As a mummy blogger, Tori Block is no stranger to sharing all aspects of her life online. And while she prides herself on portraying an authentic account of parenthood, rarely do moments like the one seen her most recent Instagram post make it to her feed.
The photo in question shows the California-based mum experiencing an agonising emotional breakdown while struggling to breastfeed her young son.
“This is a picture I most likely will not keep up for very long,” she captioned the shot.
“This is me, at my peak of my postpartum depression. I asked Shiloh [my husband] 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.”
Thankfully, Tori managed to pull herself out of this dark mindset with a help of a therapist, psychiatrist and her loved ones. But looking back, she remembers how overwhelmed she felt by her new responsibility as a mother.
“I remember perfectly the pain I felt, the dread of waking up every day, the physical pain that engulfed me from thoughts in my brain,” she wrote.
“I had never known a consuming, mind-altering emotion such as this that flooded every fibre 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. 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,” she continued. “But there it was, and I kicked its f*cking ass and beat it to the ground before I let it consume me, or much worse, take my life.”
Now, she wants her photo to serve as a reminder to other mums that we need to talk about this “silent killer.”
“Postpartum depression doesn’t discriminate, it can happen to anyone,” she told HuffPost UK. “And being open and speaking the truth about this very possible kind of depression can prevent it, or lessen the severity.”
“Breaking down the walls of the stigmas attached to mental health is the first step in changing how we view it. Maybe if it were more widely talked about then I wouldn’t have gone so deep into the depression I was in, and I would not have felt so alone.”
Since it was first shared last week, Tori’s post has garnered hundreds of comments from parents praising her for shedding light on the disease. Today, one in ten new mothers are affected by postpartum depression.
“I feel this photo with my soul,” one user wrote. “The amount of nights I cried myself and my baby to sleep; the feedings where I sat just like this crying in pain and in rejection, hating that I was feeling regretful, hating that I wanted to not be near my partner or my baby, hating that it was so different and so much harder than I ever could have imagined. But like you, I fought and I came back.”
Another added: “Never delete this. I want to give you a huge hug. I felt like this whilst breastfeeding my one-week-old child feeling blue and overwhelmed. You’ve made me feel… I don’t even know what but I’m sure my heart beat a bit faster.”