Lufkin mom lends support to others dealing with postpartum depression

Lufkin mom lends support to others dealing with postpartum depression
Source: Chasity Boatman
Source: Chasity Boatman
Source: KTRE staff
Source: KTRE staff

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - When Chasity and and Chris Boatman had their child Benjamin, it was the happiest day of their lives.

"I was so excited," Chasity said. "He was so perfect."

That happiness would soon disappear for the first-time mother.

"I had an emergency C-section so I didn't get to hold him right away," Chasity said. "We also had complications with breastfeeding. We were OK at the hospital but then we went home and it was just the two of us raising this child."

After several weeks, Chasity would spiral into a dark place.

"I was isolating myself," she said. "I wasn't wanting to talk to family members or friends. I wasn't feeling any sense of joy out of anything. In general I just had this overwhelming sense that I had failed my child."

As her depression worsened, Chasity would soon have suicidal thoughts and every day tasks begin to bother her.

"I stopped taking showers," Boatman said. "I sat there and said to myself, 'This would be an easy way to die.' That's a terrifying thought to have. To idealize death and think that it was a nice release because you are so overwhelmed with sadness and anxiety."

Chasity would hit rock bottom when she found herself preparing to swallow a lot of pills in order to kill herself. Her son's smile though reminded her that there was still hope.

"He just looked so perfect in his crib and I was like, 'I can't do that to him,'" Chasity said. "He can't grow up without a mom."

Boatman also felt guilty about leaving Chris behind to raise their son.

"I couldn't bring myself to tell him what I was going to do," she said. "I had a suicide hotline saved in my phone so I just pulled it up and slid the phone over to him. It was hard to admit I had failed. I am a perfectionist. I was worried they were going to judge me and think less of me. I loved my son with all my heart, I just didn't know how to control my emotions."

Chris would step in and help with whatever was asked of him.

"He was amazing," Chasity said. "He listened to me and was so supportive. He looked up things about postpartum depression and he went to all my meetings with me."

With the support of her family and doctor, Chasity would start counseling sessions and be put on anti-depressant medicine. She was told she had postpartum depression. According to the American Psychological Association, up to 16 percent of women experience the form of depression after giving birth.

"It's hard to see anyone you know going through a tough time," Chris said. " You just got to be there. . Even if you don't do much talking, listening can be a really powerful thing."

After about three months of treatment, Chasity said one day everything was different.

"I just woke up and felt different," she said. "The trees looked greener and the wind feels so nice. I'm going to take my son out to the park and we're just going to have a really good time. For the first time I got that surge of energy."

Through all of her journey, Boatman turned to her love for writing as an escape from the pain she was feeling.

"I have always loved writing," Chasity said. "It gave me a release from everything."

Chasity started a blog called Every Child is a Blessing. Her blog focuses on everything from her own struggles to the struggles of other parents. A recent post about rainbow babies received national attention from major newspapers and national television stations.

"It has been amazing," Boatman said. ""I'm blown away. I'm just thrilled that it has allowed these women to start that conversation."

"It's great that she can turn to her writing and help others," Chris said.

Boatman said the success of her blog is because there is a real need for discussion over postpartum depression and other talks.

"It's conversations we don't allow people to have," she said. "People get uncomfortable and they silence those women, so I think there is just a lot of shame and guilt that goes along with it. They turn to these internet communities for that support and many of them open up for the first time online."

Millions of views later Chasity is using her experience to show others there is a glimmer of hope in dark times.

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