.  I breastfed while reading stories to my big girls.  I decorated a room.  I volunteered my time.  I attended exercise classes.  I planned and hosted a women’s Bible study.  I traveled to see family.  I made baby food.  I smiled and laughed and breathed deeply and didn’t scream into sweaters.

And then, finally…I wrote this.

I’ve been taking low dose anti-depressants for four months now (**EDIT: at the time of writing this post**), and it has been a night and day difference.  While I was pretty certain I was struggling with postpartum at the time, I didn’t want to have one bad week and run right to my doctor and ask for “happy pills.”  Instead, I wanted to try all that I could on my end to perk up, and, when that didn’t work either, I knew it was out of my hands.  It was so helpful to me to have my pharmacist husband explain the inner workings of the brain and how the depletion and resurgence of hormones during and after pregnancy can truly wreak havoc on the mind and emotions of a woman.  Hearing the science behind postpartum depression and anti-depressant medication really demystified it all for me.  Depression is not something that one can always control or prevent or fix.  Sometimes it requires medical intervention.  Research it a bit.  Really takes away the mystery and opens one’s eyes to the reality of this medical issue.

If you’ve known my story for awhile, you know that I lost my dad to suicide a few years ago.  He battled severe depression and other mental illnesses his entire adult life, and it was heartbreaking to watch.  We had many discussions about how he felt he didn’t actually need his medication, because he thought he could just handle it on his own.  He couldn’t.  It eventually cost him his life.

The context of my childhood and the loss of my dad has led me to conclude that depression is not a small thing.  It is not something to be shameful of, to hide, to ignore.  No.  Instead, think of it as a real and serious medical issue.  One can no more control the incongruous workings of an imbalanced brain than the imbalanced blood sugars of diabetes or the imbalanced white blood cells of cancer.  For whatever reason, depression is quite the polarizing topic.  It seems that society thinks we either have to swing all the way to one side of the issue or the other.  “Pray it out; it’s not a real disease; if you were a better Christian, you wouldn’t be suffering”…or…”If you’ve made and continue to make poor lifestyle choices that leave you distraught, just go get a pill and continue the way you’ve been going.”  These two extremes make me heartbroken.  There does exist a middle ground.

Mental illness and depression isn’t a choice sometimes…but it IS a choice if you choose to remain in it.

If you are struggling, talk to someone.  Stop lying, stop trying to hide your imperfections, and just talk.  You’ll be amazed at how many people around you have struggled or are struggling right along with you.  You are so so so not alone.  Neither was I. ❤️ If you are specifically struggling with postpartum depression (which sometimes doesn’t even set in until baby is six months or older…didn’t know that!), please talk to a friend, your Mom, your doctor.  You don’t have to take medication forever, either.  It is sometimes just a short-lived band aid to get you over the hump of the HUGE life changes and hormone swings of bringing a new baby into the world.

We owe it to our little ones to help ourselves be the best Mommies we can be.  They deserve it.  Let’s swallow our pride, hitch up our big girl panties, and get some help when we need it.

I’m right there with you.
❤️

(NOTE: I am not a medical professional nor am I qualified to answer or aide in any medical diagnoses or treatment.
Please speak to your doctor regarding questions about mental illness and/or medication.) 

  1. Tashia

    March 26th, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    You are very brave, thank you for sharing. 🙂 This will help so many woman who are struggling.

  2. Yvonne

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Thank you so much for sharing 💕

  3. Terri

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:39 am

    I believe in sharing our hard stories in hopes of helping others. You just never know who you’re helping when they need it most.

  4. Mikaela

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:40 am

    Oh, Erin! This post brought me to tears! I have struggled with anxiety for a few years now on and off. My husband has been my pillow and continues to be my rock. How true it is to talk to someone and seek help! This was such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Areeba

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Erin! This is so beautifully written and hits so close to home. I suffered from the same thing just last year.. and I know exactly where you are coming from. I’m so happy you found the help you needed – you are an incredibly, wonderful, strong and talented woman and I’m so so so lucky to have you as a friend.

  6. Lauren field

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:51 am

    So brave of you to share your story! I’m so glad you got the help you needed and have the support system that you do. after my daughter was born I honestly wanted nothing to do with her for the first 4 weeks. I went through the motions of caring for her but I was a hollow shell of my former self and I just could not deal. Thankfully my mom and dad came to be with us for some time and we ended up moving back to my home state to be closer to them. I feel for you and really wish the stigma of ppd would fade because it is so much more prevalent than we think. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! God bless you and your tribe!

  7. Jordan little

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Thanks for sharing, Erin! It’s never easy to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Your inspiring.

  8. Husband

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:55 am

    You’re my hero.

  9. Rachel

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:57 am

    Love this Erin! I’m on a low dose too and struggled or two years before realizing I might need help! I’d scream it from the rooftops now 🙂 so sorry about your dad and thankful for your honesty!

  10. Cristen Coombs

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:03 am

    Erin, this post touched me on so many levels. Thank you so much for sharing. It isn’t something that is openly talked about and we need to change the dialogue. I married the sweetest, most wonderful man. He also suffers from anxiety and depression. As we’ve traveled through years of marriage all I feel is the deepest compassion and love for him. Lots of hugs and couple trips to doctors and counselors when med changes are needed. It has been a journey. I believe we were brought together for a reason. I needed to be humbled and to at times serve and he needed a strong help mate. Thank you so much for being open…I know it isn’t easy and it something I myself struggle with so I admire it in your! Cristen Coombs

  11. Hannah Murphy

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:12 am

    You are an amazing person and have such a big heart. Thank you for sharing, i dont have children but suffer from depression and its nice to know that other people go through it.

  12. elma

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:16 am

    So well written!! I have struggled for years but just chalked it up to having eight kids and loads of work..and never having a husband around.. I never went places and I was to scared to have friends.. finally I found a wonderful doctor and I told her I felt like I was floating and not in my own body.. even going to church was to much for me.. thankfully I am on meds and I am no longer floating!!
    Thanks for sharing.. You are so wonderful and an amazing mother to those beautiful girls but most of all a child of God!!!

  13. Tootie Trouy

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:19 am

    I think you are so strong for posting this. I had it with my second sweet girl. I have anxiety/OCD so the postpartum sent me into overdrive. Crying one minute, screaming the next and overly obsessing… I try and be open with people about it to because you never know is hurting and afraid to talk about it. Thank you for writing this. I am sure it will help so many! ❤️

  14. Cheryl

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Wonderful blog. Thank you for sharing. Your vulnerability is evident which makes it that much more special in many different ways. I am so thankful I read this. Thank you. Cheryl

  15. Lori

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Beautiful Erin! Thank you for sharing your journey.

  16. Lildeserthome

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had zero connection to my son when he was born.. I couldn’t understand it. It was very hard for me. As time passed, I got better on my own, but this last year it’s slowly started happening again. A feeling of being overwhelmed, disconnected or unconcerned, and tears that start for no reason. I’ve brushed it off.. mom life, right? You’ve made me realize I need to take this more seriously. You touched me with your story, thank you.

  17. Rachel

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:23 am

    My brother suffers from depression, I never understood it until he stayed with me during one of his most troubled times(divorce). One thing he said to me has always stuck with me; he said it was like having the the inability to form hope. I love that you were brave enough to share this. You happen to be the my favorite person that I follow on Instagram. The reason for that is because you’re so honest and real. I know that this post will help others.

