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Entries in baby blues (3)

Sunday
Jun142015

Raising Awareness of Postpartum Depression 

On Saturday, June 20th I'll be joining Postpartum Progress' Climb Out of the Darkness in a hike to raise awareness of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, psychosis and more. I will be hiking one of my favorite bay area hikes. 

Mothers across the globe will join together to climb mountains and hike trails to represent their symbolic rise out of the darkness of maternal mental illness and into the light of hope and recovery. I'm proud that I will be one of those climbers! 

Nearly five years ago I struggled with PPD after the birth of my first child Reese. Although it was a long time ago I remember that time in my life like it was yesterday. It was dark, scary and sad. Opposite of what I imagined feeling after bringing home my baby. Fortunately it was a brief period in my life but I will always honor it and continue to share my story with anyone who will listen because the more people who know about this stuff, the more other moms and families will have support. 

I am still so thankful everyday for the love and support from my husband, family and friends. 

Some things to keep in mind: 
  • One in every seven women gets a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like PPD 
  • Prenatal mood and anxiety disorders can show up any time during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after birth.
  • Only 15% of women with postpartum depression ever receive professional treatment. This means about 850,000 women each year are not getting the help they need
Please take a moment to visit the Post Progress website to learn more. If you'd like to support the cause and or join in helping me fundraise, please visit my fundraising page.  

 

Thank you! 

Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise

Tuesday
Mar012011

When Reality of Motherhood isn’t Sublime: Diagnosed with Postpartum Depression 

 It’s taken me a long time to write this particular blog post, in part, because I didn’t know what, or how to say it, and in part, because it’s so personal. I have decided to share my experience dealing with postpartum depression (PPD) because it’s an important topic. A topic that is sometimes hard to grasp, especially when it involves bringing home a new baby – a time that is supposed to be one of the happiest in a family’s life. Or maybe it’s because society places so much pressure on the idea of the “perfect mother” and anything less than perfect is inadequate and makes you an unfit mother. I feel like there is stigma attached to PPD. I felt awful when I’d get asked, “So how’s everything going?” I wanted to respond, “Really great, loving every moment!” And to people I was not that close with I think I might have lied because I wanted it to be true, but to family and friends I was very open with them about having such a hard time. Anyway, here is my story.

I was aware of postpartum depression (PPD) before having a baby but never did I think it could happen to me. The concept was distant and unfathomable, which is why it took me a while to come to terms with. The reality is that between 13 percent and 15 percent of new mothers experience depression.

After my doctor diagnosed me with PPD, I was a bit embarrassed and somewhat ashamed…upset that I wasn’t handling motherhood the way I had imagined. While most little girls dreamed of their wedding day, I dreamed of bringing home a baby and starting my family. I envisioned being a new mother to be super easy for me…like I could do it with my eyes closed. Boy, was I in for a dose of what was to be my reality for the first couple of months, and then again at four months.

When The Pieces Came Tumbling Down

I wasn’t diagnosed with PPD until Tazzy was about four months old. My doctor said that PPD can happen within the first year of having a baby. I think back and realize now that there were certainly signs of a bad case of the Baby Blues (which impacts up to 80 percent of new moms), leading up to this. I had some really great days and some really bad ones.

During the first month I dealt with a colicky baby that resisted sleep, complications from my c-section, and complications from breastfeeding. I cried A LOT…everyday. I was overwhelmed and felt like the rug had been pulled from under me. I remember crying in my own Mother’s arms, sobbing really, saying, “She [my baby] hates me. She won’t stop crying. It’s not supposed to be this way.” All I wanted was to be happy like the seemingly happy new Moms I’d seen out and about with their newborns fast asleep in the stroller. I was envious of the new Mothers who could tote their new babies around easily. And to top it off, there was this unspoken tension in my house - something that my husband and I have never experienced before. My husband is the most patient person and ultimate problem solver. I could see frustration written all over his face each time his attempts at calming our screaming baby didn’t work. It shattered my heart every time.

It was hard for me to leave the house. I wasn’t emotionally prepared to deal with Taz’s crying in the stroller, in the car seat, pretty much anywhere we went until after a couple months when she was at least comforted in my arms. I knew that my family didn’t necessarily understand this part and thought I needed to get out more but I didn’t budge at their attempt to get me out. I needed to do things on my own time.

During months one and two I focused on only the good days. I had a ton of support from family and friends. It’s how I kept myself from losing my mind. And finally at about month three I started to feel better. I felt relieved and happy.  

When the $hit Really Hit the Fan

Then, coming on four months, I started to feel unmotivated to leave the house again, really tired (which didn’t seem right since Tazzy was sleeping 12 hours at night) and I’d have awful crying spells that would last for hours at a time…and for no reason. There were days I’d feel numb but put on a smile because that is what I felt I needed to do. I guess I felt like if I put on a smile then everything would be better. So FYI…for anyone who saw pictures on Facebook during the early months, I can assure you that the pics were taken on one of the good days.

But I knew something was really wrong about four months in when I was standing in line at my local Walgreens, tears streaming down my face, followed by uncontrolled sobbing as I ran out of the store thinking, “It would be so much easier if I weren’t here.” WTF?@#! I freaked out at this thought and when I got home shared what I was feeling with my husband. He was worried and recommended I call my doctor immediately.

