Tag Archives: resources

An Angry Sea

For so many the sea can be a source of calm, peace, relaxation, meditation. It is in the sea that many find their anchor. I am one of those people. I grew up at the beach as I noted in a post from the other day. The sights, smells, and feel of the beach trigger so many wonderful memories often locked within my heart. Memories which are the foundation of my life.

But even the sea, the tranquil sea, gets angry.

Today is one of those days.

A storm system is traveling through the area. Filled with lightning, thunder, threat of tornado, the clouds are moving swiftly over land and out to sea. As a result, the ocean is reacting to the forces placed upon it by nature.

Soft and gentle waves are replaced by short and choppy waves as far as the eye can see. They crash harshly onto shore, pulling more sand angrily back out to the depths of the seabed with each new crash. A red flag declaring no swimming is raised tall in front of the lifeguard stand. No one is meandering along the beach except for a few brave souls.

So here we sit, waiting for the storm to break, the rain to fall, and planning alternate activities for the family so as to maximize our last day here at the beach.

And that’s when it hit me.

That this, this storm, this angry weather, is just like a Postpartum Mood Disorder.

Sure, we can predict to whom it MAY happen.

We can identify the jet streams which may swoop it into the lives of certain people. Identify the environmental factors which ripen the possibility of occurrence. But until we get pregnant or give birth, we don’t know if it really will happen to us.

Then when it does, we seek shelter. We make alternate plans. Hopefully we have an emergency kit ready to go in our shelter which should include a list of resources to which we can turn if the waves of emotion get short, angry, and choppy. If the waves decide to reclaim us bit by bit. If they do, we hedge ourselves in until we can heal, seeking respite from the very storm which threatens to tear us apart.

Just as we sit to wait for a storm to pass, we also must wait for a Postpartum Mood Disorder to pass. Some storms pass through quickly, a mere blip, other storms linger and take days to pass. Of course, a Postpartum Mood Disorder takes longer than days to pass – for some it may be months. For others, it may take a year or more. Again, this is in direct relation to your risk factors, level of support, contributing circumstances, proper professional care.

We may feel helpless as the storm whirls around us. But we are not as helpless as we believe ourselves to be in the midst of this vortex. Others always stand ready to come together as a community to support us, to join hands with us in this shared experience.

We must also remember our loved ones become trapped in this vortex with us. They too, need support, love, and understanding.

As I sit and listen to the angry sea, I find peace in knowing that soon, this too, will pass. So the angry waves crashing upon the shore bring solace and strength. The sand will one day be replaced, the beach will grow stronger, and once again, we will play in the waters of the ever-changing sea.

Know too, that one day, your Postpartum Mood Disorder will pass, and you, you will be stronger, able to play in the ever-changing sea of your life.

How can My Postpartum Voice better serve you?

When I changed the name of my blog to My Postpartum Voice, I promised it would be more for you.

There are some changes coming down the road for My Postpartum Voice. They will be slow and gradual but overall, aimed at improving the resourcefulness of this blog/website for Moms and Families in need.

One of the biggest projects I have planned will be an all new Resources page. Not only will it cover Postpartum Specific resources, it will also include resources provided by you for every day living.

If you add one or two or more things to this blog that would make life easier for you or for new and struggling Moms, what would it be?

What helped you the most when you were struggling? Do you have a book you would like to recommend to other moms?

Would you like to see more video? More interactive features? What does interactive mean to you?

Please help me better help and empower you by responding to these questions either in the comments or by emailing me at mypostpartumvoice(@)gmail(dot)com with Improvement Suggestions as the subject line.

I look forward to better serving you in 2011!!



Sharing the Journey with Didi

Hedwige St. Louis, or Didi to those who know her, is an amazing woman doing wonderful things here in the state of Georgia. She’s spearheading the development of a statewide Perinatal resource organization, The Georgia Postpartum Support Network. Her passion for working with women struggling with Postpartum Mood Disorders springs from professional and personal experiences. As an OB, she sees women with Postpartum Mood Disorders through her practice. As a Mom, she is a survivor of a Mood Disorder, something which helped to inspire her to develop this network. Thank you Didi, for taking on such a tremendously important and much needed project!


Tell us a little bit about who Didi is when she’s not being an OB or volunteering with Postpartum Support.

When I’m not an Ob or volunteering with GPSN, I am a mom to an amazing little guy who just turned 3. I’m married to a DJ of all things and I have a dog. I love to work out, play piano, and read. I was originally born in NYC, then due to my dad’s job I grew up in Europe, South America and the Caribbean. I came back to the US for College and have been here since.