  18. Janice bernloehr

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Erin, I know this was difficult for you to share. You’ve done a good thing for a lot of women out there who are having the same issues. It’s always nice to know you aren’t alone. God Bless you and your family:) Thank you for sharing!

  19. Dawn Monk

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:23 am

    Girl, ❤️👍🏻💪🏻🙏🏻All the emojis. 😉

  20. Stephanie Mora

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Others will be blessed because you shared your experience, my sweet friend.

  21. Chastidy Washausen

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:25 am

    "mental illness and depression isn’t a choice sometimes…but it is a choice if you choose to remain in it"

    Thank you, Erin, for sharing your story and giving me the nudge to finally seek help💗

  22. Krista Horton

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:27 am

    You are precious! Thank you for your vulnerability and sharing this! There are always those people who have an opinion and until they have been through it they have no idea! I love following your blog and instagram account, your home is beautiful and so are you!

  23. Amber L

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:31 am

    Erin, I feel like I could have written this myself. I had tears in my eyes as I read it. I have two daughters, ages 2.5 and 6 months. Looking back I was so anxious and depressed with my first and never got help. When I had my second I knew I couldn’t just sweep it under a rug again. Reluctantly, I got on a low dose Zoloft and it truly has changed mine and my family’s lives! But sometimes I still feel guilty that my first daughter didn’t get the same mom that her sister did. I wish I would have known then what I know now (sigh) (or read your blog sooner, ha!) Thanks so much for sharing! 😘

  24. GeNell

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:34 am

    Your honesty is very admirable. Everyone has a story to tell and not everyone has the guts like you do to put it out there. Myself included. Maybe one day I will not be so fearful, ashamed and timid about speaking to others about my life experiences that drag me down. Kudos for your bravery👍

  25. Barbara

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:34 am

    So beautifully honest. Thank you for sharing the good in your life along with the very personal and difficult. Truly an inspiration.

  26. Jen @ Noting Grace

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:36 am

    It is no coincidence that I was meant to read this post tonight and that you were supposed to share this today. I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks that are so real that I’ve made many trips to the ER. Recently, the med I had been on (which was a nothing kind of pill likened to a placebo) stopped working and another attack darkened my door 2 weekends ago leaving me broken and scared. I just met with my Dr that prescribed me the meds I’ve been kicking and screaming against taking.

    Your words and analogy resonated so loudly when you stated that we don’t think twice about the diabetic and the cancer patient taking their meds. I used this exact analogy this past week as my parents are each of those examples. Phew.

    I know I was supposed to read this tonight as confirmation that (1) I’m not alone and (2) that He works all things to His good – even the yucky valleys we walk.

    Thank you for opening your heart and revealing your soft underbelly. Know that He used you to speak to my heart tonight, and I praise Him for that and am thankful for your tenderness.

    And if you want to see my underbelly, you can read my post that I, too, struggled to share about my panic attacks.

    http://sixseeds.patheos.com/notinggrace/2015/03/when-panic-attacks-how-ive-learned-to-cope.html

    Thank you thank you thank you

  27. Cami

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:37 am

    thank you for sharing your story Erin! it was so beautifully honest and real!

  28. Kristen

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Beautiful authenticity here! Appreciate you telling your story and I know it will impact many! And so agree about the two extremes regarding views on depression. Brilliant post!

  29. Candice

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:40 am

    Love love love this post! I know it must have been hard to share this part of yourself but if it helps even one person that is struggling through life then it was worth it! Having lost someone close to me to suicide I appreciate this post more than you know! I know depression is a polarizing topic and if you have never walked in someone else’s shoes you can’t begin to tell them what they should have, would have or could have done! And I 100% agree with the thoughts on anti-depressants when compared to insulin for diabetes, medicine for an underactive thyroid, Rx Vitamin D, etc. Sometimes our bodies just go through spells when they do not produce enough or produce too much of what we need. Thanks for using your beautiful platform for good!!!☺️

  30. MJ

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:41 am

    You are so brave. As are so many women who have traveled the same road, and asked for help. That is so powerful. ❤

  31. Jenn

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:43 am

  32. LinZ

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:44 am

    The 3rd child really IS a kick in the diaphragm. Hormones ARE an ever changing merry go round of yuck fun. But you certainly learned, and grew. Be proud. And, you are fearless. You had a 4th!!!!

  33. Lea

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Very well written Erin! You are an inspiration for women and those who suffer from depression. Keep doing what you do you do it well. ❤

  34. Brandi Hughes

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Thank you for sharing! I totally agree! My husband suffers from depression and takes medication for it. It runs in his family and his dad suffers from it as well. From the Christian side of things, I can totally see how it is not always as accepted. My husbands father is a Deacon in our church and it is somthing that is very private, and not talked about in his family. If you have a headache, you take a Tylenol. That may be a bad comparison but I think many people don’t understand the medical facts of depression. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Thank you for this post because hopefully it will help others understand that it is ok to seek help and take medication for it. It doesn’t make you less of a good Christian or weak to seek help. If you need surgery or medication for other conditions you do what will help you get well and feel better. Depression should be looked at the same way. Again, thank you for sharing and opening up about such a vulnerable topic.

  35. Diana

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:51 am

    Your words are so comforting to hear. I experienced severe anxiety after my first born and struggled with whether or not to seek help. Like you, it seems odd now, but I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. It was scary because it felt like I was coming apart. I did eventually go on a low-dose anti-depressant too and it helped tremendously. If you feel like I did or like Erin or all the other posters, don’t be scared. Talk to someone who will listen and get help. You can and will feel better again!

  36. Lindsay Aldworth

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Thank you!!!

  37. Cathy G.

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Revealing is healing!!!!!! I am so happy you posted this!!!!! Let’s get rid of this horrid stigma!!! I too had depression after my 3rd baby 20 years ago….it was not talked about at alll then and I am an open book – and always have been!!!! Besides doing the same thing as you I also started cussing like a sailor!!!! I’m not going to write all that I went through… but I got medical help as well and am so grateful and so was my family…… we need to know we’re not alone!!!! Thanks for sharing and I hope this helps someone!!! Bless you!

  38. Nadia

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Erin, thank you for sharing, it’s huge when someone is open about their deepest struggles. I have been struggling with depression and anxiety on my both pregnancy. The reason why I never want to have another baby. i am glad I did had my second, but still this time around was the worst, even though I know things are in control, and totally can be open about it. But it definitely seems that people void this type of conversation, and for sure they don’t how to handle others that are transparent. Thank you thank you, you are beautiful inside out, love you even more. Keeping sharing your heart friend, others can find healing through our venerability. ❤️

  39. Alyssa

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Wow, how I relate so much to you. I lost my father to a car accident when my first daughter was only two months old. He suffered from mental illness and alcoholism his entire adult life and was just beginning to get the help he needed with doctors and therapists. My husband at the time worked 48 hour shifts as a firefighter and we lived (still do) 2 hours from any family member. I didn’t know that I would be doing this mom thing all alone. I went through 3 therapists and countless medications. Every morning I woke up scared. How was I going to get through the day and night? All I wanted to do was crawl in a hole and be alone. Lucky for me I have always been one to stick with my excercise routines and that helped me a lot. My second came along 2 1/2 years later and the postpartum depression was even worse than the first time around. At the time I had lost a huge part of my heart because of a falling out with 2 out of my 4 closest family members (cousins but grew up like siblings). That whole first year was a blur, sadly. I feel robbed of the many joys that come along with having a new baby. From the outside everything looked fine, and looking back I am amazed at how hard I worked for my little ones to not feel an ounce of the pain I was feeling. I forced us out almost every day and also made a few of my first mommy friends! And I thank God for sending me those friends who I so desperately needed. I ended up finding a wonderful counselor who helped me work through the issues in my life. In 8 months I became a whole new and better me! I still deal with anxiety and depression off and on; it will be a lifelong battle, but I am so much more well equipped to deal with it. It is so good to see mental health and more specifically postpartum depression becoming a topic of discussion. The more awareness we can spread either through personal stories or those of others the more good we can do in the life of someone struggling. Thank you for sharing- it really touched my heart. Love you blog and style as well xoxo!

