Working on Recovery From PPD In the Face of Life’s Challenges

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Today, Warrior Mom Jamelle is bravely sharing her story with us and how realizing she needed help has helped her begin to recover. Please send some love her way in the comments. 

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My son was born April 2012. I’d had a slightly difficult pregnancy–24/7 morning sickness for the first five months and an outbreak of PUPPP in the last couple of months, with a dash of bad acid reflux in between. My labor was fortunately pretty easy and quick and, after a night in the hospital, we were home with our son.

Everything was ok, more or less, at first. I had difficulty breastfeeding. No one at the hospital taught me how and as I worked during my pregnancy, I didn’t have time to seek out assistance. I remember crying those first few days at home because I felt like I was failing my son. Watching videos from youtube helped me understand what I needed to do. I felt more confident about breastfeeding although towards the middle/end of my time doing it (I did it for 6 months) I began to feel resentful and wanted my body back.

It wasn’t until my parents left and my husband went back to work that I started having suicidal thoughts. I had been warned about PPD from a girlfriend who had given birth the year before, but for some reason I couldn’t equate how I was feeling and what I was thinking to having PPD. Outwardly I’m sure I just looked and acted like a typical new mom: frazzled, sleep deprived, confused. In fact I’m sure that’s how  most people saw me because no one expressed concern for how I was doing. Everyone’s so concerned about the baby and mom just gets pushed to the side. While my husband was gone, I would dwell on thoughts of him coming home to me and our son, dead on the bed. Sometimes I would just think about him finding me dead, with our son crying on the bed next to me.

After 3 months I went back to work, which helped a little. I was interacting with other adults and doing something with my day other than feeding, changing diapers, and napping. But work added other stressors, causing my depression to manifest in other ways. I became short with people, including my husband. Little things began to irritate me and cause me to become irrationally angry. I had a blow up in Dec 2012 that made me realize something was wrong with me and had been wrong with me since my son was born. It took me another month to tell my husband how I was feeling–my sweet, wonderful, patient husband, who made the call to our insurance for me so I could get help.

I can remember feeling such relief after talking to the intake counselor and explaining why I needed help. I had no idea how heavy a burden I was carrying until I had to detail out the thoughts and feelings I was having. They assigned a counselor and a doctor to me; after they assessed me I was put on anti-depressants and something else to help me sleep at night. The meds helped so much. I was feeling more like my normal self and I wasn’t having awful thoughts. I ended up seeing the counselor only twice–she and I didn’t really mesh and I didn’t feel I was getting anywhere with her. Shortly after that I went off my meds (for a very dumb reason that I don’t even want to get in to) and I thought I was going to be fine. Then my husband lost his job and we lost our house not too long after that. The stress of trying to keep my family financially afloat has triggered my depression. Luckily I can recognize the signs now.

I’ve only recently started going back to therapy. I found a counselor I really like and I’ll be going back on meds soon. I wish I hadn’t stopped in the first place but you never know where life takes you. I’m going to be much better about it this time around. This has been really hard to write, but I’m glad I did and thank you so much for listening.

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No Link Between Antidepressants During Pregnancy & Stillbirth

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The New York Times reports on a large study finding no link between stillbirth and the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. According to the Times, the Danish study of 1.6 million births, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that, “The neonatal death rate (before one month of life) in babies of the 29,228 mothers who had used S.S.R.I.’s did not differ from that of the population at large.”

For a review of this study about taking medication during pregnancy by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health, click here.

 

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Which Psychiatric Medications Are Safe During Breastfeeding?

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breastfeeding postpartum depressionI’m often asked by mothers who want to breastfeed about which psychiatric medication is safe.

First, I want you to know that it is a myth that you must quit breastfeeding if you are going to be treated for postpartum depression. I’m always saddened to hear of moms who refuse to seek treatment because they are afraid they will be made to quit, or whose doctors tell them they must because they’ll be on medication.  That’s just not true.

Certainly, if you feel that it is better for you to formula feed that is a perfectly acceptable choice.  Also, therapy alone is a good option for some mothers.  If you need to take medication, though, you still don’t have to quit.  There are certain medications that have been fairly well studied and, according to the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, are “… considered to be relatively safe for use during breastfeeding when clinically warranted …”

I wanted to offer you some resources for those of you who plan to breastfeed but must also take an antidepressant or other psychiatric medication for the treatment of your postpartum depression or related illness: [Read more...]

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Why Americans Don’t Want To Discuss Depression With Their Doctors

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postpartum depression diagnosis and treatmentA fascinating new study finds that a large chunk of Americans would rather not discuss symptoms of depression with their doctors.

According to Health.com, “43% of people would keep their depression symptoms to themselves during a doctor’s appointment, because they feel their emotional difficulties are off-topic, they don’t want to be prescribed antidepressants, or they’re afraid a record of the conversation will be seen by employers … Respondents also expressed fear about being referred to a specialist or being labeled a ‘psychiatric patient’.”

[Read more...]

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