Monthly Archives: May 2010

Graham Crackers & Peanut Butter served with a side of crazy: Part I

I had planned to post my full story here today. But as I typed, it got long. Really long. I’m at five full typed pages with a few more to go.

(You’ll have to wait until I’m hospitalized for the title to make sense. Just go with it for now!)

In Part I, we’ll work our way from waking up the morning of my hospitalization to later that afternoon when I finally called the doctor’s office.

Tomorrow will offer some background on what led up to the day of hospitalization.

This series is the most brutally honest I’ve ever been with anyone about my experience. Including myself. It feels good. It feels oh so good to get it all out in the open.

As I walked with my family this morning, I thought about this post. And for some reason the movie The Goonies popped into my head. You know the scene when they realize they’re in the wishing well?

Mouth gets pissy and says, “This wish was mine! And it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back. I’m taking them all back.” Then he disappears under the water as he hunts for his other wishes.

Every mother wishes for a good postpartum experience. Many of us get that wish. Some of us don’t.

This is me. Taking back the power that Postpartum Depression had over me. Taking it ALL back. But I’m keeping my head above the water.

Four years ago this weekend, I visited a mental hospital. Involuntarily. This is how I landed there:

As I stumbled out of our bedroom, I remember looking out the living room window. Blue sky, sunshine, green forest stared back at me. Birds chirped, the dogs glanced at me, I heard our two-year old awake and prayed our almost three-month old was still asleep.

One question repeated over and over in my head.

“What would happen if I let go?” Just let go, they whispered. “You deserve to let go. Let go. Reality is a joke. Just.LET.GO. Let go. Let go. Let.go. let go….let go…..” the soft whispers echoed in my head all day long.

I fed our two-year old breakfast as I pumped. Set up our infant daughter’s tube feeding. Took our two-year old to her room to play. Laid down on her couch. Closed my eyes. Slept through her lifting my arms, dropping them down, begging me to wake up and play.

I did not want to play. I could not play. If I was unconscious, I couldn’t hurt her. If I was unconscious, the voices would shut up. If I was unconscious, visions of smothering them both with pillows would go away. If I was unconscious – no wait, if I was not here……maybe…. maybe…..but how… just.. if I wasn’t here, I couldn’t hurt them.

I dozed as she played. I heard her as she begged me to play with her. Yet there I lay, paralyzed, my mind miles and miles away, locked in a deep dark closet somewhere, refusing to come out just like obstinate toddler.

Our infant daughter’s Kangaroo pump alarm sounded. After a few minutes, I finally stumbled into her room to turn it off and disconnect her. Back to the kitchen to make lunch for our two-year old. I think it was a PB&J.

Let go. Jump. Take a deep breath and fall. The hardest part is just letting go. Let go, they whispered. Over and over and over and over and over……

I clearly saw myself with a pillow, hands tightly gripping either side. If I just made them go away, the voices would go away. The pillow would solve everything. I could just make them go away. Then I’d let go and everything would be okay. Everything would be okay. Everything. Would. Be. Okay. It’d be okay.

I put our two year old down for a nap and started another tube feeding for our infant daughter. I hadn’t pumped since 10:45 a.m. It was pushing 1:00 p.m. I didn’t want to pump. Why should I?

She’s asleep now, they both are. It’d be so easy. So easy.

My thin strand of reality shredding, I turned to the voices. They started to push me toward the brink of the canyon. I didn’t have much fight left inside. Home alone, it would be so easy. The monsters were gaining ground. Their battering ram tediously close to knocking down the last door I had shored up against them, I went to our bedroom and closed the door, disgusted with myself.

Our bed saved my children.

I lay down, curled up in the middle with the phone. I clutched it as a stranded sailor clutches a life ring. Tightly, refusing to give it up even as I rocked back and forth, staring past the squirrels scrambling up and down 200-year-old oak tree swaying softly outside our bedroom window.

As the tears began to slide down my face, my breath shallow and my chest felt tight, I dialed my husband at work.

