Monthly Archives: September 2007

Sharing some wisdom

My previous post, Kids make everything better, received a comment yesterday afternoon. After deliberating on whether or not to approve it, I made the decision to delete the comment. However, the words from this woman’s comment are still haunting me and given the nature of my work, I view the chance to respond to her comment as a sincere opportunity to show compassion, warmth, and a bit of wisdom with her as well as with the rest of you.

The comment follows:

 post-partum depression sux.

but come on excited about peeing outside. three years olds get excited by everything.

do you really believe that kids make everything better? if so then why the PPD?  

Yes, Postpartum Depression does suck.  It sucks a lot. Not fun to go through it, not fun to watch someone go through it – I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. But is an illness – something that we have no control over, something that we need treatment, support, and sometimes medication in order to recover. The stigma attached to admitting to postpartum depression is a huge barrier to treatment, especially when mothers are having intrusive thoughts about harming their child. These mothers (and I was one of them) become scared that if they are honest about these thoughts, their children will be taken away from them. They become consumed with guilt and riddled with more anxiety that they are a bad mother because they have these thoughts. BUT these thoughts are not their fault – they are not to blame – and seeking help/treatment makes them a GOOD mother because they are taking an important first step  in admitting something is wrong. For a lot of mothers, taking that first step is a very daunting one. And that’s why I do what I do now. I didn’t know where to turn for help. I did go to my doctor with my first case but was denied treatment because I wouldn’t stop nursing for “trial medicinal therapy” and I was more than the DSM-IV standard of 4wks postpartum before I sought treatment – even though most postpartum cases ARE diagnosed between two and four months Postpartum.  I know now that I should have sought additional help from another physician. At the time, I was so depressed I didn’t have the energy to do so. So I struggled from day to day. Eventually I improved (or thought I did) and then we got pregnant with our second child. Looking back, I was depressed the entire pregnancy which is what led to my second bout with Postpartum OCD, my most recent episode. My last episode taught me quite a bit and I have certainly become a better person for it – because I chose to turn and fight and not give in or up. And now I am paying it forward – helping other women just as there were women there to help me this time around. I feel that it is the least that i can do.

And yes, I believe that kids DO, on occasion, make everything better. Kids have a way of blurting out the funniest things or the most inane thing RIGHT when you need them to. If it weren’t for my three year old’s charming and innocent wit during my postpartum days, I don’t think I would have continued to have at least a few bright spots. She was constantly trying to cheer me up and make me laugh – even when I didn’t want to. But even she’s not a miracle worker and the PPD, just like cancer or diabetes, had to run it’s course before I started to improve. Having PP OCD was not my fault, I was not to blame, and I did get better – with help, including my daughter’s constant optimism and insane sense of humour.

Women with PPD deserve to be treated honestly, compassionately, and respectfully. They do not deserve to be belittled or told to snap out of it – trust me, if we could, we would. Unfortunately, we can’t. And I’d be willing to bet that most women who have suffered from PPD would agree that it’s very similar to being hit by a MAC truck while strolling in the park on a blissfully sunny day. It sneaks up on you and before you know it, you’re struggling to climb out of  a deep dark muddy hole. Recovery from the emotional scars PPD causes is messy, difficult, and yet quite rewarding when your head finally pops out and sweet sunshine and fresh air hit you – making you realize just how hard you’ve had to fight to get to where you are.

I am very proud to say that I am a TWO TIME survivor of PP OCD who is now paying it forward and shining the light on the path towards recovery for other women and families. I pray every day that I won’t relapse after this birth. Sure, I know more now, but there’s still the statistics, and yes, I am hoping to beat them but also preparing not to by educating my family (near and far), getting a plan in place in the near future for the “what if”, and filling my support up to overflowing, which is what I would advise any new mother to do if she were in my shoes. And I am blogging this pregnancy because I feel I owe it to other mothers out there in my shoes (planned or unplanned pregnancy after PPD), to give them a source of hope and light – to give them somewhere to come and not only find another woman who is traveling the same path they are,  to help them feel less isolated during their journey, but also to find access to resources and information that will give them courage and strength to help them as they walk their own paths. I pray that they will not suffer as I did – but if they do, I want them to know that help is out there – only a click or two away. They do not have to be alone during such a difficult and misunderstood time in their lives.

Kids make everything better…

Right before I could type a single word here, my three year old yelled to me from her room (it’s quiet time) that she had to go potty. And so off I went – to help her get to the potty and to supervise – you know, ensure that the toilet paper didn’t ALL come off the roll, that she went IN the potty, etc. We talked about her ladybug. I brought her one as a surprise this morning. Yes, it was live. Now – well, not so much. She’s got it on her dresser top and is keeping a close eye on it. Hasn’t moved yet, she tells me. Maybe it’s taking a nap or like something she says. I tried to explain to her that it may just be not with us anymore. But she didn’t quite want accept that explanation, hence, the watching.

