Never Assume that All is Blissful for the New Mom….Preventable Tragedies

If you have been following my blog, you may have read my previous post from April 9, 2009 titled “Pain, Sadness Hiding Behind Smiles….Never Assume and Think That All is Blissful for the New Mom.” 

Today, February 27, 2010 marks the second anniversary of the tragic suicide of Joseph Raso’s daughter, Crystal, four months after she gave birth to her second child.  I’d written about this sad, sad story last April when I first heard about it through Susan Stone’s blog, that included Joseph’s touching letter about what happened.  

Here’s a link to a very moving piece written by my friend Marcie Ramirez.  And click on the video montage that fellow PPD blogger Lauren Hale sent me, which Joseph sent her just a couple days ago.  

I urge you to please do the following:

  • Help Joseph’s efforts to spread awareness about PPD by sharing this story and the video montage with as many people as possible, particularly expectant/new parents. 
  • Become knowledgeable about PPD, including its risk factors and symptoms (and how to distinguish from the blues).  If you have a friend, relative, neighbor or co-worker that just had a baby, ask her how she REALLY feels.  Offer her your emotional and/or practical support.   From what you know about her, including whether she has been particularly stressed/concerned about anything recently and whether she had any pregnancy/childbirth complications, if you get any sense that all is not well (i.e., she is not able to sleep even when the baby sleeps, she is overly anxious), encourage her to tell the truth about her thoughts and feelings.  Print out my post detailing PPD symptoms and the difference between the blues, and show it to her.   This way, if she is in fact suffering from PPD, she will be less likely to try to hide how she is REALLY feeling.  Knowing she is not alone in her experience, there is no reason to feel any shame or guilt, and she will get better as long as she seeks treatment….such knowledge can decrease the likelihood that feelings of hopelessness and helplessness will take over and make her think that the only way to escape her pain is by taking her own life.

For more information, including the email Joseph sent to Lauren, click here.  

If you are struggling with a postpartum mood disorder, you can:

  • Contact the Postpartum Support International (PSI) warmline* at 1.800.944.4PPD.
  • Go to the PSI website for a list of coordinators for each state who can provide referrals to those who specialize in treating PPD in your area.

* Some states offer toll-free phone (either hot or warm) lines.  Hotlines operate 24/7 and can serve callers in different languages and are staffed by licensed mental health professionals.  For example, New Jersey has a hotline (800.328.3838).  Warmlines don’t operate on a 24/7 basis and are staffed by volunteers.

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11 thoughts on “Never Assume that All is Blissful for the New Mom….Preventable Tragedies

  1. I am currently suffering from this horrible condition known as PPD. I tried to ignore it, work around it, deny it, refuse to believe it, even fake it…until I snapped. I came too close to hurting my babies. I reached out to my family and friends. I was honest with my feelings. They were loving, supportive, and non-judgmental. There are days I want to hurt myself or my children and the feelings are strong. I refuse to keep quiet. The feelings I have ARE NOT WHO I REALLY AM. So, God forbid, if anything happens to me, I want to know that those I loved knew what I was battling, and that I fought to live.

    • Hi Eva,
      Thank you for visiting my blog and for sharing your situation. Glad to hear your family and friends have been supportive and non-judgmental…very important for you during your recovery. It sounds like you may have a more serious condition than PPD. It is extremely important, since you have had thoughts of hurting yourself (and your children) to seek professional help right away. DON’T PUT IT OFF. Have you seen or spoken to anyone who is an expert on postpartum mood disorders? Have you called Postpartum Support Int’l at 800-944-4PPD? They can provide referrals to therapists in your area that have expertise in treating patients with postpartum mood disorders.
      Take care,
      Ivy

  2. Thank you for the link to PSI, I wasn’t aware of its existence.

    Maybe someday soon I’ll come back and be able to watch the video. It’s been a bad day and I don’t think I can watch it or process it right now.

    • Hi Tara,
      You’re very welcome! I’ve been a member of PSI since ’06, immediately after my recovery. Maybe you can suggest others around you watch the video. It’s important for the public to be aware of PPD and its sometimes tragic consequences if a mother with PPD goes untreated. Thanks again for continuing to visit my blog.
      How are you feeling today?
      All the best,
      Ivy

      • Hi Ivy,

        I attended my support group last night and got new insight into something I’ve been feeling after another member shared her story. This illness makes you feel so isolated and it was good to actually hear first hand that I wasn’t alone. I know there are so many resources out there but it’s hard to reach out when you’re feeling so down and hopeless.
        Also finding a therapist/psychiatrist has been near impossible but I keep plugging away. I kid, but at least it gives me something to focus on.

        ~Tara

        • Hi Tara,
          I’m so glad to hear about your positive experience with the support group. Hearing that other moms with similar experiences definitely helps those suffering from PPD feel less alone in their experience! It would’ve helped me, but at the time, I didn’t even know that I had PPD. I didn’t know until I was stricken with panic attacks. By that time, I couldn’t function. Others have indicated it’s really hard to find a therapist/psychiatrist, and once they do, there’s an average one month wait, which reflects how things really need to change with respect to women’s reproductive mental health. There needs to be way more focus on those suffering from perinatal mood disorders.

          Let me know if I can help. Did you say you’ve contacted your local PSI coordinator to get referrals?
          – Ivy

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