While being a mom bears abundant blessings and joy, it can also have a much darker side that often feels too taboo to share with the world.
Singer Rachel Platten wants to be a part of breaking that stigma by sharing her personal struggles with postpartum anxiety, which is put under the umbrella of postpartum depression.
Cases of postpartum depression well exceed 3 million per year, and the CDC estimates that 1 in 8 pregnant women experience postpartum anxiety, which can manifest in changes in sleeping and eating and the inability to sit still.
The “Fight Song” singer elaborated on her experience with these mental health challenges in a recent Instagram post.
She started out by admitting that while she posted a bubbly, smiling picture of her and her daughter Violet on Mother’s Day, the storm she felt raging within reflected nothing of that ‘Insta-perfect’ shot.
“On Mother’s Day – I sobbed for hours the night before and the morning of. I know I didn’t show that side on social media, only an older laughing picture of me and Vi,” Platten wrote. “But truthfully all of those months on tour last summer when I was struggling with postpartum anxiety made me feel shame and guilt, like I didn’t deserve to be celebrated as a mom.”
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The singer went on to explain that a lot of the guilt and underlying sadness she felt stemmed from missing out on “special moments” with her baby girl while she battled panic attacks and mental health in general.
“My angel of a daughter deserved better,” she shared. “I couldn’t even get out of bed on Sunday, until finally after hours of feeling the second arrow of hating and pushing away what I was feeling, I surrendered into it.”
The new mom had initially opened up about her postpartum anxiety last summer, not long after giving birth to her daughter.
“I was miserable,” the pop star candidly admitted. “I was having panic attacks. I was you know, trying to get enough milk breastfeeding to make her OK and then trying to entertain 15,000 people and then trying to keep it together as a boss and trying to be a good wife.
“I think these feelings are bigger than just the anxiety of being a new mom,” she continued. “It took a minute to find the right one [therapist], but when I did, it was like the first conversation. It was finally getting the hug that I needed.”
Platten also leaned on her supporting husband, Kevin, who she called a “true blessing”:
“It is a true blessing to have a man that is strong enough to sit there, hold space while I’m going through what I’m going through the waves of my emotions.”
She also says that it was in those moments of surrendering to the deep shame and sadness she’d been feeling that she began to experience healing:
“I let myself feel as sad and ashamed as I needed to. I located the sadness in my body, asked what it needed to hear (“forgive me!”), and I then shifted to my loving higher self who is always there and truly gave myself that forgiveness. It wasn’t all at once, but gradually all of that hurt unwound and I let myself be loved by my husband and reminded that I am of course a good mother! Maybe great! Not perfect, no, but loving and kind and supportive.”
Sometimes the hardest person to find grace for and forgive is ourselves. After finding the self-compassion and courage to do just that, Platten felt free from the bondage that had ravaged her mind and emotions for so long.
“Most of all, Violet feels very loved. I know it,” she added, admitting that this was a vulnerable piece of her life to publicize. “I feel a little vulnerable sharing this, but I think it’s important that I practice what I’m always telling everyone else to do. Be vulnerable! Be real! So if you want – maybe start by sharing something you are going through or feeling with me that has been hard for you lately. We can hold space for each other here.”