Postpartum Depression Recovery | Maternal Mental Health: Liz’s Story
by Glenn Holsten
“My baby was the only thing I loved.
Everything else, I wanted to go away.
And I didn’t know that that could also be postpartum depression.”
So begins Liz’s story of sadness, isolation, depression and, thankfully, recovery.
After her first child was born, Liz knew that things weren’t on track. Her personality shifted. Her behavior at home and work was out of character. “I was not cleaning my house. Not opening the blinds. Not really doing much at work,” she says. Liz found herself avoiding people and only finding a sense of comfort and peace when she was with her newborn son.
A chance encounter with an article by model and television personality Chrissy Teigen about the celebrity’s experience with postpartum depression altered her life. Liz recognized her symptoms in Chrissy’s story, and sought help. She was diagnosed with postpartum depression and began therapy right away. Therapy was key to unlocking Liz’s past history with trauma.
“I think my postpartum depression was really linked to past traumas that I hadn’t worked through,” she says. Liz’s therapist helped her identify the root of her issue—that Liz had been a victim of sexual violence years before, and the birthing process triggered her depression.
At first, Liz was embarrassed to tell people that she had postpartum depression. “I didn’t want them to think I was, I don’t know, lesser than, or not a good partner or parent, which it has nothing to do with any of that. And I was getting help and doing all the right things, so I think it made me an awesome parent and partner. But it was still just difficult.”
However, identifying her postpartum depression as well as sharing the news about it with friends, colleagues and family members was eventually healing for Liz. “As I shared and I got some of the weight off my shoulders, it just, everything got better, you know? So if I could do that for someone else, it would feel really good.”
Liz now shares her story about her recovery in hopes of helping others and wholeheartedly embraces the title of “activist.” “It really matters,” she says. “The fights are worth fighting.”
And because of the preparations Liz and her husband made, and the work Liz did in therapy to process her history of trauma, she enjoyed the postpartum period with her second baby.
“Liz’s Story” is the second in our five-part OC87 Recovery Diaries series titled “Holding Space: Stories of Maternal Mental Health.” The series presents five individuals who tell of touching, challenging journeys with postpartum depression and perinatal anxiety and mood disorders (PMADS). We hope you enjoy these stories and share widely.
Special thanks go to Perri Shaw Borish, psychotherapist, founder of Whole Heart Maternal Mental Health and project advisor to this series.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: Gabriel Nathan | EDITOR: Glenn Holsten | DESIGN: Leah Alexandra Goldstein | PUBLISHER: Bud Clayman
See Related Recovery Stories: Anxiety, Depression, Holding Space: Stories of Maternal Mental Health, Mental Health Short Films