  40. Katie

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:10 am

    I’m sitting here reading your post with tears streaming down my face. 😭 My third child just turned one a couple weeks ago and this past year has been the hardest of my life. Reading your post made me feel like someone actually understands how I have been feeling. I know this post was for me because just yesterday we had a lot of family have said all caused because of me pushing people away and not telling the truth. Thank you for being vulnerable and honest.
    @ahousebecomingahome

  41. Ashley

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:16 am

    This was beyond amazing. Totally hit home…. thanks for sharing girl 😍

  42. Maria

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Sweet Erin, you have no idea how much the timing of this means to me. My beautiful just married daughter, has been struggling with severe depression for sometime now. In fact, I believe she has struggled off and on for years, just like her Mama, me. Being "the Mom" I wasn’t honest with my girls about my struggle because I had to be their Mom and barrel through. Now watching her struggle I know I did her a huge injustice by not being more honest. I have begun sharing my struggle with her and after some gentle pushing, she is going to her first appointment to talk with someone tomorrow. We both follow you and just adore you. You actually have so many qualities that remind me of her, that reading your blog I cried and smiled at the same time, because I knew in my heart that God was nudging you to trust Him, so you could help so many, like my daughter. Thank you for being vulnerable and brave. <3

  43. Susan

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:16 am

    I am so happy you shared this story 💗 I think a lot of moms go through post partum but some more than others. It’s no joke to have kids! Thank you for your honesty and being so open about that part of your life. Love watching your snaps and what you do.

  44. Tina West

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Love this and your transparency, I’m a huge advocate for mental illness awareness and education as I struggle with depression and anxiety myself. I’ve seen too many people take their own lives because resources were not available or it was shameful for them to discuss. Self medicating, it just goes on and on. We all need to talk and do it with a warrior attitude as this my friend, is part of everyday life, look around… I’m sure you’ve helped more people than you know by sharing your journey. Depression does not mean you are weak, it means you are strong❤️

  45. Grace

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I am blessed by your story. You are truly my favorite IG girl and I look forward to you. This is my life right now. I waited so long suffering until baby was 2 because of some ‘Christian’ views regarding medication. Thank you for sharing ❤️❤️❤️

  46. Anna

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I am so proud of you for speaking the truth. And you were right about the religion part not all but some. It took a lot of courage to share your story I have been there and I know. You have our heavenly father in your life & your family’s life. So you are in good hands! Keep up the good work and be honest with the world there’s people out there that need that support and to know they’re not alone. 🙂

  47. Emily

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Beautiful words from a beautiful human. Erin I am a registered nurse (and also a Christian) and I am so glad you made the comparison between mental illness and cancer. Admitting you feel unwell and receiving Treatment is nothing to be ashamed of, and needs to be encouraged and embraced. No matter what physical or psychological battle you face, professional help is always best. Faith, whether it be the religious type or just pure hope, of course can help, but only in conjunction with professional assistance.

    All of my love to your sweet family, thank you for opening up your heart. I have no doubt your story will save a life.

    Bless you.

    Emily (emylou blessings on IG) xx

  48. Ruthann

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Thank you for being very open and honest about your depression. I suffered from pregnancy OCD and had no idea that’s what it was until I had stumbled upon some articles online.

  49. Sue VanParys

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:33 am

    You are so sweet to share this in the hopes of helping someone else. Thank you for your sweet sweet spirit and being so honest! I hope it helps someone too ! 💕

  50. Holly

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:33 am

    Girl don’t you ever feel bad, scared, or vulnerable about sharing the real life. We all go through it, but yet we still pick and choose what to show and share to the world around us because sometimes I think we are worried what others may think. Know that we as moms can relate to you on so many levels, and I love that you can be so real, so transparent yet beautiful and inspiring all at the same time. So thank you for that.

  51. Sherry

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:34 am

    What a brave young lady you are. It sounds like you struggled for a terribly long time, and suffered more anxiety than most women with postpartum depression, because yours was back to back. You have made right choices. You know your body better than anyone.
    After 36 years of marriage my husband left me for someone else. That sent my brain chemicals into a spin, so I understand a little about how you’ve struggled. I hid, in my house, I couldn’t even go get groceries. But the day I realized I was withdrawing from my 2 sons was the day I knew I had to get help. Twelve years later I’m still on medication, and have occasional anxiety attacks, but praise God, He holds me close in his hand during those times. I couldn’t be the happy, independent, strong woman I am without Gods everlasting love for my wellbeing.
    Yes, tell your story… be comforted by making the right decisions for yourself. There are many young women struggling with depression (various causes) and they need to not be ashamed, and they need to know there is someone out there who understands. They aren’t alone, they aren’t weak, they just have some chemistry that needs attention. God bless you. You’re a strong, beloved child of the King. Lean on Him. He wants us to need Him.

  52. Heidi Chapman

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:36 am

    Erin,
    First of all can I just say you an amazing writer.. Holy cow seriously!
    I am a huge believer in taking the hard times that we all go through and building a "testimony". By the grace of God I have been married 23 years and during that time I have experienced postpartum, marital hardships and health scares but more importantly I have had great opportunities to share my testimony with many women. What a blessing!
    Thanks for sharing your testimony I’m sure many people will be blessed.
    Blessings,
    Heidi

  53. Northern Belle

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:42 am

    I am in tears reading this. I too lost my Dad to suicide and lately have been battling depression. I haven’t had any children yet, but after getting married at 22 and realizing my life is settling, I’ve reached the anxiety panic mode. For so long I have denied my depression and didn’t want to be medicine dependent, but after reading this I am going to discuss a low dose medication with my doctor. Thank you so much for sharing and making me feel like I’m not crazy and I’m not alone.

  54. Kimberly

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:43 am

    With my second baby I developed depression. I remember being out to eat with my girls and husband when I finally told him. I told him I could understand why moms leave and never look back and it broke me to feel that and admit that. It’s a harsh world out there and you are amazing for putting your story out there. Sometimes we just need to know we aren’t the only ones.

  55. Jarae

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:44 am

    Erin
    Thank you for sharing your story. 💗💗💗it is so important for woman to hear other experiences, so they don’t feel alone out there. I have 5 children (oldest) is 30 and the youngest is 11. I believe I had it each time I had my children but back then it wasn’t talked about, you just had to deal with it and medication was out of the question🙁 I look back and I wish I could have changed things because I would have been a happier mommy. My children deserved it. Thank God our family is good…

    Sharing your story is very special, and I really appreciated It!

  56. Katy

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:52 am

    This was amazing!! Good for you for being so brace and letting people know they are not alone and it’s ok. Thank you!

