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Entries in postpartum depression (9)

Monday
Jun152015

Guest Post - Why I Wanted to Jump: My Journey into Postpartum Psychosis and Back Again

 

In the honor of raising awareness of postpartum depression I'm sharing this post written by my very brave friend and fellow mother, Lisa Abramson. Lisa is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Mindfulness Based Achievement and has a beautiful little girl. She has shared her story of dealing with postpartum depression and psychosis and today I get to share with our readers. Thank you Lisa for your candid honesty and bravery! The more we talk about these real life experiences, the more we can support others in what they might be dealing with.

 

Why I Wanted to Jump: My Journey into Postpartum Psychosis and Back Again

By Lisa Abramson

Shortly after the birth of my daughter, I spent 10 days locked in the psych ward of the hospital after my postpartum depression and psychosis made me suicidal. In my altered psychotic state, I thought my house was bugged and the police were coming to arrest me for a crime for which I was wrongly accused. I thought the only way out of my crisis was to kill myself, so I told my mom and husband that I was going to go jump off the Golden Gate Bridge.

 My delusions heightened while I was in the hospital and I remember my mother bringing me gloves and some of my favorite spiced pecans and thinking she’s trying to give me hidden messages… I thought everything had a double meaning and I thought she was telling me “I’m nuts” and that the trial for my imagined crime was coming up and that since the gloves she bought me did indeed fit, they would never acquit me. None of what was going on made any sense but my blurred “reality” terrified me and also felt so real. In fact, I was practically mute for the first five days in the psych hospital.

In the hospital, I remember my husband bringing me a printed copy of the Postpartum Support International website so he could explain that I had a disorder called Postpartum Psychosis. I thought my husband had created a fake website for me to make me feel better about myself and I didn’t realize that postpartum psychosis was a real thing. I had all of the symptoms ranging from having delusions, strange beliefs, hallucinations, paranoia and suspiciousness to feeling very irritated, being unable to sleep and having rapid mood swings and difficulty communicating.

It’s one thing to admit all of this to my friends, it’s another thing to share it with the world, which is why I’ve been dragging my feet for months. I wish I could just neatly hide my postpartum experience in the closet and have it remain hidden forever. I know it would be a heck of a lot easier to do that, but every time I share my story one on one with a friend, they tell me about their experience of having friends or family members with some type of maternal mood disorder ranging from the baby blues to depression.

Over coffee yesterday, I opened up about my experience with a new girlfriend and she shared that her sister went through a difficult time after the birth of both of her children and how it really helped to hear my story since she was concerned she too might suffer from postpartum depression. She said seeing me now, doing so well, really gave her hope that if she suffered, she also knew she could bounce back over time.

After talking with her I knew I couldn’t wait any longer, I couldn’t keep my story hidden out of fear. Especially because the shame and guilt associated with maternal mental health disorders is part of what made my experience so awful. I felt so alone, so misunderstood and so ashamed that I couldn’t handle things on my own and needed help. And it’s from the genuine hope that I can help others that I’m willing to sit with my discomfort and write this now.

So let’s start at the beginning.

I’m Lisa Abramson and I’m a survivor of postpartum depression and psychosis.

I’ve always been an ambitious and confident person. Professionally I pursued a successful career as a marketing executive and entrepreneur. By age 30 I was ready to take on my next challenge — motherhood.

People often describe me as the happiest person they know. I had never suffered from depression. I prided myself on my mental fortitude and self-sufficiency. I even thought it was a badge of honor that I had never been to therapy.

All of this changed shortly after the birth of my daughter.

On January 5, 2014 I gave birth to my perfect daughter Lucy. I loved her immediately and with all my heart.

But within a few weeks, I started to realize that something wasn’t right with me and I just couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I was not the happy go lucky woman I used to be, I was in a deep fog, I was exhausted, I was crying all the time and I started avoiding my friends.

I knew something was wrong, but I REALLY didn’t want to believe something was wrong with me. I kept telling myself that I loved Lucy so I couldn’t have postpartum depression, because I thought only mothers that didn’t bond with their babies suffered from postpartum depression.

I just didn’t know that sleep deprivation, stress and hormonal changes after birth could have such a drastic impact on my brain chemistry. I thought it was all my fault and that I had done something wrong. That I was a bad mother for experiencing this.

By February 10th, my family moved from worried into action that saved my life once I became suicidal. I spent 10 days in the psychiatric ward on 24 hour watch as the doctors and my family patiently waited for the Zyprexa, Klonopin and Zoloft to stabilize my mind.

I thought that by admitting I had postpartum depression and psychosis it was somehow admitting that I was an unfit mother. That my deep sense of sadness meant I didn’t love my daughter enough. That I wasn’t sacrificing enough, wasn’t good enough, and the list goes on. The sense of guilt at not being good enough was unbearable and the pressure of trying to fake a smile and enjoy this precious time in my daughter’s life was too much.

I feel unbelievably fortunate that with medical, therapeutic and family support, I’ve had a full recovery and no longer need to take any medications. I’ve also been able to resume my career and have a healthy, wonderful relationship with my daughter, husband and family.

