Disclaimer: As someone who had ’em, PPD and PPA and other legit postpartum concerns do exist. It’s a life-saving good that people are talking about them more and, more importantly, getting help for them.


I still hang out quite a bit on subreddits for new parents, and it’s been really interesting watching the way people talk about PPD/PPA change over the past decade. It was still just becoming not taboo to talk about it when I was in the trenches, beyond the tenured term ‘baby blues.’ It’s MUCH more common to recognize it, talk about it, and seek help for it now, which is an unequivocal good… but I’m also seeing it suggested for so many new mothers who are probably, for lack of a better term, really just going through it.

I think it’s harder to be a new parent now than it was ten years ago. The economic insecurity and cost of living are only worse, the politics are absolutely rank, it’s now nearly impossible to ignore the way our climate is changing, too many manosphere pundits are yanking the Overton window in breathtakingly horrible directions… and ALSO, there was this whole global pandemic thing that really took the bloom off the rose and entrenched a lot of already existing problems with the gendered division of labour.

It’s also just… genuinely difficult to be a new mother. A LOT of labour falls on them – both by biological necessity (breastfeeding, recovery, infant wake/sleep cycles) and societally (much of unpaid domestic labour is still considered our responsibility, the expectation we will ‘get back to work’, isolation from communities and practices we’d normally turn to for help, etc). And all this at a time when we should be being taken care of ourselves, as recovery from birth is a huge, energy-sapping endeavour on its own.

In short: shit’s just… genuinely bad out there. Maybe new mothers are completely and utterly justified with feeling angry, being overwhelmed, in despair, having intrusive thoughts of violence, and yes, even depressed and anxious… and that it doesn’t ALWAYS mean there’s something wrong with them. In fact, that these emotions may even be the rational consequence of being brought to ones absolute breaking point by a society that simply does not care for you.

There is a difference between your literal actual brain chemistry being unbalanced and simply living in a world where there is so little support, and so little hope, that despair and anxiety are its natural conclusion. And it’s a disservice to these new mothers to dismiss their cries for help and tell them they need to ‘work on their self-care’ when what they really need is a better world.

Or, failing that, a fucking nap.


Panel 1 (A monologue broken into several speech bubbles, overlaid over a tired-looking woman speaking)
Woman: I’m… having a really hard time adjusting to motherhood. I love my baby, but I’m exhausted and sad all the time. Even though my deliver was ‘okay’, I’m still bleeding. Breastfeeding is painful, and my downstairs is a mess. I gained so much weight. I’ll never ‘get my body back’ like I’m supposed to. My husband works, so I do all the feedings and take care of the baby and the pets alone all day. Sometimes people come over, but that’s hard too because I have to clean and entertain. I do the laundry and the groceries and go to all the appointments. I take care of my aging parents. I’m always researching the best ways to do things. And I know I’m supposed to wait six weeks, but my husband keeps talking about ‘his needs’ when I haven’t even showered! My leave is almost over; part of me hates leaving my baby, but if I lose my job we’ll lose everything. But daycare is expensive too! And the state of the world is terrifying! I just lie away, thinking of all the things I have to do and wishing I had help. Is it supposed to be this hard?! Is there something wrong with me?

Panel 2 (A doctor speaks to the woman)
Doctor: Oh yeah, sounds like your brain is sick. We’ll get you on some medication. Maybe talk to someone. Someone else, I mean. Not me. Next!