“You have to come home.” I choked the words out.

“Why?”

“You have to come home.”

“I can’t just leave work for no reason. Why?”

“I’m not doing well. You have to come home. I need you to call the doctor for me.”

“I can’t leave work. Why can’t you call the doctor?”

I gasped for air. The one person I felt safe in reaching out to was shooting me down. I needed help. I needed… I needed…

“Because I just can’t. I can’t… I…. “ burst into tears.

“Call them and let me know what they say, okay?” his voice was slightly softer.

“But I… “ argh. I hung up on him. I had tried to call the doctor’s office for the past four days, dammit. Yet somehow today had to be the day I made it happen. The day I had no strength left in any corner of my mind. Yeh.

I dialed the doctor’s office. And hung up.

I dialed again. Hung up.

I dialed again. Hung up.

Dialed. Ring. Ring…..ring… automation. Press 0.

Hang up. Dammit.

And now my husband was calling me back as I tried again. Ring…ring. Automation.

PRESS 0, dammit, said the only sane part of me. Press it! Say something when they answer. SAY something.

“Hello, this is Dr. X’s office. How can we help you?”

“I… I… I need help. My name is Lauren Hale and I’m not okay. I need help.”

It felt good and so horribly wrong all at the same time.

(Click here to read Part II.)

Postpartum Voice of the Week: Kristine Brite McCormick opens up about PPD in the infant loss community

If you asked me how I met Kristine, I’d have to say I don’t know. I think it was on Twitter. Or maybe Facebook. No, I think it was Twitter. When did our paths cross? Not sure about that one either. It’s been a couple of months at least. We seemed to hit it off from the start and I’ve been wanting to share her story here for quite some time. Kristine is a Mom. She’s Cora’s mom. Cora isn’t here with us anymore but that doesn’t make Kristine any less of a mother. She’s championed on, fighting for Congenital Heart Disease awareness, opening up about her very own experience with infant loss. Cora left us at just five days old but those five days have made a huge difference in Kristine’s life.

I’ve asked Kristine to share her story here because it’s important to remember that Mothers with Angel Babies are still mommies too. They hurt just like we do. And while those of us who have never lost a baby will never truly understand their pain and grief, it’s just as important for us to hold them close as well, to check in on them to see how they are holding up. Mothers with Angel Babies don’t deserve to be hidden in a corner simply because we’re not sure of what to say. You can help by simply asking “How ARE you today?” and then listening without judging. It’s okay to admit you don’t know what to say. Chances are they don’t know either. But we can learn together.

Thank you, Kristine, for sharing so openly here. Your words and experience are truly invaluable. You’ve already helped so many and I know there are many more waiting to be touched by Cora’s Story. You’re both making a huge difference in this world!

And now, in Kristine’s own words, her postpartum voice, is her story and advice to those in the PPD Community:


The no-baby blues? Post-partum depression in the baby loss community

For over ten months, my body was taxed and tolled and hormones and body chemistry changed. Then I labored, which sometimes is traumatic, sometimes goes beautifully, but always means work. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter after laboring for a day. For days, I wasn’t allowed more than an hour of two or sleep, and finding time to was a feat.

After going through all that and then adjusting to life with a new baby, depression seems so a given.

But, what if there is no baby? What if there are no late night feedings? What if your body goes through all the pain and change of child birth and then the baby dies?

I still gave birth, so I am post-partum, and my daughter, Cora, died in my arms early one morning while breastfeeding, so I certainly feel depressed.

When diagnosing me, professionals and laypeople usually call my depression Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, certainly applicable because I watched my daughter die, or simply manic depression.

I’ve started a quest to learn more about post-partum depression, because after all, my days aren’t that much different than mothers with babies here.

I’m kept up late with insomnia. My eating habits are terrible. I get pressure from family and friends to act a certain way. I feel alone and isolated because grieving mothers sometimes get treated like they suffer from a contagious disease. All conditions new mothers find themselves in for the first few months after giving birth.

