The One Thing You Should Never Ask a Mom with Postpartum Depression

postpartum depression

“Are you going to have any more babies?”

How could such a simple, and innocent question, hurt me to the core?

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I wouldn’t have fathomed this three years-ago; because in my early 20’s, it felt like I was bombarded with questions of when my husband and I would procreate. It really did become a harmless question…until I began to have my own babies.

Truthfully, this isn’t a harmless question to my anymore. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression after my second son was born, and the thought of having another baby terrifies me to the core.

It terrifies me because I was so depressed with unsafe thoughts constantly rattling around in my head.

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It terrifies me because my postpartum depression was so strong that I didn’t want to smile for my babies.

It terrifies me because disappearing and never coming back felt stronger with each passing day.

It terrifies me because I’ve come so far with my PPD, and the thought of starting all over again feels like a nightmare.

This wasn’t the plan, this wasn’t my plan; having postpartum depression wasn’t supposed to happen to me. I wasn’t supposed to feel robbed of my life and a prisoner in my own body. This wasn’t the way things were supposed to go. I shouldn’t feel afraid to have another baby.

Yet, this is all true. This is my life. I am afraid to have another baby.

It’s the bittersweet realization that I’ve come to: I am done having babies, it’s what’s best for my mental state, so please, don’t ask me when I am having more.  

I will smile and politely tell you that we do not plan to have any more babies, that our family is complete; I will quickly change the subject, but in my heart, I will silently weep for the baby that I will never get to hold.

My mind will wander to the possibility of having another baby– we could do it, we could give the boys another brother or possibly, a sister! It could be different this time.

I daydream about a pregnant belly; being whisked away to the hospital room and producing a beautiful and plump newborn baby; visions of my sons taking turns to hold their new sibling with smiles bigger than if they were holding an ice-cream cone; the feeling of holding a newborn close to my heart; the sweet sounds of a newborn breathing and cooing.

That would be so amazing to relive that all over again, I would think. Yes, I can do it.

And then, I will remember how dark my days once were; how the happiest moments of my life left me feeling scared and alone; how I felt the most intense depression and sadness of my life; how I traveled to the most darkest places in my mind and almost leaped off the edge, thanking God that I never took that leap, but always in fear that I would be tempted again.

“But you’re still so young, you could have more babies, just one more!”

Please, don’t comment about my decision to not have any more babies.

If you’re thoughts are to insist that my husband and I need to have one more child because we should really try for a girl, please, I beg you, keep those comments to yourself.

Going through my own struggles, I have become more compassionate towards those around me. I’ve learned to talk less and to listen more. Postpartum depression is a serious and life debilitating condition, and unless you have walked in the shoes of someone that’s been through it, I urge you to be cognizant on how sensitive certain topics may be.

And to play it on the safe side, it’s always better to leave these types of matters untouched, for we never really know what someone is struggling with.


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Laura Bower
When she’s not chasing after her two tiny humans, Laura blogs about postpartum depression and struggles with motherhood over on her site, excuse-the-mess.com.