  57. CARISSA

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:54 am

    Erin, Where do I start? I guess with thank you. Thank you for being willing to share not just the pretty pictures, but the LIFE — the true life — that is behind them. I also, have struggled with anxiety and depression. When I was 29 years old, after having three kids in 3 years and my father in law passing away from cancer, I almost landed in the hospital because I was having such severe anxiety attacks. I did all the things you mentioned, changed my lifestyle, went to intensive therapy,exercise, read my Bible, but I still needed medication as well. I don’t want to pretend. I want to be real. I want people to know what I’ve struggled with, and I want to help others who struggle. So, it’s so refreshing to see someone who is willing to share their hardships for the greater good. I know so many people were touched by what you shared. I was one of them. Keep doing what you’re doing girlfriend.

  58. Ashley

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:01 am

    You HAVE to watch this video I just saw today on postpartum that a friend posted. So good!
    https://youtu.be/7s_ZZ4pvdbY

  59. Mindy

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:04 am

    I loved you then and I love you now. It is a beautiful thing to be fully known and loved in your circle of friends. I’m so thankful that you were in my tribe during that scary, wonderful season. Thanks for being brave enough to share. ❤

  60. Jessica

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:05 am

    I don’t normally respond to posts. But, This post really hit home for me. Today, I went to the funeral of a beautiful friend whose life was cut short due to her battle with post partum depression and psychosis. She left behind two beautiful babies, a loving husband and her friends and family. It’s an illness that isn’t spoken about as much as it should be. People are some times looked down on rather than praised for their bravery in coming out with their issues. God bless you for speaking out about this. I hope your post helps at least one person (hopefully more) and encourages them to get the necessary help. And continue to get the help they need until they feel like themselves again. Thank you for this!!!

  61. Laura

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Laura

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Mental illness & depression runs in my family. I lost my father to suicide when I was 19( I’m 46 now) there will always be a void, but you learn to cope. My 14yr old daughter has anxiety, OCD, & depression. Everyday is a struggle. Thank goodness I have a wonderful, supportive family & friends & a strong faith. It helps to know we are not alone. You are an inspiration!

  62. Mary C Andrews

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:13 am

    I have been following you on IG for your amazing photos, design inspiration, fashion and now I realize that the Lord brought me to your page for more than just a great IG feed, but encouragement. I suffered with postpartum depression after complications with my youngest baby, who is now 19 and I didn’t have any one to share it with…or to work through it all. My hormones even out, but it was a very lonely year and I wish that I had read something like this…your words are going to help so many ❤️ Mary

  63. Kasarah Ferrell

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:15 am

    Thank you. <3

  64. Niki

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:16 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this. If I had anything to add, it would be that depression can happen when adopting as well. I know this from personal experience. I didn’t find out this was a thing for adoptions until well after adopting our daughter. I wish I had known so I didn’t feel so isolated. I felt I should be so happy to have this gift of a child from God and our birth family that how dare I feel depressed! But it happened, I can see it now that we are on the other side, but it’s a real thing. Blessings to you for sharing this and my wish is everyone can find this post when they need it most and draw strength from it to find help. Because both we and our children are worth receiving that help.

  65. Kayla

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:29 am

    Thank you for sharing the hard stuff!! It’s nice to feel like you’re not alone. I love watching your stories & how "real" you are on them. By far my favorite to follow. Keep doing you!! Much love!

  66. Julie

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:37 am

    Thank you so much for posting. Depression is so hard and lonely. I loved reading your story ❤

  67. Nori Coleman

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:39 am

    Thank you for sharing! 13 years ago after my 6th child I experienced the same thing. It was so scary and It took me 3 weeks to finally seek help. Medication is a very responsible solution. It helped me be me again, to be able to serve my family! I am a faithful Catholic and the Church teaches it is a physiological illnesses and it is perfectly ok to treat with therapy and medication. It has nothing to do with being weak in faith. Each of our bodies has some kind of ailment. It is how we carry our cross and serve God and out families for the glory of God that counts! He allows saints to enter into His Passion and unite our sufferings with His to be participants in Communion with Him. You are blessed and courageous and beautiful. You are His!

  68. Reyna cueva

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:42 am

    You are so sweet,thoughtful, and strong! You rock ..don’t be nervous. Remember this was a point in life your life that has came full circle and added to you being so awesome! But I am happy you got the help u needed and are giving guidance where u can!!

  69. E. Towers

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:56 am

    I so admire you for sharing your story! I too battled postpartum depression and kept it to myself… actually that’s not true, I didn’t know it was postpartum, I was just sad and miserable and blamed my poor husband for everything!! I finally woke up one day and realized what I was feeling just wasn’t normal, and if I kept it up eventually my husband would go running for the hills, so I sought help. After much reluctance I began taking a low dosage antidepressant also, and within 2 weeks I felt much better. I was only on them for about 6 months, but they certainly helped. God bless you and your beautiful family!!!

  70. Tara

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:59 am

    This has been an incredible blessing to read. Thank you so very much for writing this and posting it. I too battled postpartum depression and felt so very alone. I can remember my Dad telling me to "just go for a hike in the woods, you’ll feel better". I was shocked and amazed by his (and so many others) flippant attitude about it. Only by God’s great Grace did I find a friend who’d been down the same path and I was able to get the help I needed. I’m praying your story is the friend someone needs…thank you again for sharing.

  71. Amanda K

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:01 am

    Thank you for sharing, Erin! I’m sorry to hear about this difficult time in your life, and I’m so glad to hear how you’ve overcome it. You are such a role model and your Instagram account is quickly becoming a favorite! Thank you for being so real! You are beautiful, inside and out.

  72. The Graceful Helper

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:01 am

    I wished I had known that postpartum didn’t have to set in until 6 months. I suffer for along time with depression but I didn’t see my doctor about until after I had my last child (I didn’t want to take meds in fear it would change my hormones and body chemistry. I FIGURED if they were going to be crazy I wasn’t going help them. Now I wished I had took them. I have 4 kids as well but I can not remember my #2 and #3 kids special moments because I was in such turmoil… now I just try to calm down now and take the days as the come..

  73. Rachel

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:03 am

    Incredible post. Hugs to you. Thank you for sharing ❤️

  74. D

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:10 am

    ❤️ I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your father. it is so wonderful for you to share this with others. Thank you ❤️

  75. Kailie

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:32 am

    Erin I remember reading this blog post when you first published it years ago. I felt so connected to you since I had 3 kids under 3 at the time. I can still feel those emotions deep down of being so scared and lonely and the pit in my stomach that never went away. Thank you for sharing your story!

  76. Lynn Lam

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:34 am

    Thank you! xoxo

  77. Ashley Williamson

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:48 am

    Girl Such a touching post!

  78. Lauren Karlowsky

    April 27th, 2017 at 5:11 am

    Beautifully written!!

  79. Anitagaron

    April 27th, 2017 at 5:26 am

    Erin I’m so very sorry to hear about the loss of your Dad. My youngest brother suffered almost his entire life from mental illness I feel it’s the worst disease to live with. Thank you for sharing

  80. Erin Sllen

    April 27th, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Love your honesty and vulnerability!!!! I know God is using your story and testimony even now to bless and encourge and educate someone going through a similar, if not the same scenario. Blessings! Praise God for His healing hand upon you and for His provision of solid counsel and help!

  81. Karen

    April 27th, 2017 at 5:56 am

    A very courageous and helpful post. Thank you for sharing some of your most personal struggles to provide support for others.

  82. Jillian Comeau

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:14 am

    What an amazing post to read. Although I haven’t personally struggled with depression, I was raised in a home where it was very prevalent. It IS a real thing & it can have a huge toll on anyone surrounded by it. Thank you for your bravery. I applaud you!

