PPD PSA

09/06/2011

 
I want to share with you an article that really touched me today.  I truly believe that Post Partum Depression affects more women than we realize.  It can be hard for the woman to recognize, and some are even too ashamed to seek help.

I've always had brushes with 'the blues.'  I don't know whether to label it 'depression' or not, because I've never formally sought help.  But I do know that like clockwork (thanks mother nature), I come unglued.  For at least one week a month, I'm cranky, I weep easily, and I hate myself.  I'll snap over nothing at all and I've even contemplated "just walking away from it all" now and again.  It's awful.  I hope this isn't too TMI, but for me any fluctuation in hormones just makes me nuts.  I had to stop taking birth control pills because I was so down I was almost non-functional.  I would spend evenings weeping in the bathroom.  I would sleep nearly all day.  My husband felt like he didn't know me anymore. 

After my first two babies were born, I had the usual frustration and blues that come with sleep deprivation.  Our first had some weight loss issues and I had a LOT of healing to do after his birth - but in general, I was fine and functional again in a few weeks.  After baby #3 came along, though, things weren't ok.  I was overwhelmed dealing with 3 kids under the age of 3, and even though our newborn really was a sweet angel and was very much an 'easy baby,' I still felt out of control.  I became the mom that screamed - really screamed - at my kids.  Every little thing made me crazy.  I felt like I had completely lost my sense of identity and that the last thing I wanted was to be "mommy" for even one more day.  I cried all the time and felt like a terrible mother.  I had days I actually contemplated calling a sitter, packing my bags, and leaving my family to someone who could 'care for them better.'  Around 3.5-4 months post-partum, I actually began to fantasize about hurting myself.  Never suicidal, but I actually dreamed about inflicting pain on myself.  I'd been too afraid to say anything to anyone - I thought they'd tell me I was being silly and that I just needed to 'suck it up.'  I already felt spoiled because we had a part time nanny who gave me a break for 9 hours a week.  And I had good days where I was in control.  I didn't think anything was really wrong.  Until one days it clicked with me.  All the pamphlets I'd read said "if you ever think of hurting your child or yourself, seek professional help." 

I was just about to pick up the phone and find a professional counselor when, seemingly over night, I felt better.  The sun shone again, I felt joy again, life felt almost, well, normal.  I even started to feel good about myself.  I feel SO blessed that things cleared up for me like that.  Sure, I still have a rough day, but overall, I have hope.  However, I do wish that I'd sought counseling as soon as I'd started to despair.  I missed so much time with my daughter (and my older sons) that I will never get back  because I was too sad and despairing to enjoy them.  I don't want ANYone to go through what I went through - and I know I had a pretty mild case. 

So I want to recommend When the Bough Breaks: Ending the Stigma, Shame and Silence of Postpartum Mood Disorders  to everyone.  If this is you now, please seek help.  If you know someone who might have PPD - please reach out to them.  Thanks for taking the time to read my little PSA!
 


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