Only, I have trouble relating. Other grieving mothers get it, most of the time, but I find it difficult to not feel badly for them. And, them for me, too. So we’re a tightknit group, but with so much pressure on ourselves, we’re not always the best support for the times we’re hidden away taking care of ourselves.

Mothers suffering from post-partum depression seem apprehensive to say anything. They fear us being offended that they’d dare relate their depression to ours. And, no doubt, some grieving moms would be offended, but in the end, we’re all in the same bout.

Grieving mothers need the support of the PPD community. PPD might only be one of the many daily mental struggles for a grieving mom, but I think it’s the forgotten factor. My doctors haven’t really wanted to label what I’m going through at this point, but, sometimes I wish they would, just to acknowledge that I might suffer from more than one disorder at a time.

I don’t want to speak for every grieving mother, but I’m glad I’ve found an online PPD community and find value in joining more than one community, communities for grieving mothers, communities for new moms, communities for children that suffer the same condition that killed my daughter, congenital heart disease because in doing so I can relate to everything I face a bit better.

I hope more grieving mothers realize they too have a multi-headed dragon to slay and begin reaching out. Depression after giving birth, whether you have a baby on Earth or somewhere else, only gets better with help.


Kristine Brite McCormick writes about her daughter Cora (almost) daily on her blog, Cora’s Story , where she often opens up about grief and depression.

If not on her blog, she can be found on Twitter, @kristinebrite or Cora’s Facebook Fan page, telling Cora’s Story.

Whatever Wednesday: My Jacks hit the Road and only Bauer’s coming back

Along with most of America, I bid adieu to Dr. Jack Shepherd this past Sunday night.

And then on Monday night, I said goodbye to Jack Baeur.

Both Jacks were unbelievably stubborn, amazing leaders, and seemed to have a decent moral compass. We loved our Jacks. But sooner or later, they had to go.

At least I’ve got the promise of Jack Baeur coming back in a movie. Maybe.

But there’s no hope for Jack Shepherd. I won’t be seeing him again. Matthew Fox played him well for six years. Certainly a role he was born to fill.

Same for Kiefer Sutherland. He and Jack Bauer were like brothers. Sutherland always seemed at ease as Jack.

I do have a few questions though –

Why did we never see Jack Bauer pee? Or eat? Or well, do anything even resembling something normal like gulping down a slurpee from the neighborhood 7-11? Oh, that’s right – he couldn’t drink because you guys never gave him time to PEE.

And Jack Shepherd – did he really have a son or was that his imagination? What in the tarnation was going on there?

All those flash forwards before they ended up in the church – was that when they were alive or were they – what the hell? The Lost finale really didn’t answer any questions. And now I’m missing 6 years of my life. Maybe it’s on the island and I should go get it… maybe…

Who the hell decided to have Jack Bauer promise to do things he couldn’t do? Hubs and I would laugh whenever Bauer made a promise after the first season because it meant that person wasn’t getting what they were promised. A promise from Bauer might as well have been a nail in the coffin after the first season.

And Chloe. Can we talk about her? I HATED CHLOE. There. I said it. She annoyed me. So did her husband, Myles. The Myles from Lost was cool. The Myles from 24, not so much.

What’s up with the same names for the characters on this show? Were you guys sharing writers? If so, you should have made Jack Shepherd promise people shi…oh wait. He did, didn’t he. Hrmmmm.

Now that the good folks from Oceanic 815 aren’t using that deserted Island, can we at least strand the Pres of BP oil there for a bit? Just a few days? Please?

So maybe the real question is – Did the Lost finale suck because they swapped writers with 24?

Or was it just that we, the American public, are not ready for the kind of wisdom shoved at us this past week.

Either way, I just know that I’ve got two Jack sized holes in my heart. And I am sad.

Introducing the Just Talkin’ Tuesday Button

I don’t usually post again on Tuesdays. But this is related. And I didn’t want to just add it into the regular post in case some of you have already read it and moved on with your day.

