Monday, October 22, 2007

PPD - A Brief Interlude

I'll just start this post by saying people like Tom Cruise and anyone who does not acknowledge the real and painful phenomena of post-partum depression just piss me off. It's a real disease that requires support and often medication, so there.

In honor of Bloghers Act I'm posting about my brief, but all too real bout with post-partum depression. I had two babies in two years, and while the comments of "didn't you just have a baby" and "I just figured you were pregnant for a really long time" were funny, the experience of each was completely different. I've written my birth story here, and just to sum it up very briefly, the first baby was 4 years in the making, and our time together could not have been more joyous. Three months went by all too quickly and I was back at work.

My second pregnancy was a complete shock, and the time after D was born was one of the most stressful times of my life. With two babies and a drug-free birth, the physical recovery was a much longer process. My husband was gone more and didn't provide the food and water and general support I'd had the first time. I remember just having this driving need for both kids to go to sleep, all the time. I tried every binky until I found one the infant liked, and all I could focus on was getting those kids down so I could have time to myself. I was even somewhat relieved to return to work after four months. But the reality was both were fairly "easy" babies: the ate and slept well, no colic and usually only cried only when they really needed something.

I just felt bad all the time, and had a hard time enjoying my babies. I had joined a mom's group with the first, and learned about a talk on PPD which I went to with my husband. The relief of realizing what might be wrong and my options was tempered somewhat by my husband diagnosing himself with PPD as well. Frankly I felt like it gave him a pass on helping me, the one with the raging hormones, but that's another story.

I had the most wonderful doctor, who immediately gave me some anti-depressant samples. It just never occurred to me that I might be depressed, although I was so busy with work and kids and money issues I wasn't really focused on myself. The only time I had severe depression was right before my first divorce, and moving out of that house (after a year of feeling miserable) solved that problem. That time was much worse, but I also didn't have much to distract me from the real problem. I also felt I should be able to help myself, and address the environmental factors contributing to my depression. I am so grateful to my doctor for advising me the first step is to get myself to feel better with medication. It's hard to tell whether it was the medication, time or just having someone tell me it wasn't my fault that allowed me to turn the corner, and really start bonding with my kids. It still wasn't easy, but I was able to enjoy the good parts and deal with the rest.
I know people who've had much more severe cases than me, and I hope this Blog Day will take us even further in providing support, compassion and help for all who suffer.

This is cross-posted on Silicon Valley Moms, where you can read posts from others as well today.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for your candor. My experience with PDD was a little different because it came later, when my child was 4 months old an diagnosed with congenital blindness. Again, antidepressants helped me. I wouldn't deny them to anyone with PDD.