Postpartum Depression And The Myth of Superwoman

by Gwen Cherne


Today I unraveled. It all just got to me. My husband traveling for eight weeks, my 8-month-old not sleeping for more than two hours at a time, for a week. My seams unravel more often than I like to admit, but this time they unraveled (disintegrated), and I just couldn’t keep up. I locked myself in the bathroom for a good five minutes, twice today.


I called my husband, three dear friends and my mom. I then called my counselor and the early childhood center. I felt defeated. I felt exhausted. I felt lost. I felt really, really sad. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I just could not get a handle on things.

After two hours of being on the phone, I had set up a counseling session, an appointment at the early childhood center, and two friends coming over to help me during the week.


Every single time. I talked to an intake officer, they asked if I had family close by who could help out. Every single time. I responded after a full 30 seconds of sobs, “Yes and no is the answer.” I have friends who are family, but no, they cannot just drop everything and come and give me a few hours to sleep. They have shift work, four kids, a newborn, a new cafe, a clinic to run, jobs and lives. It is just not that easy.

No Judgment.

As I sit here with the voice in my head that just will not stop, I try to let the emotions be cars passing by, with no judgment. I try to just let them come and go without chasing after them. (Thank you Headspace for this technique.) I try to go back to my daily meditation. I then try to find that soft place in my head and my heart that embraces compassion for everyone else, and offer myself some compassion as well.

1 in 7.

Postpartum depression effects one in seven moms. I officially call bullshit on that statistic. No way is it that low. No way do six out of seven of us not end up somewhere on that scale at some point in the first year of our babies’ lives. Most of us suffer in silence—not surprising, I know. As I have been sharing my story, I keep finding more and more moms who admit that at least once they have felt just like this.


I am in the process of mending this ripped seam that feels like all of my insides are exposed for the world to see, and judge. I am doing it by reaching out. I am doing it by looking in. I am doing it by not judging myself. I am doing it, one breath at a time. I am doing it by dancing in my kitchen with my kids and walking on the beach with my friends.

Not Superwoman.

I will mend these seems by reminding first myself and then everyone around me that I am not Superwoman, and I don’t want to be. I am strong, but I need support and love too. I can still get up and go to work everyday. I can still look after my family and my kids and myself. I can laugh and cry and fall apart and sew up the seams one stitch at a time. I can put my big girl boots on and get on with living.

Just, please stop calling me Superwoman, it is not helping, and it is not true. And, every mom out there, please join me in not being Superwoman too.