  83. Candi

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    After my 3rd, I experienced my first full blown panic attack. I swore I was having a heart attack. I had a 5, 2-1/2 and a newborn working on recovery from an emergency C-section all alone everyday ( Hubby had a new job and hardly and days off) no family to help. After my attack when she was 8 weeks old those were some of my darkest years. Luckily a therapist helped me through. At the time you think no one is experiencing this, your alone and that makes the depression and anxiety isolate you even more. Like you said one day I opened up and found out I wasn’t alone and had others who could relate and help me heal.

  84. Tanya

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I came over to read your story after you posted your Instagram live post. You seemed very fearful of sharing your story but please know as a sister in Christ I am so proud of you for sharing! We are district youth directors and I’ve been encouraging our Youth Pastors and Leaders the very thing you did by sharing and pouring your heart out…let this continue to be our anthem…"Through my VULNERABILITY may someone else receive their VICTORY!"

  85. Lindzie

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:42 am

    I too experienced postpartum depression after my second child. And being so young I was embarrassed to talk about it because I’ve always held it together and for the first time in my life I couldn’t. I remember feeling so out of control of my emotions. Thank you for your honesty and openness. The reason you are my favorite person (not just a page or blog 😊) to follow is because of this reason exactly.

  86. Alba Mar

    April 27th, 2017 at 7:29 am

    I experienced PPD after each of my pregnancies; it is debilitating. I cried and wanted to run away, feeling immensely overwhelmed. This for an uber mutitasking researcher professor was a new experience. Reached out for support to family and friends in Christ and my OB. I’m so glad I did. Thank you for sharing your story, PPD is real.

  87. Linda Clark

    April 27th, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Thank you for sharing. I, myself have never experienced depression but I have three sisters out of four that have. Also, I have a daughter in law that is struggling (three boy under 4). This has helped me understand what she is going through, giving me hope that she too can get better with treatment. Thanks again.

  88. Emily

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:47 am

    I’ve just recently started following you on instagram and I love all of your stories. It took so much courage to share this story, and reading it I am in tears because I also struggle with depression and bad anxiety specifically because I lost my mom when I was ten and she went through a nasty divorce and 11 years of battling cancer. I can’t seem to get over the pin physically and mentally she went through (also dealing with anxiety and depression). I also tried everything and eventually had to turn for help. I couldn’t keep living my life everyday the way I was, so sad, crying and screaming and wanting to run away and hide, in fact in my teenage years I had no one to talk to, couldn’t talk to my dad because he never talked about my mom after she passed and for damn sure couldn’t talk to my new "step mom" because she had been with my dad a whole year before my mom died… this story is touching, and I can honestly say, I work in a pediatrics office and yes we give those post partum depression screenings out, and I am so scared once I have children that I will suffer even bigger. Thank you so much for sharing your story and in a way, yes, it has helped me!

  89. Lisa D

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:52 am

    (((((Hugs))))) You need not feel nervous about sharing your story. While I have not experienced postpartum depression personally, I work in the mental health field and depression MUST be talked about. Kudos to you Erin, for getting your story out there, for recognizing the problem, and most of all for getting the help you needed and deserved. THANK YOU for sharing. 💜

  90. Meg Hardy (@the_neutral_nest)

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Wow Erin! Just wow! Thank you so much for sharing your story sweets! And also for backing up that depression isn’t just something to deal with and get over. I suffer from anxiety and depression and after a year of trying to fix it on my own and always wondering what I was doing wrong when I’d slump into it, I finally spoke to my doctor for treatment. Your inspiring words brought tears to me because it’s so nice to hear that someone understands. Thank you. 😘

  91. Joni

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:55 am

    You are brave. You are kind. You are caring. Thank you for sharing your personal story. And it will help many, including you, because sharing will continue to take you down a healthy path. Sharing isn’t easy. And I appreciate you and your blog, instagram stories, and just all of it. You are a treasure😘

  92. Jodi

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you for sharing! I know this will bless many, many women. keep being the authentic self that you are!

  93. Kim

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Beautifully written!

  94. Diane

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    This is amazing. Thank you for sharing this overwhelming heartfelt post. I truly appreciate your genuine heart. You are beautiful inside and out. God bless you and your family today and always.
    Pslams 40:1-3

  95. Erin

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you! Thank you from a mom who finally waved the white flag this week and talked to her physician after 10 months! Thank you for shining a light of hope where society tries to keep the lights off. Thank you for the encouragement! It has blessed this mama’s heart more than you know ! Thanks for being brace, Erin.

  96. Lauren

    April 27th, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    You are so brave. Thank you for sharing. I know that my Mother has told me how she had postpartum depression and her struggle after I (the second child in the family) was born. It’s a real life thing that a lot of women deal with – know you are not alone. You are so beautiful inside and out and I’m glad that this online community makes you feel comfortable enough to share your personal life. Hugs! xo

  97. Jaime (@wherelifeandcalmmeet)

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing Erin. I’m sorry you went through this but I’m so proud of you for getting the help you needed and for bringing the subject of depression to light. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a child however never received help until my late 20’s. I still struggle with the "why can’t I just be a happy cheerful person" even though I know it is not entirely in my control. I cringe every time I see the "choose happiness" quotes that we see all over the place because yeah some days I just can’t and it’s not my choice and if I could choose happiness I’d choose it all day long….who wouldn’t right??? Blogs like this coming from people like you will hopefully bring more awareness to this topic. Thank you for being so open and honest.

  98. Leslie

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    This literally has brought me to tears! Thank you for your vulnerability and for such a balanced point of view on this subject. You’re a very brave and inspiring woman! You have truly touched my heart. Thank you Erin ❤️

  99. Justine

    April 27th, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Erin, thank you for this.

  100. Heidi

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing Erin!! I have a son a twin girls and I went through it also after my twins were born. It was overwhelming and horrific and I couldn’t figure out what was going on with me. I had great support from my husband but all I remember was telling my father and he said all you need is to go for a walk and get more exercise and you will be fine. Also, the pills are giving you are just sugar pills, so basically he was telling me it was all in my head. By that time in my life, I had an understanding of how my dad thought about things in life, thank God I had that understanding or I would have been completely crushed. I went home and told my husband and basically he said that’s BS and your dad who you have grown up believing his every word, is completely wrong on this one. At that moment, I grew up. I owned my life and decided I was going to be ok. And I was, like you said the small dose of an antidepressant and some therapy really helped me to open my feelings and within weeks I was feeling myself again. Within a couple months I felt better than I had in a long time. I now have a 20 year son and 19 year old twin girls and life couldn’t be better!! Thank you for sharing!!😊

  101. Lindsay

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    After my sweet son was born, I was the girl saying "if I could just do everything right this will go away, and I definitely don’t need some happy pill." I’ve been there, and you’ve written this just perfectly. There is so much beauty and joy in families, but mortal life hits us hard sometimes. I’m right there with you. 💗 Thanks for sharing! (Also, I stumbled upon your instagram but feel like we are friends now!) 😉

  102. Marcelle Dixon

    April 27th, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    I can not tell you how touching this is. Thanks for being brave.
    Marcelle Dixon

  103. Darlene

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I read your post after listening to your insta-story.You did good! I love real people, people who don’t make their life appear perfect because we all know nobody is or has a perfect life. We all have struggles but when we can share with others that is when we can make a difference if even just to have someone to go through it with you. Thanks for posting! By the way I think you look like angelina jolie. You are beautiful!