About 30 minutes ago, I got asked to do a button for the Just Talkin’ Tuesday feature by @momgosomething at Twitter. She’s been answering the posts at her own blog the past few weeks. I think it’s a great thing she’s sharing my questions with her readers as well. (I’m sure she’s not expecting a button so quickly though!)

So now, if you feel the urge to answer the questions on your own blog, there will be a button included with every Tuesday post for you to grab and slap up at your place. All I ask is that you link it back here to the Just Talkin Tuesday post or to the main URL.

Enjoy and let’s get Just Talkin’ Tuesday on the road!

Just Talkin’ Tuesday 05.25.10: How long does recovery take anyway?

Lately, I’ve had this question thrown my way by more than just a few of you.

It’s a tough question to answer.

There is no defined recovery time we can hand out. It’s not like going to a deli, pulling a number, having your number called and then walking out the door into the wild blue yonder with your neatly wrapped item. Ok, so maybe it’s kind of like that. If it’s a busy deli and the wait is long. And then they’re out of the meat you need. And then you have to start the process all over again somewhere else or settle for something like ham when you really wanted corned beef pastrami.

Bottom line though – recovery is not something your local deli guy will wrap up neatly in butcher paper and tie off with a pretty bow.

Recovery is messy. It can take a long time. It can go quickly. It can involve lots of starts, stops, and side trips.

And in the end, you may be recovered but there will always be the organic memory of the experience of your Postpartum Mood Disorder to jump out at you and mess with you.

So how the heck do I know if I can consider myself recovered from my PMD?

Here are my three humble signs of recovery (always check with your caregiver/therapist and don’t every stop treatment cold turkey!)

1) You have more good days than bad days.

2) You are able to laugh at things.

3) Your world has returned to vibrant colors instead of the dimmed down twilight you’ve been living in for the last several nights.

I remember the day I saw that brighter world. I was on my way home from my therapy appointment. It had rained that morning so everything had been rinsed clean. The sun shone down and the trees burst forth with new growth as they strained for freedom at the birth of spring. As I breathed in the clean scent of rain and honeysuckle, my heart soared. The trees were greener, the sky was bluer, everything sparkled. And not just because of the rain.

Just a few weeks later I discovered I was indeed pregnant with our third child. Scared to death, I worried all my progress would be all for naught. But it was not. I continued to move forward. Not because I had to but because it was what I wanted. Once I got past the shock of our unexpected pregnancy, I focused all my energy on preparing for postpartum support instead of getting ready for baby. It was time well-spent. I educated those around me, created a postpartum plan, and thankfully I thrived. Not all mothers are this fortunate though.

Every mother has  a different story, different doctors, and different reasons for struggling.

What helped you recover and if you’re fully recovered, how long did it take you to recover? What advice would you give to a still struggling mother?

One of my favorite songs when I was struggling was “Breathe” by Anna Nalick.My favorite lines?

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel, you shout
But you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out.

To me, it means keep on going forward. Because it’s FORWARD motion that’s so very healing.

Let’s get to just talkin’!

This week’s Postpartum Voice: Miranda of Not Super Just Mom

Miranda of Not Super Just Mom, is sharing as this week’s Postpartum Voice. She’s been hosting guest bloggers on the topic of  PPD/PPA over at her place this week as part of Mental Health Month and the D-Listed Blog Hop. Miranda and I met via #PPDChat at Twitter (I’ve been meeting SO many new moms there lately!) and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her.

Miranda’s story starts out with disappointment after delivery didn’t quite go the way she had planned. I’ll let her tell her story in her voice now….

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you one thing. I am an over-achiever. I expect my best from myself in all things. I do not settle. I never have. Slowly, however, I’m learning to accept that sometimes my “best” has to be “good enough.”

I began battling depression in late high school. I fought with anxiety and depression off and on for years.  Once I got to college, I had pressure to keep my scholarships, to not disappoint my parents, to make sure I paid my mortgage and car payments and insurance and utility bills on time. To maintain a social life and find the person with whom I was going to spend the rest of my life.

