For some women, the path to motherhood is not easy. Adrienne Richardson had a tough time getting pregnant, and when her son was born he spent a few days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Nevertheless, Adrienne was excited for motherhood.
"I was the obsessed new mother, I had to learn everything, I had to read every book, go to every class, and I just had to know everything and be the best mother I could be," she said.
Despite her enthusiasm, a sadness came over her once she gave birth. Everyone around her chalked it up to her son's medical issues and expected that it would eventually subside.
"I was just crying constantly. I didn't tell anyone what I was thinking, but I was thinking -- why did I want to become a mom?" she said.
Adrienne's stress and anxiety compounded by a lack of sleep led her to regret her decision to become a mother. She wanted her life back, which made her feel like a horrible person who didn’t deserve a baby.
"It escalated, and I was crying and I would constantly think, I just want to die. I don't want to deal with this," she said. "Every single day I wished I was dead."
She thought about hurting either herself or her baby and eventually those thoughts turned into physical violence against her husband. Her husband contacted her doctor who suggested that Adrienne might be suffering from postpartum depression.
As Adrienne began treatment for her postpartum depression, she started to feel the love for her child that had been missing, and she was able to bond with her son. But the illness took a toll on her life.
"It nearly ruined my marriage. It's taken nearly three years to recover from the damage it did, because he didn't understand what I was going through and he didn't know how to help me," she said. "It nearly ruined my marriage and nearly ended my life."
Adrienne's experience led her to found South Jersey MOM magazine, which gives helpful hints to new mothers on a range of issues, including postpartum depression. She devotes the May issue of the magazine to the topic each year.
"I want to educate women, to let them know that this isn't your fault, there's nothing that you can do to stop it or change it, you're not a horrible person and you're not alone."
Adrienne's Video | Video Transcript