You may recognize 33-year-old Australian actress Tammin Sursok her from her role as Jenna Marshall in Pretty Little Liars, but she just opened up about her role as a mother, and other moms will be able to relate to her words regarding a topic so many are ashamed to talk about: postpartum anxiety. In a powerful essay, Tammin painfully details the way postpartum anxiety hit her "like a ton of bricks" after giving birth to her daughter Phoenix in 2013.
In the essay, Tammin opens with the day of her diagnosis, the day that the doctor defined her "dreamlike state of detachment" and "never-ending slow motion horror film" with the two words "postpartum anxiety" and gave her some yellow pills (which she threw out). "Now what?" Tammin asked. "After six months of trying to figure out what was 'wrong' with me, trying to boil it down to 'just hormones' and 'just sleep deprivation' and 'just life adjustments,' I was officially branded by two words."
Like many mothers, Tammin wrote that she was never someone who asked for help. "I spent my life trying to pave my own road like a relentless, tunnel-vision warrior, reframing every painful experience into that of a positive one. But then again, I've never really suffered so much that it broke me. Suffered so much that I felt like my entire body was made of glass and a mere touch would create hairline fractures that would slowly break, like pieces of a puzzle, and take my soul away with it."
But this time she knew she needed help.
After throwing out those pills and feeling as if she failed as a mother, Tammin consciously spent time becoming herself again, and though she was aware that "motherhood is something that will forever change you," she didn't want to be this detached mom. "I spent the next three years healing," she wrote. "Through meditation, yoga, therapy, mindfulness, prayer, nutrition, and reading and connecting with others who had been through the same experience, I somehow slowly, inch by inch, rebuilt myself."
Her story is a reminder that you are not alone if you suffer emotionally after giving birth. It's incredibly important to ask for help and work toward your recovery in a healthy, supportive way.
Tammin closed her essay by explaining that her daughter is now 3-and-a-half years old and "the great days far outweigh the panic." Her final advice for other mothers? "We need to break the stigma. Lives are being lost. We need to speak up about our tales of sadness and hope and joy. We are no lesser because of it and only through heartache comes true resilience. And not to sound trite, but 'we need to be the change we want to see in the world,' and it all starts with us."