  104. Rhonda

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    What a great post. I share your views and so proud of you for coming out in this way.

    Best Rhonda

  105. Emily

    April 27th, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Wow this blessed me this morning!!! This post is as if I wrote it myself. I am a Christian and when I started experiencing anxiety and depression in 2011, I was asked this question by our pastor "Are you living in sin? Because I have never had this problem". And I felt alone, I felt like I was the one christian who was the oddball and it allowed satan to create a stronghold in my mind that "God doesn’t love you as much as the others" I was prescribed a low dose of lexapro but battled with myself that "if" I had faith i wouldn’t be using medication. Until I nearly took my own life I took those pills and they saved my life. I felt like a human again, I could smile, I could function. I could be a wife and a mother. I did, however, start feeling numb to emotions and became this almost too happy of a person and began making horrible choices. I just couldn’t cry or feel symapathy or anything at all. I am med free and spiritually I just don’t feel how I did before (because of my erratic behavior while taking meds) I don’t blame the meds but they did play a role. If you knock people from taking meds then you have never been to the breaking point that I was. It was life or death, I chose life. Have a blessed day!!!

  106. Nadine

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Erin,
    I thought your instastory was great intro to this all. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this, and although I am not a religious person at all, I appreciate that you found comfort with that and family and that the medication helped. I’m so glad that your hubby explained to you all about the chemical balances of it all in the brain. Knowledge is power! I thoroughly enjoy your feed, your stories, your blog and your fun personality. Those are some lucky little girls and a lucky husband!

    tks for sharing.

    Nadine

  107. Lauren

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing💛

  108. Leslie

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart! I believe you have helped a lot of women feeling the same emotions.

    I am very sorry about your father.

    God bless you,
    Leslie

  109. Melissa

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Girl your story is going to help so many. My son had severe colic among a number of other things that made the newborn stage so so hard. I felt shame because people would say "Don’t you just love being a mom!" And honestly at that point it was not right in this moment. I mean of course I loved him and would do anything for him, but it wasn’t a sunshine and rainbow time like I dreamed it would be. I would have loved for someone to share with me those feelings. You are so brave and courageous and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your heart. 💖💖💖💖💖💖

  110. iamperfectforme

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    My newest bestie is being induced today. I am so excited to have a new little baby to love up on. I have had three, and everytime I had all the feels. My middle child had a series of mild health problems that started when I was halfway through my last pregnancy. Then a cross country move as home owners when my youngest was 6 months old and my son was in the thick of his health problems . I was all sorts of half strong and half bubbling over. It was a very intense time in my life and my husband and I were feeling differently about all the stresses-shit got real! We pushed through, and I did end up eventually talking my way through my pains with my sons early intervention team.
    My youngest just turned five and I still struggle with making time for myself, but I feel like a solid me.
    Today I hope I can support my friend through new baby. Its a thing. Its a period of time. Its a feeling. I had my tubes taken out two years ago and not once have I felt sad about it. I only look forward to supporting the women in my life through the post partum stages, and to loving up on new babys – minus all the mama feels.

  111. Jodi @southern_sassy_paints

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this! I really needed to read this! I hate that depression isn’t openly discussed more because it is such a real thing that a lot of people deal with but just don’t talk about it! Thank you for taking the time to open up to all of us and share your story! ❤️

  112. Emily P

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    I already commented on this once today, but I just read this blog post again….. my goodness. So relatable. I am the one who lost her mom at the age of 10, I’m now 22, mature, and been through more than most people my age and I said earlier I am so afraid of post partum depression taking over my life, as I already have depression and extreme anxiety. I am so afraid to lose someone else I love. I have wanted to be a mother since I was as little as a little one myself but I am so afraid seeing my baby looking down and thinking about what my mother went through fighting cancer for 11 years with 2 little girls and never once showing us she was sick or tired… it’s a constant thought in my mind about what she went though and she was so selfless and we grew up Christian, saying prayers every night and YES bible study….. her friends would come over and I was just maybe 5 and I would hangout with them and bring my own "child bible" and I still look up to her so much today. There is so much more to my story….. when you said about the Bible study I was like omg! I didn’t even know anyone else did that lol I wish I could have a friend like you… I haven’t ever had a true friend and I’m still waiting for mine. Thank you again for sharing your story. God bless.

  113. Diana

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing this so openly and honestly! When I was about 6 months pregnant with my first, my older cousin pulled me aside and told me her story and our family history. Women in our family notice the hormonal shift when our babes are about a year old and we stop nursing. I didn’t even know you could have postpartum depression a year after your baby was born! I will forever be grateful to this cousin!

  114. lovelydrifter

    April 27th, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Erin I really admire you. I’m happy you shared this. No I don’t have any kids. I do want kids someday but its kinda scary. You see bloggers with picture perfect houses, picture perfect kids smiling. It’s all very intimidating because everything looks PERFECT! You start to wonder if you’d be a good enough parent. Can you match up to everyone else. All the second guessing comes. So what I took from your story is, it isn’t always going to perfect and that’s OK! Not every moment is perfect, a lot more you don’t see behind the scene. Everything can and will work out just fine because your never alone. You’ll always have the support from those who love you. Thank you for sharing this Erin! You have such a beautiful family.

  115. Katie Casciato

    April 27th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Erin, I so appreciate you writing this blog post and sharing your own struggles. I know how scary that can be, but I’m very grateful to be able to hear your story. I don’t have children, so haven’t dealt with PPD, but have struggled with depression and anxiety from a very young age. I actually went through an extremely intense period of depression/anxiety a year ago, and I too experienced all that you described and pretended to be okay. I knew something was very wrong at the time, but I honestly didn’t even know how bad it was until I sought treatment and started to go back to feeling "normal." Now a year out and doing so much better (although I still struggle a bit), it actually scares me to look back and think about how much I was suffering and how grateful I am that I’m still here. It easily could have gone the other way. Thank you again for your bravery in sharing your story, and I am SO glad that you are doing better now!!! <3

  116. Stephanie Mendez

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    This means a lot for you to share something so personal. I too experienced postpartum depression. My daughter was born November 12th of last year and three weeks later my mother died suddenly. None of us saw it coming as she had shown no symptoms as to something this tragic happening. My world was turned upside down and with a new born. My mom had me at 18 and later in life had my very younger siblings which are 8 and 9. She stayed home with them. My father worked so with that I split my time down helping my father 4 hours from my home and weekends would come back to my home and spend two days with my husband. We had just Closed on my house a month before my daughter. I didn’t even get to enjoy my home which in major into decorating and DIY. I quit my job and became the sister and aide my family needed. I put and my feelings on the back burner. I was the one in my family who had to be a rock. I was run ragged between no having my brother and sister basically full time and a newborn with no mother to guide me on What the heck was happening. I was always a mess and always thought it was because of my mom. When summer hit and I was able to come back to my house my daughter was 6 months and when I finally got the time to stop and really enjoy her I was a complete and utter mess. I had so many break downs and just couldn’t keep myself together. It was then I realied this was so much more than my mother. It was then I realized I could really have PPD. My OB spent months worrying about me and I kept saying I was fine till June hit. I just never wanted to speak about it. I didn’t want anymore pity. I had received so much due to my mom so to then add to it was so Much. I was pregnant again and still processing what I had been going through and my mom. Having my second daughter soon was a true blessing because it made me stop and focus on me and slow the heck down!!! Thank you for sharing! You really are inspiration for moms! I have two under two! I help decorate, diy and do very little consulting ( I don’t think I can even say consult) just advice for family and friends in decor. Seeing you achieve and be where you are is hope that I can get myself together abd prevail.