What has been your personal experience with Postpartum Mood Disorders? Did your training and education prepare you at all?

In 2006, after having my son I experienced postpartum depression with some OCD component to it. At the time I was completely unaware and just felt isolated. I had nothing to go on and just thought something was wrong with me and if I just hung in there eventually I would be myself again. A year later my sister made a comment and that’s when I realised that I was depressed for the entire first year of my son’s life, it also explained my extreme hair loss and all the other symptoms. My training and education did not prepare me, because you never think it’s going to happen to you. Furthermore most physician are more familiar with the extremes of Perinatal Mood Disorders, but the subtle ones, where the person is functioning, are harder to catch if you don’t screen the person for it. Now I know that I was a poster child for PMD: Type A, primary bread winner, in charge of household finances, history of depression. But my experience has made me a much better physician and brought me closer to my patients.

Speaking of your training, share with us what limitations (if any) you are faced with as an OB when a woman may be presenting with a Mood Disorder during her Postpartum visit. What do you feel would give you more of an opening or provide more options for you to help women with a PMD?

Now that I have made my mission to be better educated about this illness and its many facets, I feel better prepared because rather than waiting for my patient to present with the illness, I am working to have our whole practice routinely screen our patients so we can catch them early. I also make it a point to educate my patients towards the end of the pregnancy about all the feelings they will experience and I encourage them to feel comfortable in calling our office to talk to any of the providers or nurses. Working with GPSN has also allowed me to identify more resources than i had in the beginning, both online and in the state. My goal is to have resources available to women across the state.

Share with us three things that made you laugh or smile today.

My spinning class this morning, my son’s smile and laugh and some music my husband gave me last night.

We met as you were developing a statewide support network for women and families with PMD’s. How did you get started on this project?

I started on it because I was frustrated at the lack of resources. I had several patients dealing with a perinatal mood disorders and while some did well with the couple of referrals I had, others did not. And for those who didn’t, I had no alternatives. this was frustrating because as a physician, a mom, I am used to providing my patients with answers, solutions and I couldn’t.

Tell us about GPSN. What do you hope to achieve with this organization and where do you see it going?

GPSN was started as a resource and support organization. Our goal is to provide women with the information they need so they can make informed choices and find the right treatment alternative for themselves as they are battling their perinatal mood disorders. Our goals include developing a database of health-care providers who know how to manage PMD, educate all health-care providers who take care of pregnant women so that screening for PMD becomes routine, educate the public about PMD so that family, friends and spouses will better understand PMDs and be better able to support their loved one as they are dealing with their illness. Five years from now, I would like to see GPSN actively participating in the community through our support warm-line, community workshops, support groups and continuing medical education for health-care providers.

What do you find to be the most challenging about parenting? The least challenging?

The most challenging part of parenting, the unpredictability!! I am very type A, I like to plan everything for the next month, Donovan (my son) has a different take on that, for him life is a series of discoveries, so I have had to learn to pace myself and be patient, so I let him find his path.

The least challenging…loving him. He is the best thing I have ever done and for all the pain of that first year, I would do it over in a heartbeat.

As mothers it is so important we remember to Mother ourselves, something we often push to the side. What do YOU do to mother yourself?

This year I am slowly coming into my own, but it’s taken a while for me to start taking care of myself the way I use to before having Donovan. I make time to work out just about everyday, I play with Donovan which is very therapeutic for me and i make time to read. This year I also plan on cultivating my friendships a little better and a little more.

What effect, if any, did your Postpartum experience have on your marriage?

For a while there was a distance between my husband and I. We struggled with communication, but we are working through it and I think my husband understands better the importance of sharing parenting duties, giving me a break and supporting me.

Last but not least, what advice would you give to an expectant mother (new or experienced) regarding Postpartum Mood Disorders?

Don’t be afraid to reach out and talk to someone and if you don’t get helpful response, try again until you find it. Don’t give up on yourself, it’s not your fault and there are thousands of women out there who will readily embrace you and help you through this.

Thanks Lauren, those were some very thoughtful questions.


Wednesday Chat with a PSI Expert

Every Wednesday, PSI has free open phone sessions, called “Chat with an Expert.” These sessions provide¬†a free forum for information and contact.

Talk with a PSI PPD expert about resources, symptoms, options and general information about perinatal mood disorders from the privacy of your own home. No need to pre-register or give your name. Sessions are informational only and open to anyone with questions and concerns about themselves, a loved one, friend or family member.

See this link for details. http://postpartum.net/info-sessions/