Elizabeth Bastos is a Baltimore freelance writer and mother of two. Her work has appeared in The Rumpus, The Baltimore Sun, McSweeneys, WYPR, The Boston Globe, the Motherlode blog of The New York Times, Book Riot, and she writes an urban nature column for Baltimore Fishbowl. She is currently working on a book of essays about the Venn diagram of parenting and anxiety disorders. Her personal blog is Goody Bastos.
“I wrote about my own experiences with PPD because I wanted to exorcise the shame I felt going through it; I was mortified, I said nothing. I want to help other mothers know that there is no shame in being honest about how downright terrifying the experience of motherhood can be. I didn’t feel that I could be anything but a Hallmark card. My recovery only happened when I admitted there was a Pit of Despair, and I stopped faking that I wasn’t in it. My advice to new mothers struggling with these same feelings is to speak with loved ones early and often, no matter how ugly and monstrous the feelings are — they should not be kept in darkness, they shrink in the light of simply admitting them. Trying to be Puritan and Stoic and Ideal sucks. There is no Ideal Mother. But there is an archetype of the Courageous Mother, and that’s one who speaks up, reaches out, and holds close to what’s dear.”