When I finally talked with my doctor I explained that logically I knew everything was great. Really! Tazzy was doing so well -- sleeping 12 hours through the night, which meant I got a good night’s rest, breast feeding was going wonderfully, she was a healthy happy baby, which was a big change from the first couple months of her life and I was starting to feel like myself (on good days) etc.

Within a week of being diagnosed with PPD and starting a very low dosage of Zoloft, I felt pretty much back to my normal self. I’m still taking Zoloft and will continue to take the meds for another couple of months. My doctor assured me that this would not impact my milk supply. I now feel 100% back to normal and am filled with joy every day. I haven’t cried in months (except during a couple movies) :)

Why Don’t New Mom’s Talk About the Not so Good Days?

I can only speak from my own experience and also from what I’ve heard from others who (only after I shared my experience), shared similar experiences. Not only was I somewhat disappointed at myself for not coping with the transition of becoming a new Mom, but on the really bad days I was ashamed at myself for resenting the situation, which made me feel like an unfit parent, because while I didn’t resent my daughter, I did resent the difficult times brought upon me. I felt helpless, lost, and out of control. Why would I want to admit that to anyone including myself?? There were nights I would cry myself to sleep telling my husband, I just don’t think I can do this…” He would hold me in his arms and assure me that we’d get through this. There is no other person on this earth I could have imagined going through this with. I feel so lucky to be married to my definition of the best husband. And finally, I feel so lucky and honored to have Tazzy as my baby girl. I am the proud and doting mother that I imagined I’d always be. But it took time…

Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Why didn’t anyone tell me?! I have some really close girlfriends who went through the baby blues. When I ask them why they didn’t share, one said, “Because you wouldn’t have understood.” I don’t think it’s a concept one can understand until they are in the moment. Ugh! I still wish I’d had an idea of what could and did happen. Another friend said, “I just didn’t want to burst your bubble. Since I’ve known you, you’ve always wanted babies and I knew you couldn’t wait to be a Mother. And not everyone who has a baby has such a hard time at first…” Okay, I get this but again, I would have liked to know.

I’m not trying to scare anyone who may be expecting soon or plan on having kids. All I’m doing is sharing a little of my story and trying shed light on an important matter that I don’t think gets talked about enough. I’m being very open with family and friends and pretty much anyone who asks, about what it was like for me the first few months. And I can do it with a smile because I’m having the time of my life! My standard line is, “The first few months were really hard for me. It wasn’t as fun as I’d hoped and now things are great and couldn’t be better!” If only I had known some of the things that I know now. But I guess that would have been too easy J I’m loving motherhood more than I could have ever imagined. My husband and I didn’t know we could love anyone like we love our baby girl.

Did you experience baby blues or postpartum depression? Or do you know anyone who did?

Some interesting facts below:

  • Depression is a common problem during and after pregnancy. Approximately 13 percent to 15 percent of pregnant women and new mothers experience depression.
  • Postpartum depression affects Dads too.
  • Celebs including, Brooke Shields, Courteney Cox, Gwyneth Paltrow and Amanda Pete are just a few who have shared their story with the public.
  • Symptoms can appear any time during pregnancy and the first 12 months after childbirth.
  • Symptoms differ for everyone and might include the following.
    • Feelings of anger or irritability
    • Lack of interest in the baby
    • Appetite and sleep disturbance
    • Crying and sadness
    • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
    • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
    • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
Wednesday
Sep292010

Where’s the Motherly Love?

Towards the end of my pregnancy my curiosity has gotten the best of me and I’ve taken to reading up books on babies, parenting, breastfeeding, poops – you name it, I’ve probably read about it. Last night I learned that the pressure new moms in the U.S. feel to bounce back and get their lives in order is definitely not the norm across the globe…and most likely the reason why postpartum depression and baby blues rates are so much higher here. In fact, 50 to 85 percent of new mothers in developed countries like the U.S. get the baby blues while it’s unheard of in some parts of the world.

The article goes on to call it the “Reverse Cinderella Syndrome” stating pregnant women are given so much attention while carrying the baby. Doors are opened for them, seats offered on buses, friends give baby showers. There are the regular prenatal visits and inquiries from friends and family on how she is feeling. However, once the baby is born, that focus shifts to the baby. She may be out of the hospital in 48 hours and most likely they didn’t even ask if she had help at home!

In other countries it’s typical for new mothers to have a lying-in period where they regain their strength in solitude with the baby and with help from other mothers on nursing and infant care techniques. In these countries, they “mother the mother” by paying her special attention and helping her adjust. Some don’t even embark from their homes until three months after the birth.

The article quotes the authors of the book, “What to Expect in the First Year” saying for new mothers, particularly in the U.S., the transition of birthing a child is like “the pregnant princess has become the postpartum peasant with a wave of the obstetrician’s hand.”

This got me thinking…I definitely already feel pressure to resume a normal life as quickly as possible after having the baby. But, should I? Is it more normal for my body and mind to slowly adjust rather than springing into action? Any thoughts on the topic by moms or dads on the pressure to portray a perfect bounce back from birth?