I finally got help during my junior year of college when I broke down and realized I couldn’t continue to live the way I’d been living. What I was facing was something bigger than me. The clinicians and psychiatrist who helped me were amazing and I owe them a debt of gratitude for teaching me how to “deal.” While I was in treatment, I met a wonderful guy, got married, and set out to suburbia. Eventually, we decided to expand our family.

I knew I was meant to be a mother.  I knew that I would be good at this.  It was my destiny.  How could I not be a natural?

So imagine my shock when, two days after having my beautiful plans of a natural, vaginal, med-free delivery shot down due to “failure to progress,” I found myself crying into my meatloaf.  Apparently, someone having an “inappropriate response to meatloaf” has become code-language in my doctor’s office for “watch out for this one.  She’s on the fast-track to medication.” Or something like that.  But see, that wasn’t normal.  And I didn’t know it.

And when I wrote that post, the anger over my C-section was definitely present.  I was angry.  I am angry.  Even now, 14 months later.

And that’s how my PPD/PPA started.  With anger.  And bitterness.  And resentment.

And then the anger and bitterness and resentment turned into sadness over how things didn’t go the way I planned.

And then I heard the words “you’ll have to supplement” at my son’s first newborn visit after being discharged and that’s where the no-no “F” word started creeping in.

FAILURE.

I had only been a mom for five days and already I was a failure.  I’d failed to get him here the way I’d envisioned.  I’d failed to keep him from losing 10% of his birth weight because my stress and anxiety over the surgery (and the pain! Sweet baby Jesus in a manger the pain) kept my milk from coming in.

And I just KNEW that supplementing would be doom for breastfeeding for us.

And then I’d be failing at yet ANOTHER thing and I was BARELY EVEN A MOTHER YET AND HOW CAN I ALREADY BE SO BAD AT THIS?!?!?

When my one-week postpartum check-up came around, Peggy-the-PA and Dan and I discussed my “inappropriate response to meatloaf” in the hospital while Joshua, ever the little stinker he is, slept peacefully in his carseat.  A carseat that he HATED for the first four months of his life (which effectively trapped me in the house because the sound of him screaming would send me into what I now think were mild panic attacks…WHILE DRIVING).

While we were at that visit, Peggy wrote me a prescription for an anti-depressant.  She thought it’d be a good idea for me to go ahead and start taking them.

But I didn’t.  Because I wanted to believe that I was stronger than that.  I wanted to believe that this was just the “Baby Blues” and that they’d go away and I’d realize that I was a natural at this.  That I was a PERFECT mother.

But I wasn’t.  I’m still not.  And the “Baby Blues” didn’t just evaporate.

It didn’t help that a mere seven days after giving birth, I was flying solo with this tiny bundle of lungs and poop.  I couldn’t drive because it still hurt to sneeze, so I still needed to take pain medication. But I couldn’t take pain medication and be home all day with the baby because what if he needed me and the medication made me drowsy and I was sent a baby who wouldn’t sleep so there was no “sleep when baby is sleeping” in this house for at least three weeks.

I resented my husband.  I resented the fact that he got to leave every day and go to work.  He got to get out.  He got to see people.  If I tried to leave, even to go to Target, I’d have the baby screaming his tiny baby lungs out the whole way there.  The whole time we walked around the store.  The whole time we drove home.  It just wasn’t worth it.  So I didn’t leave.  And when Dan left for work, I’d cry.

And because I was so mired up in my own grief, I didn’t feel connected to my son.  I’d read blogs written by women who would gush and gush about how when they saw their baby it was love at first sight and they knew instinctively what to do and what their baby needed and part of me screamed “THAT IS BULLSHIT” and then part of me cried.

Because that’s what I wanted.  I wanted that instant bond.  That connection.  That look from my baby that said “You are my mommy and I know this because I have heard your heart for 40 weeks and 5 days and it is the greatest sound in the world and I love you, Mommy.  And I promise to sleep all night long and save all the poop-splosions for Daddy.”