What I WAS going to type here wasn’t going to be nice – I needed to vent. Badly. But now I’m all better. Amazing how a discussion about a possibly dead ladybug and a three year old’s optimism that it’s not dead suddenly makes everything else melt away.

The girls and I went outside this morning to play. No stroller ride, just play. Charlotte hadn’t been walking outside yet and she was fascinated. She and I ended up just sitting down in the grass while Alli ran around the yard. Charlotte would pick up leaves and grass – and I gave her a pine cone which she promptly tried to eat. BLECH! The girls did swing for a bit and then it was time for us to come inside and have lunch. I am so glad that the weather has finally cooled off enough for us to do things like that outside. Looking so forward to more days like today.

OH! I almost forgot to add this – Alli had to pee while we were outside. As we have a rather large front yard and judging from how she was running about, I KNEW we wouldn’t make it inside. So I stripped her down, took her sandals off, and instructed her to go squat behind a tree. She didn’t quite get “squat” but she did understand behind a tree, thank goodness. As she started to go, she exclaimed “It’s just like watering plants!” Um, yeah hon. I think that was the first time I’ve ever witnessed someone actually EXCITED about peeing in the wild outdoors.

As for my mood, I’m in a great one! In fact, chris even asked me this morning why I was so bubbly. And I told him – “I just am in a really good mood today!” He was very happy for me. I’m happy for me too.

I had my one hour Glucose test today. Got the orange drink. Finished it in less than two minutes, I think. Felt fine after the test, just like I did after charlotte’s test so I’m hoping that means no Gestational Diabetes. I’ll do the diet if I have to and I’m already pretty conscious about what I eat but I’d really rather not have to mess with all that tracking, measuring, etc.

Here’s a question for those of you who are informed (specialists) in PPD – Has anyone done a study regarding the women diagnosed with GD and the percentage of those who go on to develop PPD? I’d really like to know what the results are if it’s been done. I’ll go search pub med and ask the Coordinators too.

Speaking of studies, I DID read an abstract of a study done with women who suffered from pelvic pain & PPD – and those WITH pelvic pain were more likely to end up also diagnosed with PPD once baby was delivered. I thought that was very interesting, primarily b/c I’ve had pelvic pain with both of my previous pregnancies and also had PPD.

 Time to wrap things up, I have a TON of email to reply to and now some research to do as well!

I Love Email Surprises

Today, I had just finished checking my email and answering all of my messages. Sometimes that’s a daunting task because i have several email addresses, luckily I’ve streamlined them into just two addresses but still, that’s a LOT of email. And my PPD addresses have been very busy today. After I was done checking and responding, I logged out, and surfed the web for a few minutes – reading up on how to properly cook tapioca pudding from scratch. (Yes, another craving!) Locating a recipe I actually had all the ingredients for, I read forth. Upon completion, something told me to go and check my ppd address again. And when I did, I had a surprise.

A woman I helped at the beginning of the year had written me not only to thank me but to let me know how she was doing now. For privacy reasons, I can’t give you details, but she is doing well. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that email meant to me. I couldn’t even begin to tell her! I had been really thinking about her lately and wondering how she was doing so her email was well-timed.

So, I have now officially achieved the goal I set out with. Successfully helping at least one woman. Doesn’t mean I’m quitting (I don’t EVER see that happening!), just means I’ve got to come up with another goal. Any ideas?

Remembering Today

I feel that I would be remiss if i didn’t talk about what today means to me.

If you feel that this post may be a trigger for you, please skip it.

I am originally from NJ and went on several trips growing up to NY or Philly. My roots are still up North even though they’ve been stretched down south for much longer. I’m still a true blue Mets, Giants, and Knicks Fan. Yes, I said Knicks.

When the first Tower was hit, I was in the middle of a job interview. (No, didn’t get the job.) I remember being shown into a co-worker’s office to see the online video. My first thought was of family friends we had in NY – a few of whom worked in the financial district of  NY. My cousin also went into NY just about everyday for school. As I drove home, I wasn’t really at the wheel. Somehow I got home. And when I did, I turned on CNN and just sat there, dazed. I SAW the second plane hit in real time. It was then I realized along with the rest of the world we were indeed being attacked and let me tell you – I had never been more scared of anything. Later that same day, my now husband and I were outside trying to get my car started. We realized there was an eeriness to the world – and then we pinpointed that eeriness. No planes. Just as when you are injured, you don’t realize how attached to everything else the spot of injury is until it isn’t working properly. Growing up, we had never lived a day without planes flying overhead.

After 9/11, I wanted to go to NY. I wanted to help, to do something. I was angry, and felt helpless – much like the rest of America. I didn’t go – I’m sorry to say, but God clearly had other plans for me.

We discovered at our wedding that my cousin had been on the train headed into NY that day and had watched everything happen from right across the river. And yet another family friend had been in the towers the DAY BEFORE! God works in mysterious ways.

If you have read this post, please pause for a moment – Remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives, Remember the victims who were so carelessly murdered that day. And Remember the Families who were so tragically affected by the events of that day. Keep them in your hearts and your prayers. And never forget.