PPD? Nah, It Could Never Happen To Me….Or So I Thought

Do any of these statements sound like you? 

“PPD?  Nah, it could never happen to me.  I’d never let it.  Especially now that I have a baby I’ve always dreamed of having.”

“I’m a strong person.  I’ve overcome many challenges in my life, both on a personal and professional level.  I can handle taking care of a baby.  Plus, I’ve never been depressed before, so how would I get depressed all of a sudden now?”

“I’m busy enough as it is with preparing for the baby’s arrival.  I’ve read all there is to read on infant care, breastfeeding, etc.  I don’t have the time, or need, to read up on PPD.  If it were that big a deal, then why have I never heard anyone I know say they’ve experienced it?  Why don’t you ever see anything in the media about it?  Must not happen a whole lot, so what are the chances I will get it?”

If you look at the Postpartum Support International poster, you’ll see the eye-catching statement that surprised me when I first saw it, as I’m sure it would surprise most people:  “The #1 complication of childbirth is depression.”  Like me, many people have heard of “postpartum depression” but don’t know what it means, at least not until it affects you directly. 

Before I learned about 4-5 months after my daughter was born, 3-4 months after my first symptoms started, and 2-3 months after I learned I had PPD, I didn’t know anyone who has had it (and I’m not counting the likes of Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond either).  In reading up on pregnancy, labor and delivery, I skipped everything that was titled “postpartum depression,” whether it be a pamphlet from the hospital’s childcare class you enrolled in or a chapter in a pregnancy book.  I never thought it would be something that would happen to me.  I thought I had succumbed and overcome many obstacles in my life without ever having depression, I would never let something like PPD happen to me.  I thought it was all a matter of mind over matter. 

The words “Knowledge is Power” have a deeply significant meaning here, because had I known that as many as one out of eight new mothers develop PPD, I would’ve tried to become familiar with what it is, its risk factors, and its symptoms BEFORE having my baby, and I would’ve never traveled that long, lonely and dark road during those dreadful weeks I was sick with PPD.  It hit me suddenly and without warning, and since I didn’t know squat about PPD, my anxiety levels were through the roof.  Insomnia led quickly to panic attacks, quickly debilitating me to the point that I couldn’t sleep, let alone function, without being medicated. 

But I emerged smarter and stronger than I was before my PPD experience.  For that, I am ever so grateful.

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4 thoughts on “PPD? Nah, It Could Never Happen To Me….Or So I Thought

  1. Great post, Ivy! I am pretty sure that the reason I was able to get diagnosed and get the help I needed just 2 short weeks after having Easton, was that I was prepared. Having a history of depression, I read EVERYTHING I could about PPD while I was pregnant. I knew the symptoms and the treatment needed. That is also the reason that 7 1/2 months later, I can now put the “I’m a survivor” badge on my blog. Because I am.

    • That is so awesome, Julie! Wouldn’t it be great if all moms suffering from a PPMD could do what you did and become knowledgeable and got your treatment early so that you can enjoy being a mom sooner?! I love that you are a fellow PPD survivor blogging about your experience!

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