And I didn’t get that.  Even close to a year out, I still didn’t feel that.  Even now, there are times where I look at my son and go “WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM!?!?” because he and I just don’t seem to understand each other very well.

The times that I felt most at peace were the times when my mother came down to spend the day with me.  She’d get here early in the morning and do a load of laundry or dishes or sweep my floor.  And then?  Then she’d hold Joshua while I napped in the bed.  It was glorious.  But it was brief.  My reprieves from the resentment were short-lived.  I knew she’d leave soon, so when it would be time for her to leave, I’d get all anxious in the pit of my stomach and I’d feel the lump forming in my throat.  And then she’d walk out the door and I’d be choking back tears and trying to hold it together.

And in the midst of all of this, Joshua was diagnosed with reflux and a milk protein allergy.  Which meant mixing up little packets of Zegerid twice a day and me cutting out all yummy dairy goodness for as long as I planned to breastfeed.  Me and Oreos became BFFs because they are totally, completely dairy free.  And some days, I’d eat Oreos.  All day long.  That’s almost all I’d have to eat.  Maybe I’d sneak in a graham cracker and some peanut butter.  But I didn’t have much of an appetite, despite the fact that I was a dairy-free dairy cow.

(I think the fact that we finally got breastfeeding worked out is the only thing that helped me keep it together.  It’s the only thing I knew I didn’t totally suck at, even though it had its own set of drawbacks…like growth spurts, and nursing every hour, on the hour, all.night.long. AND GIVING UP CHEESE AND COFFEE CREAMER.)

At my six week postpartum visit, I finally admitted to Peggy, and my husband, and my mom, and myself, that I needed to fill the prescription she’d written me six weeks earlier.  I knew that this was not something I could do alone.  So, I drove to the pharmacy, filled the prescription, and started taking them that night.

And I didn’t feel instantly better.  I still have days where I don’t feel better.  I have days where I just want to cry.  Or where it physically hurts to move my body because I’m just so weighed down with my thoughts.  And there are times when Joshua screams (um..hello…he’s a Tiny Terrorist.  That’s pretty much all he does is scream) and I feel my heart start to beat faster and I kind of lose my train of thought and I become robotic.  GET.DIAPER.ON.NOW.PICK.UP.BABY.NOW. And I just sort of “do” it.

One of the things I’ve come to realize through my battle with PPD/PPA is that I have to take every day as it comes.  I’ve also had to abandon the quest for “perfection.”  Nothing is perfect.  Especially not me.  Which is the purpose behind this blog.  I’m not perfect.  I’m never going to BE perfect.

I’ll have perfect moments, and moments where I go “Hey, I don’t suck at this!” but I’m not going to have those moments all the time.  The “perfect” world of mommyhood that I envisioned for myself prior to actually being a mom doesn’t exist.

And slowly…slowly, I’m becoming more and more okay with the lack of perfection in my life.  And I’m finding something kind of perfect in the imperfection.  I’m finding me.

Miranda can be found at Not Super…Just Mom. She’d like everyone to know that she is not, in fact, a Supermom. But with a cape and a tiara she could probably save the world.

Speaking up for depressed Dads

So unless you’ve been hiking the Himalayas this past week, you’re aware that a study about dads with prenatal and postnatal depression and it’s correlation to maternal depression was released. Published today, actually in JAMA.

Twitter’s been aflitter with this study. Tons of media outlets are jumping on the story. Almost every Google Alert I’ve received this week has had a ton of links for variation after variation on this new study involving dads and depression.

And then…

And then.

I got an email this morning. It included several tweets doubting the possibility of men having depression. I wanted to cry.

People on Twitter were saying awful, awful, awful things. Did I mention the awful things? AWFUL.

Here are a few of the ones I’m comfortable with posting. Even though they make me cringe. And want to grab every single Tweeter and have a little Homer Simpson/Bart Simpson moment with them.

