A Tennessee mom has shared an honest post about her experience coming to terms with postpartum depression, and what she’s doing to help other mothers. 

On March 26, Ashley French (known as The Wino Workout Wife online) posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook showing her and her son, Colby, on his first birthday. In her post, the mom of two, who lives in Knoxville, Tennessee, questioned how she could feel sad when her kids, or “miracle blessings,” brought her so much “unspeakable joy.”

The reason was postpartum depression, which French was diagnosed with in July 2016, four months after welcoming Colby.

You want the TRUTH? The whole TRUTH? And nothing BUT the truth? . In all the celebrating we’ve done this past week for this guys first birthday, there’s also been a lot of tears. Tears of frustration, tears of sadness, tears of unhappiness. All tears that I’m trying to turn into happy tears. . Ya see, a few months after this little ball of joy was brought into our lives, I was diagnosed with post-partum depression. And the truth?? It FREAKING SUCKS. . It’s a constant mind battle. WHAT THE HELL DO I HAVE TO BE DEPRESSED ABOUT? I have two miracle blessings that bring unspeakable joy to my life every second of every day. They are my world. My ENTIRE world. And yet, I have days where I can’t see past the next 5 minutes. I doubt everything I think I know. My abilities to be a mother. My strength to overcome it. My own self-worth. . Post-partum depression SUCKS. It’s comes and goes like the East Tennessee weather, and leaves the damage of a tornado for me to try to pick back up. I struggle with this wayyyyyy more than I admit to, and I think it’s time to not only bring light to that, but to join forces with other mommas and work TOGETHER to find that peace with ourselves… PPD or not. . Starting in April, I’m going to do something I have never done before, but something that I am uber excited to explore. I’m going to be hosting a group of mommas (near and far) who struggle with the day to day battle of making time for ourselves and finding the peace within us. We are going to focus on carving out time in the MORNING (while the rest of the house sleeps😴😴) to make time for US. Whether you have 5 minutes or 55, this group will work to help you find your own inner strength, set your day up for success, and put YOU back on your priority list. I’m calling it, the “miracle momma morning” and I’m looking for any other mommas (of both humans and animals😉) to join forces and UNITE to take on the morning, so that we can be the miracle mommas we all are. It’s completely FREE, and the only thing I ask is that you bring a willingness to set your alarm a few minutes earlier than normal. No snoozing allowed😂 (Keep reading in the comments)

A post shared by ⭐️A S H L E Y F R E N C H⭐️ (@winoworkoutwife) on

“Postpartum depression SUCKS,” French wrote in her post. “It’s [sic] comes and goes like the East Tennessee weather, and leaves the damage of a tornado for me to try to pick back up.”

At first, French was in denial that she had postpartum depression. She told The Huffington Post she didn’t fit what she thought was the “classic mold” of a depressed person. 

“I didn’t feel like doom and gloom all day,” she said. “I had no appetite changes. I had no negative or harmful thoughts of myself or my children. Those were all things that I thought postpartum depression was.”

French’s symptoms included feeling anxious and becoming impatient with even the tiniest mishaps. She also had intrusive thoughts she couldn’t control.

“One minute I’m watching the news, and the next thing I know I’m imagining my life with these two children if my husband died. That’s not normal,” she told HuffPost. “I became anxious in my ability to take care of two children, I started to doubt my abilities to be a mother, and I started to become a parent I didn’t want to be.”

Now that she’s been diagnosed, French has committed to speaking openly about her experience. She told HuffPost that before her diagnosis she didn’t know anyone with postpartum depression, but now has heard from many moms who have offered support.

She has also been inspired by a book titled “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. It motivated her to make herself a priority by having “me time” in the mornings. She now wakes up an hour earlier to give herself a pep talk, visualize her day, work out for 30 minutes, shower and have a cup of coffee before her kids are awake. 

“You have to fill your own cup before you can properly fill others, and this morning routine allows me to do just that,” she said.

French has invited moms who “struggle with the day-to-day battle of making time” for themselves to come together for what she calls “Miracle Momma Morning.”

“It’s starting next Monday, April 17, and is open to anyone, no matter location,” she said. “There has been a great interest in it so far, especially from other mommas who crave that ‘me time’ in their day, and just haven’t been able to find it yet.”

French told HuffPost she has also dealt with an eating disorder in the past and has had multiple miscarriages. By being vocal about these experiences as well as her postpartum depression, she wants to encourage other women to not feel ashamed for experiencing any of these things. She has also vowed to keep fighting the stigma surrounding postpartum depression.

“We need to talk about this issue and bring it to the light so that mothers know they don’t need to suffer in silence.”

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