  117. Anna Margaret Leonard

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    God bless you deeply for sharing, as I have no doubts whatsoever your story will help someone gain courage to get the help they need.
    …What a beautiful family you have!
    💗Sending my love and a hug..
    Anna @lepetitechâteau

  118. Anna Margaret Leonard

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    God bless you deeply for sharing, as I have no doubts whatsoever your story will help someone gain courage to get the help they need.
    …What a beautiful family you have!
    💗Sending my love and a hug..
    Anna @lepetitechâteau

  119. Anna Margaret Leonard

    April 27th, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    God bless you deeply for sharing, as I have no doubts whatsoever your story will help someone gain courage to get the help they need.
    …What a beautiful family you have!
    💗Sending my love and a hug..
    Anna @lepetitechâteau

  120. Molly Anderson

    April 27th, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    There is so much I want to say about this post. So much I want to share, but I don’t even know where to begin. So, all I have is thank you for being brave and sharing.

  121. Emily Lane

    April 27th, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and allowing yourself to be vulnerable to shed some light on a subject that not many want to talk about but many of us have gone through. I was in tears reading your story and reliving my own experience with PPD. Just thank you.

  122. Squirrels

    April 27th, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    So honest and I am sure very helpful to a young mom. Thanks for sharing ❤
    Squirrels

  123. Tami mill

    April 27th, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    First off thank you for this post. I believe it is something that needs to be heard, I believe it is the heart of Jesus that you are sharing. I struggled with postpartum depression when my youngest was born (16 years ago…seems like yesterday). I too am in a religious community and frankly didn’t get much support from there. I was helped in the way of meals and prayer, but it was for that "crazy lady" who is depressed. Nevertheless God was so faithful to bring me through it much the same way as you have described, ironically my secular doctor had more wisdom for me than my church….sad but true. This is why I am so glad you listened to His nudge to share this with your followers. So many woman struggle in silence (which is just what the enemy wants), my prayer is that God will use this to break the chains that bind through this awesome post! Thank you!!🌷🌷

    P.s. I too have a wonderful husband who never thought I was crazy and was so so supportive. He’s my earthly hero! 😊

  124. Ruth penny

    April 27th, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    What a wonderful article and god bless you and your family and for the support you have

  125. Susan Fernandez

    April 27th, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Erin, Thank you for sharing. I love your stories and your kind ways about you I’m sure you’ve helped many a young mom just with your words your a lovely young women I enjoy following. ❤️❤️ With a beautiful beautiful family!!

  126. Kristin Taylor

    April 27th, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing your inner most feelings. There are women everyday everywhere suffering from postpartum depression and depression in general and you telling your story I know must help them. I personally did not suffer from this after my kids but have suffered from depression in general and it’s nice to read someone else’s journey and know we are NOT alone. Prayers and blessings to you and your beautiful family!!! Thank you again! 😊

  127. Sue

    April 27th, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    I really appreciate you letting your gaurd down and sharing openly about your struggles. I have suffered from depression/anxiety for years. I am glad you have good friends and family that you could talk to. I have tried going off antidepressants and I end up in a bad place. Now I know to be the best women I can be for my family and friends I have to do what is medically necessary. I appreciate your sharing this.

  128. Kim

    April 27th, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    You truly are amazing Erin. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish that I had someone to help me when I had PPD after my first daughter, almost 16 yrs ago. Unfortunately, I didn’t speak to someone or get help and it led to an unfortunate strain on my first marriage. I pray that your story helps many women who may feel guilty for how they’re feeling and not seeking help.

  129. Michelle Olson

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Erin, I saw your stories today (you are one of the few I watch regularly) and came to read your blog today. Girl, way to go to be vulnerable and willing to be real. If this helps one depressed person, it is worth it! Is an awesome thing when we can see God use our deep pains to help others lives. We can see purpose in them.

    I wish I had a she shed, maybe someday! I will enjoy seeing the posts. God bless you girl.

  130. Gerri

    April 27th, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I just know it will be a light in someone’s darkness! Sharing is a blessing to all who read your story.
    I realize you were not at this point, but four years ago, my forth son took his life just 11 days after he turned 19. No note, no signs, no clues. It’s a tragedy our family will never recover from.
    Conversations on depression are so important! There is help out there!
    Thank you for being a blessing to me- Gerri

  131. Kathy Nelson

    April 28th, 2017 at 2:19 am

    My in-laws died in a murder/suicide event and my husband and I are careful to have very open conversations with each other and watch out for each other. Always kissing each other goodnight and saying I love you.

  132. Amy G

    April 28th, 2017 at 3:22 am

    Thankyou for letting us all in,and being so open and honest! It takes a lot of courage to speak so candidly about such a heavy topic. I truely appreciate you for shedding light and encouragement to us all!

  133. Valerie

    April 28th, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Erin, you are a blessing. What a beautiful thing you have done by sharing your story. May your days be filled with grace and peace. xo, Valerie

  134. Tracy

    April 28th, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    I absolutely love your transparency sweet friend. This is something everyone should read. I went through PPD after my son and it scared me to death. I loved him yet I wondered why we had him. That our life was just fine the way it was. Those feelings really freaked me out. Luckily it only lasted about 2 weeks then all was good. But for many, like yourself, that is not the case and they need to know they are not alone. Love you sweetie and I’m so proud of you for sharing your testimony. 😘
    Tracy

  135. Lauren Hamilton

    April 28th, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Thank you Erin for sharing this! I suffered from post-partum depression! I also hid it for the longest time & then one day while driving home I thought to myself…I can just drive into this ditch & then everything will be fine…then I thought of my son & my husband & the thought was gone but followed with a new one…I need help!!! I spoke with OB, who I work with regularly on our L&D floor as a nurse aide, we talked & decided I needed to be prescribed something! I did start to feel like myself again but the mess also made me feel unlike myself. However, my dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, the same day he told us we ran over their dog (she did not listen whatsoever), my dad had his left lung removed, had to start chemo, my husband lost his job right when we’re going to put a bid on what would have been our first home & my sister committed suicide the day after my son’s first birthday! It was a whirlwind of year but…I started finding time for myself, God, family & my amazing friends! I feel like me again!!! My marriage suffered & still is suffering but we are seeing the light & that is so exciting!!!

  136. Vicky

    April 28th, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Thank you for being so open & sharing your struggles and path to health with us all! You have a beautiful essence to your soul that shines through your Insta stories .. and no one would know the pain you suffered through. Depression should be a thing to be able to be spoken of freely and to help people connect when they need a lift from a friend or family member or doctor. Not to have to hide in the shadows, hopefully this helps others reach out too.
    Your words are encouraging! I hope you are feeling good & blessings to you!

  137. Debbie

    April 28th, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Erin thank you so much for sharing your story! You are truly encouraging and inspiring! I have not personally experienced PPD, but thank you for making me more aware of what some women go through! I know by sharing your story you will have helped someone seek help! What a blessing. I love reading your blog posts and watching your insta stories because you are so open, funny and relatable! Thank you sweet sweet friend for being you! Blessings to you and your beautiful family! <3 Debbie

  138. Beth White

    April 28th, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    You are incredibly brave and so inspiring! You shared your story with such balance and so much humility. Thank you for your courage and your wisdom.

