Twitter helps make staying current on specific topics of interest a much easier thing to do. Only problem is, there is SO much information to get through on a daily basis, and not enough time (and energy) for me to do it. Tweets about postpartum depression (PPD) can tell you a lot in terms of people’s attitudes, swayed by knowledge or ignorance.
There are the tweets that tell you the latest in research findings.
There are the tweets that tell you when a major news outlet like the NY Times publishes an article written about a PPD survivor. An example would be the wonderfully honest piece titled “Meltdown in Motherland” in the Opinion section of the NY Times on May 14th, in which the author Elizabeth Isadora Gold shares her experience with postpartum anxiety. The couple hundred comments (and you bet I scanned through all of them) that appeared over the course of the next 2 days were actually relatively reasonable and showed more knowledge, compassion, and appreciation for an author’s experience with a maternal mental health issue than some of the comments I’ve had the displeasure of seeing in the past. Some commenters said they were upset by the harsh comments, but truthfully, I didn’t see any that angered me to the point that I’ve been angered in the past (thankfully). Not sure if it has anything to do with the comment flagging mechanism or not (i.e., too many flags will cause a comment to get pulled). But anyway, there was an individual who commented that he and his wife had suffered through a stillbirth and survived the grief after nearly a year, without the use of any antidepressants…and how he is absolutely certain he (no mention of his wife, though) would not have needed to take any medications. I replied to that comment as follows:
I wouldn’t be so quick to judge other people’s situations when you don’t even know what they are. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for PPD. What works for one person may not work for the next person. Every individual is different, and every individual’s situation is different. Some women with PPD may only need medication, some may only need psychotherapy, while others may need a combination of both. The objective is to do whatever it takes in order to feel yourself again using whichever approach you feel most comfortable using. My insomnia, panic attacks and weight loss were so debilitating–and I couldn’t take care of myself or my baby–that I had to take medications to return my brain chemistry back to its normal levels.
And then there are the tweets that tell you how far from educated the public is with respect to postpartum mood disorders, or even just the difference between the postpartum blues and PPD. An example would be recent rumors that Jennifer Lopez suffered from PPD after she had her twin boys simply because the public caught her being emotional and crying a few days after childbirth. In her recent interview with E! Online, she quashed those rumors by explaining that her being very emotional 7-10 days after childbirth is the expected behavior of new moms due to hormones crashing after childbirth. She said she learned that from reading the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” which has now been turned into a big screen flick soon to be released…and one in which she is co-starring.
Don’t mean to digress, but that is not a movie I’ll be rushing to pay $12 to see in the theaters. Why? Well, for one, the trailer looked too silly and sloppily produced for my taste. Also, if you visit Lisa Belkins’ article from May 16th on the Huffington Post titled “The Pregnancy Book That Made Me a Nervous Wreck is Now a Movie,” you’ll see my sentiments exactly…no actually, Ms. Belkin verbalizes it a whole lot better than I could ever do. Do I hear any others out there who agree that the book only increased anxiety levels with the information overload to the point that you stopped reading it, thinking (like I did), “Oh what the heck, I’ll just go with the flow…whatever happens, I’ll just deal with it then.”
I actually would’ve appreciated reading a book like mine during my pregnancy. Ha, sorry, couldn’t miss the opportunity to mention my book “One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood,” which incidentally is not just a memoir, it’s a self help guide as well. The health of the family unit is dependent on the health of the mother, so it is SO important that she goes into motherhood knowing what to expect in terms of pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. This includes how to deal with certain challenges in infant care, keeping stressors to a minimum, and getting plenty of support. My book contains advice in the form of Do’s and Don’ts for the new mother, the new father, family members and friends. I even share my experience with child-care complications like colic, eczema, and cradle cap—things that can only add to the anxiety levels of the first-time parent, yet pregnancy books and magazines don’t talk enough about.