Archives for February 2011

PPD: You Can Do This. We Can Help.

I have been writing this blog for almost 7 years now. So long that it's easy for me to forget that many of you have just found it, or are just coming here for the first time. If you are here because you are pregnant or just had a baby in the last year and you think something is wrong, I'm so glad you found us. You might be scared out of your wits, or completely miserable and disappointed, or numb. It doesn't matter. We love you no matter how you feel or what you are thinking.

We've been there.

We know that many, many women get postpartum depression and related illnesses. Many more than people think.

We know that there are a wide variety of symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety. We don't all look the same.

We try to make it our business to give you the hope and inspiration you need to get through postpartum depression, and to connect you to PPD support groups and to the people who can help you get better. There are people who know how to help you.

Please know that when I use the term postpartum depression on this blog, I'm using it as shorthand. Most people don't know what perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are — that term includes all of the mental illnesses women can experience during pregnancy and in the first year postpartum — so I use the term sparingly. And I can't really write antenatal depression/postpartum depression/postpartum PTSD/postpartum OCD/postpartum anxiety/postpartum panic disorder/antenatal anxiety/postpartum psychosis/post-adoption depression every single time I write a story. So please know when I say postpartum depression, it usually means I'm referring to all of you regardless of exactly what you are going through. I'm not leaving anyone out. And if you want stories about your specific illnesses, we've written those and will be happy to help you find them.

post-adoption depression

postpartum psychosis

postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and childbirth trauma

postpartum OCD

antenatal depression (during pregnancy)

depression & anxiety after miscarriage or stillbirth

Postpartum PTSD & The Concept of Mental Defeat

I don’t get to do stories on postpartum PTSD as often as I’d like, so I was thrilled when Kimmelin Hull reached out to me today about a piece appearing on Lamaze International’s Science & Sensibility blog. It’s entitled “Pain, Suffering and Trauma in Labor and Subsequent Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder“. Author Penny Simkin goes into great detail about postpartum PTSD, including risk factors and symptoms.

One concept in her piece really stood out to me. It was the idea of “mental defeat” during childbirth … “that is they gave up, feeling overwhelmed, hopeless and as if they couldn’t go on”. That was me. Though I didn’t have postpartum PTSD, I do think (at least as far as my perception is concerned) that my childbirth experience was traumatic. I labored endlessly, had an epidural that only worked on one side, and pushed for four hours. They kept telling me my son was going to come out if I just pushed a little more. So I’d push a little more and he didn’t. They’d leave and come back again and do the same thing, except no matter what I did I couldn’t deliver him. After four hours of pushing I was spent. I had nothing left. I could hardly see straight. They finally dragged him out of me with forceps. And that was just the start of my new motherhood experience. I completely identify with the idea of mental defeat. I experienced it.

I encourage you to go read Penny’s piece. Part 2 will be posted next week.

Help Postpartum Progress By Sponsoring “Girls Night Out”

Want to help sponsor a really great event in New Jersey that is benefiting Postpartum Progress the nonprofit? You know you do!

As you already know, Sassy Shop Girl Events is hosting "What Women Want" Girls Night Out in Orange, New Jersey, on Thursday, April 7 at 7pm. They are looking for additional sponsors at the $300 and $500 levels. Also, I think they are still seeking gift bag giveaways that can be in the form of or related to beauty products, handbags, makeup, fashion, spa products or anything else that would make a Girls Night Out awesome. If you are interested and want to put your brand or product in front of hundreds of women while supporting a worthy cause, please contact Andrea at

Oh, and if you haven't bought tickets yet, please do. You can get them here!

Warrior Moms of the Week 2/25/11

Strap on your seatbelts, ladies, because there's a mondo group of amazing women writing about postpartum depression and related illnesses this week.

How about Katie at Sluiter Nation? She's trying to sell her Case of Guilt, her Unreasonable Self-Doubt and her Uncontrollable Paranoia. I'm sure she won't find any buyers here. 😉

Suzanne at Pretty Swell is about to have another sweet baby, and she writes about what will be different this time around.

Here's Megan at Offbeat Mama, whose postpartum depression didn't start until six or seven months postpartum, after she stopped breastfeeding.

Sarah from In the Trenches of Mommyhood writes about realizing she needed help for postpartum depression when she didn't want to go home to her family.

Kimberly from All Work & No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something writing about what she missed during the time she had postpartum anxiety. I've asked myself those same questions, Kimberly.

Alena from Charmingly Chandler writes about what it feels like for someone with PPD when a friend says being a new mommy is "the best feeling in the world."