Alanis Morissette is no strange to having kids. The Canadian pop legend just welcomed her third child this past August. Her two other kids were born in 2010 and 2016, so it's not like motherhood is new to her.
Unfortunately, after each one of her pregnancies, Morissette has dealt with postpartum depression. Did you know that one in nine mothers are expected to experience PPD? And that your risk can be higher depending on your age, financial status, or ethnicity? It's true, and yet so often women feel like they can't talk about it. That's why Morissette wanted to pen a blog post about how she got through PPD after having each of her kids, and how moms need to be a little easier on themselves.
ahhh. i wasn’t sure if i would have post partum depression/anxiety this time around. or, as i like to call it: post partum activity. or, also: post partum tar-drenched trenches. there are so many tentacles to this experience. i will break them down in time, i have answers and protocols and solutions and RX’s to be sure. i’ll share more specifics once i have my wits back about me. hormonal. sleep deprivation. fogginess. physical pain. isolation. anxiety. cortisol.
recovery from childbirth (as beautiful and intense as mine was at home, dream birth.), integrating new angel baby with older angel babies. marriage. all kinds of PTSD triggers. overstimulation. this body. attempting to crawl back to some semi-recognizable configuration.some around my relationship with needing. reaching out. seeing how great i am at setting boundaries in some areas, but how blind-spot-ty i have been with them in others. reaching this point again where the sleeping giants of my survival strategies are being roused….the persevering. the soldiering. the show-up-no-matter-how-broken-things-feel-ing. yes, the addictions.
in my case…work addiction—over-giving. over-serving. over-do-ing. over-over-ing. all lovely qualities without the ‘over’. at worst: beautiful human qualities that are on 11 in a way that the body ultimately can’t sustain. the #invisibleload with today’s normalized cluttered lifestyle taking on epic proportions. all this said: i have been here before.i know there is another side. and the other side is greater than my PPD-riddled-temporarily-adjusted-brain could have ever imagined: as a mom. as an artist. as a wife. as a friend. as a collaborator. as a leader. as a boss. as an activist. i saw how things got richer after i came through it the last two times.
i have my eye on that prize again…even as i drag my ass through the molasses. there is so much more support this time. i knew better so i set it up to win as much as i could beforehand. support. food. friends. sun. bio-identical hormones and SSRI’s at the ready. some parts of the care-prep has been a godsend, and well-planned. but for all of this preparation—PPD is still a sneaky monkey with a machete—working its way through my psyche and body and days and thoughts and bloodwork levels. i have stopped, this time, in the middle of it. lord knows i don’t want to miss a thing..with my kids. with this funny jewel-colored life. with these miracles all around me. and lord knows i am showing up to serve and love and honor all that means so much to me. this culture is not set up to honor women properly after birth.
i see it changing, which is so heartening…but the general way is bereft of the honoring and tenderness and attunement and village-ness that post partum deeply warrants. the new mom, the new parent(s) is creating the foundation for the circumventing of so much of the pain and divisiveness that we see in the world. preventatively. we are on the ground floor of creating secure attachment. from which ALL other contributions to the world of relationships, service, politics, authentic self-expression, “success” and LOVE are borne. THIS is the epicenter. THIS is where it all begins (certainly in utero too, but more on that some other time). THIS is where the fabric of our culture, of our world, is crafted. on physical, emotional, neurobiological, chemical, spiritual, mental, existential, practical levels.
wouldn’t it be cool if we treated all post partum moms and families with this awareness and honor. even if the treadmill of the quickening of our culture didn’t change pace….that there might be a life raft of empathy toward the feminine life-givers who bear it all and give more than words can even begin to touch on. more soon. i won’t remember typing this. and i am finally realizing that that is entirely ok. so much more to write, soon. i love you. i am here. with you. we’re not alone.
Postpartum depression is not something to be ashamed of. Women all over the world deal with this common issue, and yet it's still something we are afraid to talk about. By people like Morissette speaking out on their experiences and attempting to normalize the conversation in our society, we are one step closer to giving postpartum depression the resources and platform it deserves.