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.