Postpartum depression can involve a wide array of symptoms: fear of not being a good mother, sadness, and even disinterest in the baby. But for Tova Leigh, the signs weren't obvious at first.
Leigh wrote in a post on Facebook that she spent the first three months of her daughter's life hovering over her cot, making sure to see that she was still breathing.
"I remember sitting there, shattered and broken and utterly exhausted but I just couldn't let go," she wrote. "The fear that something might happen to her, and the overwhelming love I felt made me completely crazy and although I knew I was being ridiculous — I just couldn't help myself."
Leigh's husband, Mike, would beg her to go to sleep, promising to watch over their daughter while she slept.
"It felt like I was slowly losing my mind," she said. "Like everything was foggy and unreal. I felt alone and desperate and I didn't know what was wrong with me. But mainly, I didn't realise I needed help."
"That's what PPD looked like for me for the first three months after giving birth to my first baby."
According to the American Psychological Association, up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression. In addition to sadness and disinterest, symptoms can also include anxiety, inability to sleep, and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Despite how common it is, PPD often remains undiscussed.
Leigh is opening up about her postpartum depression, she wrote, because "I want you to know the signs. I want you to know that for each woman, they may look different. I want you to look out for them, and look after the new mommas, because they may need your help more than you think."
Above all else, she hopes that her story can inspire others to seek help if they need it.
"There is no shame in asking for help," she wrote.
Refinery29 has reached out to Leigh for comment and will update this article with her response.
If you are experiencing postpartum depression, please call the Postpartum Support Helpline at 1-800-944-4773.
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