Friday, August 24, 2012

Postpartum depression.

For those of you who know me, you know that one of my passions is postpartum mental illness.  I had postpartum depression with both Teagan and Kyra.  I have friends who suffered from postpartum depression, I have a friend who suffered from probably the most severe, postpartum psychosis.  Some of my friends had a great support system in place and they were able to get the help they needed sooner rather than later.  Some didn't have that support system and were left to flounder around trying to figure out if they'd gone crazy or not.
There are many misconceptions about postpartum mental illness. Whenever I hear an untrue statement about postpartum mental illness I try to educate and explain why that particular statement is certainly untrue and what the truth is.  I don't claim to be an expert, although one day I hope to be, but I'm a mom of two.  I am a mom who suffered.  And I will continue to be an advocate for those moms who are suffering, who might suffer, or who did suffer and had nowhere to turn.  It's inexcusable that we are not helping these women.
I came across an article from Katherine Stone, who is an incredible postpartum mental illness advocate, and thought I would share some of it with you.  This is a list of common statements that are made towards or about women who are suffering with a postpartum mental illness.

This list is by Katherine Stone from the website Postpartum Progress. 

20 Things I NEVER Want to Hear or Read Again, Postpartum Depression Edition
1. Just [go for a walk/go out with your friends/have a drink] and you’ll feel all better.
2. If you just buy this book online, even though we don’t tell you what’s in it, you’ll learn the “cure” for postpartum depression.
3. In a news report on infanticide or any other child murder: She must have had postpartum depression.
4. Magazine or online article headline: 10 Easy Steps To Get Over PPD Now! (None of them will mention, of course, that getting over postpartum depression is not easy, and none of them will mention getting medical help.)
5. Women have been having babies for tens of thousands of years, and they got through new motherhood just fine. Toughen up.
6. I just finished my album/thesis/marathon/political campaign. This must be what postpartum depression feels like.
7. Maybe postpartum depression is God’s way of letting you know you don’t have enough faith. I think you should pray harder.
8. Here’s some information on postpartum depression I’m supposed to give you. You’re probably not going to get it, though, so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it.
9. Quitting breastfeeding is selfish. The baby’s health is so much more important than yours.
10. I know breastfeeding is really important to you, but you have to quit so you can be treated for PPD.
11. This is the exact medication and dosage I took for my PPD. Just take that and you’ll be OK.
12.I would never take antidepressants. You shouldn’t need that stuff to be a mother.
13. Here’s a prescription.(No mention of side effects. No mention that it may not work. No mention of therapy. No mention of follow up appointments.)
14. You’re just mad the baby is getting all the attention.
15. PPD is just a fad. Only spoiled, Western women get it, and now that it’s “popular” on the blogs, everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.
16. Can’t you see how lucky you are? You have a beautiful baby!
17.This will probably go away on it’s own, so don’t worry about it.
18. I wouldn’t talk about this with anyone. You don’t want them to think you’re crazy.
19. You don’t need to worry about your symptoms unless you’re having thoughts of harming your baby.
20. Postpartum depression isn’t real.

Have you ever been told or asked these questions?  Have you ever asked these questions? What are some questions you've been asked?  Let's think before we speak ladies and gents. You never know how much power words have until you use them to hurt somebody else.