Ali Fedotowsky says she hit a breaking point after "months of no breaks and little sleep."
In a new interview with Fit Pregnancy, Ali says that she took on too much when her daughter was first born.
“For the first eight months of Molly’s life, we never had anyone else watch her—not even a family member,” she says in the interview. “After months of no breaks and little sleep, I legit had a mental breakdown. I remember I was in our kitchen, crying to [my husband] Kevin on the phone, saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I need help.’ I was holding Molly. She was screaming. I was screaming. It was like out of a movie—I lost my mind.”
Ali says she and Kevin eventually learned to ask for help, saying "whether it meant leaning on friends or calling our moms and asking them to fly out and stay with us for a week.” Now, the couple has a part-time nanny who helps out a few times a week.
Ali doesn’t say that she suffered from postpartum depression (PPD), but Karen Kleiman, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the Postpartum Stress Center, says that not allowing someone to care for your baby for eight months is a “red flag.” “That’s not okay,” she says. “Clinically, we would ask why.”
Kleiman says it’s completely normal for new parents to be nervous about having someone else, even a family member, watch your baby, but making the decision to never have someone else watch your child could be a sign of anxiety associated with postpartum depression.
“What we often see is that things may not be going well for several months and, in retrospect, a woman realizes that they were depressed,” says Tamar Gur, M.D., Ph.D., a women's health expert and reproductive psychiatrist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “They can have an ‘a-ha’ moment that makes them seek help. It’s very rare for this just to happen out of the blue.”
Again, it can be hard to realize that you’re struggling with PPD, but Gur says there’s a distinct difference between experiencing “the baby blues,” which an estimated 80 percent of women go through, and PPD. The baby blues typically happen within the first two weeks after delivery—women may cry more often than usual, wonder what they go themselves into, and feel fine one moment and overwhelmed the next. With PPD, which impacts about 20 percent of new moms, it can stretch on beyond that time period and include feelings of hopelessness, isolation, being overwhelmed, and not enjoying things anymore. At that point, it’s important to seek help, Gur says—and that can be as simple as asking your ob-gyn for a referral to a counselor or searching online for a local moms group that specializes in PPD.
Kleiman says it’s important to know the signs of PPD because women can go for months with the condition and not know it. PPD is real and it’s serious. If you suspect you’re suffering from it, tell someone you trust and ask for help—you can get better.