Is PPD a series of mini-episodes or thoughts vs. something major: A reader makes an important point

Yesterday, I posted this piece regarding a DM I received at Twitter. Tonight I received this response which includes some excellent points. I wanted it to have more than just an afternoon meandering about. So here it is- in all it’s bloggy goodness. Thanks for commenting!

I so much appreciate your honesty here, Lauren. And, of course, am always so glad to know that you are out there sharing your important journey with other moms who are struggling or who have struggled.

I am going to make a point that, please know, comes with a huge amount of respect. It is more of an observation and a request to look at this question with another perspective than anything else.

The title to this post is “Is PPD a series of mini-episodes or thoughts vs. something major?”- I imagine that the woman who wrote this might be wondering if she could possibly have PPD- because for her, this is characterized by a series of on again off again thoughts or feelings that come and go and come back again, You know the situation I am sure: mom feels awful and confused by her thoughts and then for a day or two feels better. So she doesn’t reach out And then, again, WHAM, she feels awful again.. for a few days, and so she thinks she will seek out help. But then, ahhh.. a few days of feeling much better so, again, she holds back. And on and on. This mom thinks she must not have PPD because hers is not a knock-down -lights out situation. And so it takes her months and months to get the help that she actually needs.
I see this over and over in my psychotherapy practice when moms come in, finally and exhausted, at about 8 months postpartum when they have been feeling this way for a longer time than they needed to.

I appreciate your last few paragraphs about how everyone’s experience is unique, and so I think this is what I am trying to highlight in my comments. PPMDs come in all shapes and sizes and on a spectrum from mild to severe.
Your last paragraph is a set of questions to moms out there and it reads “is your PPMD JUST a series of thoughts?”

I would ask that we all make sure that we acknowledge that no PPMD is a “just” anything… No matter what someone’s challenge is, it can be pretty darn ugly for them.

with respect and admiration,
Kate Kripke, LCSW

Dear Kate,

Thank you so very much for commenting and bringing to light such invaluable points regarding Postpartum Mood Disorders. They are indeed unique to each woman. It is true that just because a woman hasn’t been knocked flat off her feet she can’t struggle with a PMD. Just as clothes, PMD’s really do come in all shapes and sizes and they come in every season too – no mom deserves to have her experience with Postpartum Mood Disorders dismissed as you’re completely right – no one deserves to have their experience termed as “just” something. The word “just” is dismissive for me.

I chose to blog about this question because it legitimately intrigues me. The writer was asking a question about PMD’s in a way I had never considered them before. Honestly, I think it was the word “just” that drew me in to the question at hand. No mother should ever have to decide if her experience is “just” this or “just” that. It IS what it IS and that is what she will heal from as the days go on and the sun continues to rise on the new days ahead for her. No mother should ever have to worry about someone pointing the finger at her and telling her that it’s “just” a series of thoughts or “just” a series of episodes. And even if it is thoughts or episodes for her – they should ALWAYS be considered and handled as if they were a serious knock-down case of PMD’s. Each and every mother deserves our support regardless of where she may be on the “spectrum.” In fact, regardless of where she is on the spectrum, our compassion for her should remain in the same place. High.

Thank you again for your comment and for taking the time to point out some very invaluable information.


Lauren Hale

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