  139. RTP

    April 29th, 2017 at 3:38 am

    I’m so sorry you had to go through that. You’re so brave in your honesty about it, and in putting it out there so maybe others won’t suffer as long as you did.

  140. Gina

    May 1st, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. My daughter is pregnant with twins and she has read twin pregnancies are at a higher risk for postpartum depression. I am very sorry to read about your dad too. God bless you.

  141. Heather

    May 3rd, 2017 at 3:15 am

    First and fore most, thank you for sharing, for finally 😉 Posting this. I have always tried to be an open book myself, but sometimes there’s topics too touching to share just yet.

    I struggled with infertility and conceiving my daughter for 5yrs. She’s now a beautiful and sweet 7mo squishy and when you say you were in love, GOOD LORD I’m in love. I get it. The path to now wasn’t and isn’t easy. My husband was separating from the marines when we found out we conceived. Truely a miracle but a hard one to swallow when you’re about to be unemployed and homeless. We sold our house and moved halfway across the country and moved into my father in laws house. I was 30w pregnant when we moved (talk about a miserable experience. We didn’t sleep and drove 40hours. I drove one car and my husband drove the moving truck and we had our 3 dogs with. Phew…. still having nightmares haha). As soon as I met my OB she asked how I felt and what support I had here. I told her my mother in law was and is my best friend. The lord may have called my mom home but he blessed me with a mother in law I can call my friend and mom. I told her about my pregnancy journey (infertility and having gallbladder removed at 20w). Immediately she told me to seek out a counselor. Not because she sees I’m in anyway upset but that it’s not an ideal situation and better to be pro active than not. Slowly as the days passed I notice more and more frequently I have attacks where my heart would race and my chest would get tight and I’d stop breathing and pass out. Sitting or standing doesn’t matter it’d just happen. My OB saw it once in her office and she caught me on the way down. Needless to say it was a LONG 10 weeks. God must’ve took a look around and put a hand on my shoulder and said I got this. He gave me a sweet and easy little girl. I mean she’s slept through the night since she was 2mo. The rest is not so beautiful or easy. My husband still is struggling to find a "big boy" job (no ones waiting to give prior military employment like I told him 100 times, men 🙄), were still at my father in laws (there’s black mold, holes in floors, broken windows and were in Chicago) and I’m missing home and hating being here. I know I’m struggling and I know I’m depressed. I’ll own it but I’ll say now I’m so thankful my OB was as proactive as she was. I wouldn’t have sought help or even known where to. For now my situation hasn’t changed and it’s not helping my mental state but I am doing my best and trying. Much more than I have. I know I’m not alone but it’s nice to hear it. So again, thank you.

  142. Claire

    May 5th, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    Oh my goodness!! I seriously could have written this post!! My anxiety and depression happened after I had my second. I never once thought it could be hormonal, but reading this now, I’m sure that’s what it was. After four years on meds, I slowly weaned off of them, and felt fine for four years. Then, a year ago, when we moved back to Dallas, the stress from everything threw me for a loop and I experienced EVERY. SINGLE. ONE of the feelings you mentioned! I sooo did not want to go on meds, so I tried EVERYTHING I could on my own to heal myself. In the end, it took a trip to the ER to finally get back on meds and finally feel better again. That was the scariest time of my whole life. I never want to experience that darkness again!! Thanks for sharing your story sweet friend!!! I’m sure it will help lots of people!! Love ya!! ~Claire

  143. Michaela

    July 24th, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    Erin, thank you so much for stepping out and sharing your story! I just had my first baby three weeks ago and am in the thick of that lovey-dovey, you’re so precious I feel like I’m just going to burst when I look at you, stage 😍. BUT this was SO good to read as a first time mom (who’s husband will be deploying less than two months from now) to be aware of such a real issue. I also didn’t realize post-partum depression can have such a delayed onset! What an important thing to be aware of!! I pray this post continues to reach other women who could benefit from reading your story. Thank you for being bold in your faith as well as sharing both your joys and your struggles!

  144. Erin | Cotton Stem

    July 26th, 2017 at 8:50 pm

    I appreciate you sharing, and thank you for leaving a kind word, too. 🙂

  145. Paula

    July 26th, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Hi Erin,

    I’m not even a mother, but this spoke VOLUMES to me. My sister has epilepsy, and from the recent diagnosis, struggled with depression and feeling like it wasn’t a valid response to have. How do you help someone who isn’t ready to accept your help? She is seeing her University counselor once per week, and I know that’s helping, but I want to do more for her. We also no longer have our father at home, so that makes things difficult for her as she struggles to balance both her health and her education.

    No pressure to answer the question. Just wanted you to know that your post is truly awe-inspiring, and that it’s so impressive and honest. Your blog posts and Instagram pictures are so PERFECT, so it’s incredibly brave and beautiful of you to help us out and let us know that every woman who is struggling or has struggled can still achieve a great life with happiness. What an inspiration.

  146. Erin | Cotton Stem

    July 26th, 2017 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing and for your kind words–means so much. And I’m sure being an open and judgement-free zone for her is your best bet till she’s ready, you know?

  147. Raeann

    November 16th, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Hi Erin, I just stumbled across your Insta a week or so ago. Absolutely love you! I love how real you are and this post has me in tears. I experienced depression last year after having my second baby girl, it’s such a hard thing to go through. Thank you for your encouragement

  148. Erin | Cotton Stem

    November 21st, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Oh hugs to you, mama!!

  149. Amie Flynn

    December 30th, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Erin,
    I am newer to your blog & following you on IG – I think you, your style, & design aesthetic are fabulous, btw- but when I saw this topic, I had to read it. I fully applaud everything you wrote in this. I have a 27 month old daughter, and am expecting my 2nd baby at the end of January. I experienced bouts of weepiness and unexplainable streams of tears in the weeks following my first daughter’s birth, & it took me aback. I felt so not like myself, & honestly, just hoped my husband did not think I was going crazy, as I would cry as soon as he walked in the door at the end of his workday. But I was so happy with my baby Natalie. It was a confusing time, to say the least.
    I don’t think women are prepared enough prior to giving birth for the torrential hormone surges that take place in our body following having a baby. No one spoke with me about the potential for postpartum depression, or even remote feelings of sadness prior, & I so wish that they had.
    You have such a great platform for many women to read this, & for someone, just taking comfort knowing one is not alone is huge. To wrap it up, I think it is wonderful that you shared your story, and I admire you for putting yourself out there like that. Bravo, girlfriend.

  150. Susan

    January 4th, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Depression, in all forms, is difficult. My daughter struggled with it all of her life. She is now properly medicated and works one on one with her psychiatrist to keep the dosage where it should be. No one should be ashamed if they need help – her brain simply doesn’t manufacture all of the things she needs to function so they’re replaced, very carefully, with medication. Like any other disease, sometimes it’s the only way to stay alive. Thank you for sharing – some are still so ashamed to come forward and get help.

  151. Jo

    September 28th, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Wow. I just recently found your insta feed and was drawn to you and your style. Ans so I’ve just gone through some of your blog posts and came across this one. I love you even more now! LOL. While i do not suffer from it, depression, anxiety, post partum….do run in my family and so I have dealt with it in one way or another most of my adult life. This line, “Mental illness and depression isn’t a choice sometimes…but it IS a choice if you choose to remain in it.” struck such a cord with me. I wish I could aptly convey it over and over to those close to me. Anyhow, I just wanted to say how much I can relate, thank you for sharing your experience and your beautiful feed. So glad you are in a happy space now.

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