“Post Partum Depression for dad’s? Really? Already a name for that. Called “Llife got tougher. Deal.” Judges also would accept, “Parenthood.”

“CNN: “Dads get post-partum depression too.” Oh, come on. It’s called sleep- and sex-deprivation.”

“I’m sorry. I just cant see a man suffering from postpartum depression. No one is cutting his man hole & sewing it up to bring out a baby”

“A man suffering from postpartum depression is a girly man.”

“Lol @ “postpartum depression can strike new dads”. Yeah, no. Until they have to have an episiotomy…no”

Wow.

Mmmmmmk.

Let’s see here.

You want to know WHY it’s so important that we know this about men and depression after they become expectant or new fathers? Because men, when depressed are:

Less likely to seek help

More likely to complete suicide

More likely to take their depression/rage out on their families

Depressed men will exhibit the same symptoms as women to a certain extent but there are some differences. Men may begin to abuse alcohol or other substances, dive into work, put up a wall with friends and make up excuses to avoid his family.

I’ve lived with a depressed dad. I’ve suffered the consequences of a depressed dad’s attempts at self-medicating his moods away. It is not pretty people, it is not pretty. It hurts. It opens long-healed wounds if left untreated. Turns things upside down and inside out. Depression destroys lives. It rips out hearts, infects every aspect of your life. It’s not much different than cancer in that sense… left to it’s own it runs rampant and has the potential to kill you. Depression is DEADLY. The only difference between cancer and Depression is that Depression can kill others even if they’re not infected. Doesn’t that make Depression more deadly and dangerous? I certainly think so.

Owning up to a depression bigger than you, a monster that’s been hard at work destroying your life takes a helluva lot of courage. It takes guts to step out from behind the facade of normalcy to admit things are not okay. It takes a helluva lot of guts to completely break down and cry in front of other people. It takes courage to then get up the next morning and the next and the next with the goal of rebuilding yourself. It takes a REAL MAN to own up to depression and seek help.

I applaud the Dads who are owning up to being depressed during their partner’s pregnancies and as they navigate life as a new father. Thank you, Joel Schwartzburg. Thank you Dr. Will Courtenay for providing a safe place for Dads to come to and find help.

Thank you.

Men often hide their depression during the pregnancy of their partner or after the child’s birth because they feel they’re expected to be strong. Even though I begged my husband to tell me he was struggling too after the birth of our second daughter, he repeatedly told me he was fine. All I wanted to hear was that I wasn’t alone. Instead he kept it inside as he began to abuse marijuana on top of the anti-depressants he had been prescribed. In fact, I just discovered last night that he didn’t even want to hold her while she was in the NICU. Our daughter is now four years old.

Depression can happen to anyone, at anytime, with no warning of onset.

If any of the above people were to ever experience a mental illness, I would hope they would not encounter comments like the ones they just made. Instead, I would hope they would find compassion, knowledgeable resources, and be able to surround themselves with people able to empower them as they journey toward recovery.

No one deserves to be kicked when they’re down. No one deserves to be doubted when they dare to speak up. No one deserves such harsh words.

Would you tell a male cancer patient they’re a girly man for getting breast cancer? Cuz men have breasts too and yes, they get breast cancer.

Would you tell a man to tough out a heart attack? To man up and fight the pain? Skip the nitro and the aspirin – you’ll be fine. It’s just tough right now.

Would you tell a man who just broke his leg that he’s not justified in complaining just because his break isn’t the worst break on the planet?

Nobody would dare say those things to such patients.

Then pray tell, why, why do you feel comfortable saying them about mental health patients? Please tell me because I truly do not understand.

And to the ladies who commented about surgery and birth – there are plenty of women who have given birth naturally or vaginally without episiotomies and gone on to experience postpartum depression.  But I suppose that’s not allowed either because clearly surgery and episiotomies are pre-requisites for depression after childbirth.

I leave you with something my parents raised me to believe.

If you can’t say something nice……