I’m a survivor because I got help early, but it was a terrifying experience.

What I needed to hear and what I want to shout from the rooftop to all moms suffering from postpartum issues is:

1. It’s not your fault.

2. You’re not alone. (1 in 8 women suffer from postpartum depression)

3. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

4. It doesn’t make you a bad mother.

5. You will get better, just GET HELP RIGHT AWAY.

 

 

 

 

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
Mar102015

Why I ate my placenta 

 

You may have heard the latest trend in new mothers eating their placenta (known as Placentophagy). Two years ago, after hearing about some great success stories from folks who had done this, I decided I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. And so I had my placenta encapsulated after giving birth to my second child. 

According to Bettina Roeper, founder of Live Life Acupuncture, who encapsulated my placenta, “Placenta has been used to aid postpartum recovery by many different cultures around the world. Placenta is extremely nutritious and contains many of the vitamins, minerals and hormones that a mother's body needs to adequately recover from pregnancy and birth. It is considered rich in vitamin B, iron and protein, all of which are useful for postpartum recovery, and a particular benefit to vegetarian women. Women who have taken placenta capsules report positive results such as feeling energized and less weepy. The positive effects from using placenta pills are often felt immediately after taking the first dose.

I couldn’t agree more! The placenta pills were like magic. Unlike my first delivery, I didn’t experience baby blues or postpartum depression. My milk production was great and I felt like my hormones were much more manageable. I had a lot of energy and felt happy, even if sleep deprived. Some argue that it’s the placebo effect but I don’t care. I believe my placenta worked for me and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Bettina was recommended to me through my Mother's Group. Many Doulas offer this service as well. It was a pretty simple process. After delivery Bettina picked up my placenta (which was placed in an ice cooler filled with ice). Before encapsulation my placenta was steamed, dehydrated and ground into powder. This preparation conserves the most nutrients possible. Preparing the placenta is a pretty lengthy process and takes about 24 to 36 hrs. After this process, the placenta pills were delivered back to me at the hospital. Pure gold.

Are you grossed out? Are you considering? And what was your experience if you had your placenta encapsulated? 

 

Wednesday
Jun052013

Second Time’s The Charm

 

Mother's Day Brunch 2013Greyson is already 11 weeks and it’s been a while since I’ve posted. By the time my oldest was this age I was dealing with, and had written about so many challenges -- complications from an emergency c-section, a baby with colic, breastfeeding problems, postpartum depression, etc. I had a lot to write about because it was so H.A.R.D. In my case for not writing much lately - no news is good news!

I’m relieved and ecstatic to share that the the past 11 weeks have been amazing and so easy (comparatively speaking...because let’s face it. Raising kids is hard no matter what).

First off, my planned c-section went smoothly and my recovery was fast! I was walking comfortably within a couple weeks and feeling pretty good after a few weeks. And this time around I've had no issues with my milk supply. Phew.  

Now for the fun part. Greyson is a doll! He’s a mild-mannered sweet and happy little guy  - assuming he’s rested and fed. He loves his sleep. I’ll just put it out there... having an “easy” baby is so much fun! I remember longing for this experience. My husband and I keep asking ourselves, “Is Greyson really that easy, or is he just easy to us since we had such a hard time the first time?” Who cares, we’ll take it!!

Not so say we don’t have new challenges...

The challenges that we’re facing are not around a new baby but with helping my 3 year old daughter transition into a world where she has to share “mommy.” She’s the sweetest big sis to her little brother, however she’s expressing her frustrations and need for attention by acting out towards me... It’s mentally and physically exhausting. Every day we work on it.  Anyway, this will make a nice little post of it’s own.

For now, I wanted to share that overall, things are going well. So to all of you who assured me that the second time around wouldn’t be as hard, thank you!!

 

 

Wednesday
Nov092011

What Will/Did You Do Differently With Next Baby?

It seems like so long ago that I wrote about the neomammas and experiences with bring home a baby.

A friend asked me what I wish I would have known before Reese was born and I shared some of my blog posts with her. I came across a post I wrote on what I’ve learned on becoming a Mother and it got me thinking about some of the things I plan to do a little differently this next time around. I am not pregnant but I am very much looking forward to doing it all over again soon.

Accepting help. I will take my parents’ and in-laws’ offer to help out after the baby is born. I didn’t want help with Reese at first but I ended up needing it. Having extra hands to help with the daily house duties and cooking was a tremendous help.

Sleep training. I will work with my baby to help him/her learn to sleep sooner rather than later. Reese was colicky so this was challenging.

Breastfeeding. I was so concerned about keeping Reese on a feeding schedule (every 2-3 hours) and I found it worked better for us when I stopped worrying about it so much and fed her when I thought she was hungry. This ended up being every 2-3 hours and more in the evening.

Postpartum Depression. This is a big one. I will certainly be on the look out for this. I think since I experienced PPD, I will be more aware of the symptoms to avoid having to go through it for so long again.

Is there anything you plan to do differently with your second or third child? [Or at least try to do differently. As we know, kids are all so very different so who knows what will work and what won’t].