A mother has shared a powerful photo that captures her struggle with postnatal depression in a bid to encourage others to speak up about their own experiences.
A problem that affects more than one in every 10 women, according to the NHS, postnatal depression is common among mothers within a year of giving birth.
But despite its prevalence, the condition is rarely discussed publicly or without undue judgment.
However, one mother is on a mission to remind us just how important it is to talk about this silent killer.
Tori Block, from California, US, is used to sharing her parenting journey online, and while she prides herself on portraying motherhood authentically, rarely do moments as emotive as her latest photo the cut.
Although postnatal depression can look different for every mother, Block wanted to share her personal experience and posted an image of her breastfeeding her son, Bodhi, as she broke down into tears.
“This is a picture I most likely will not keep up for very long. This is me, at the peak of my postpartum depression,” she wrote.
“I asked Shiloh to take a picture of me, so I could remember how far I’d come, if I ever came out of it. I was lower than low, I wasn’t even myself.”
While she has thankfully overcome her postnatal depression, Block goes on to explain that she has never forgotten the pain that came with it.
“Looking back at this photo I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread in waking up everyday, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain. I had never known consuming, mind altering emotion such as this that flooded every fiber of my being, making its way through my veins like a plague.
“This is what postpartum depression looks like, or at least what it did for me.”
In the candid caption, Block continues to describe how bad her postnatal depression became and just how vulnerable it can make you feel at your lowest point.
“I didn’t want to leave this life, but it seemed like the only way that would rid me of the pain I was in. I didn’t ask for it, it wasn’t welcome. But there it was, and I kicked its fucking ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life.”
The mother’s honest post aims to let other women in the same situation know they’re not alone and encourage them to speak more openly about their own experiences.
And, it has done just that. Since posting, Block’s image has been liked almost 3,000 times and flooded with comments from people sharing how postnatal depression has affected them.
“This is such a strong photo. I have been there. Took me a while to admit I was suffering as I wanted to believe I was fine. But this photo was just how I felt. Thank you for sharing,” one person wrote.
Another added, “This post touched my heart so much and has explained everything perfectly. Postpartum is a real scary thing to go through and it breaks my heart some women think they have to battle it alone. I have finally beaten it myself and have never felt so free.”
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