In Memory of Amber

On October 26th, I found out that a friend and wonderfully passionate and caring postpartum depression (PPD) advocate and blogger passed away over the weekend.

Her name was Amber Koter Puline.

I was shocked. Heartbroken. I haven’t really been able to process this over the past 5 days. I’ve only blogged 4 times since last August, but I felt the need to blog about this, to pay tribute to her.

I’m having a hard time conveying my feelings right now. I don’t think anything I write will adequately convey what this loss really means to me and so many people who were fortunate to have known her, loved her, befriended her, and been helped by her. Although my words don’t flow as beautifully as they do for those who are naturally gifted in writing, my intentions and feelings are genuine.

I met Amber almost exactly 10 years ago today at the annual Postpartum Support International (PSI) conference, which took place from October 27-30, 2010 in Pittsburgh. I remember feeling so excited to meet her and 2 other fellow PPD bloggers–Lauren Hale and Katherine Stone–at that conference. I greatly admired them all. Amber for her Beyond Postpartum blog and her work facilitating postpartum support groups and helping connect mothers with resources in the Atlanta area. Lauren for her My Postpartum Voice blog and her work with PPDChat on Twitter. And Katherine Stone for her very well-known blog Postpartum Progress. Between the time I first started blogging in February 2009 and for a year or two after that, we were the only individual bloggers whose blogs were focused specifically on PPD and other postpartum mood disorders (e.g., postpartum psychosis, postpartum OCD, postpartum anxiety). We used to run ideas by each other. The three of them inspired me.

Anger from my PPD experience helped my words flow freely, which is why I used to write frequent blog posts. Words used to flow from my head, out through my fingertips, onto the keyboard, and onto the computer screen whenever something fired me up that was PPD-related. That process helped promote healing. Ever since my anger dissipated in 2018, I’ve been at a loss for words and the desire to blog. This sudden loss of Amber, after not really being in touch with her much for the past few years, fills me with much regret. I’ve decided to channel this regret into positive action. So, just as Amber inspired me to blog 11 years ago, she is now inspiring me to take up blogging again.

Starting now and ending next October, I will write a blog post at least once a month in dedication to you, Amber, my friend and fellow PPD survivor mama. You helped so many mamas over the years that there is so much good karma because of you! Even though you are not physically with us, we know your spirit will continue to be with us as we find ways to keep that positive momentum going in your memory, like helping a new mother who is struggling, spreading awareness about PPD and/or donating to one of the following 2 organizations in your name:

Mental Health America of Georgia https://www.mhageorgia.org/donate/
Postpartum Support Internationalhttps://www.postpartum.net/donate/

Yes, I will do this in your memory, Amber.

Honored to Tell My PPD Story Via A Plus

Thank you, Ashton Kutscher’s A Plus (A+), for selecting me to be one of the moms for your postpartum depression piece titled “What is Postpartum Depression? 5 Moms Tell Us About the Darkest Time in Their Lives” last Thursday.  My story was shared with A+ readers, along with the stories of Amber Koter Puline, Lauren Hale, Alexandra Rosas, and Kimberly Morand.  I would’ve blogged about this earlier if I wasn’t so darn busy, with one day blending into the next and blending into the next….

Truthfully, I hadn’t heard about A+ previously, and I was quite surprised to hear that the founder is none other than Ashton Kutscher!  There are many who still haven’t heard of A+ and I have still yet to see a single A+ article pop up in my newsfeed shared by others in my Facebook circle.  A+ gave me the opportunity to share my story to reach a broader audience, so I am going to give a little plug (even though I don’t really think Ashton and his team need this).

After reading the “About Us” section on the A+ site, I’m feeling more honored than ever. I can see why they decided to share our PPD stories.  It’s for the same reason why the 5 of us (and many others) have been trying for many years (Amber & Lauren since 2007 and me from 2009) to spread awareness and get our message out to other mothers.

We strive to deliver positive journalism to readers, with the intention of making a meaningful difference in the world by highlighting our common humanity, promoting personal growth, and inspiring social change.

Sounds a bit like Huffington Post, don’t it?  Well, kinda sorta.  The specific mission of the stories published via A+ is to “make readers feel better about themselves or the world around them after they’ve read it” and inspire readers to take positive action and to be better people by sharing positive/uplifting stories, encouraging ways for people to improve their personal situations, increasing a sense of community, empathy, and the interconnections that exist between themselves and others regardless of geography.

Our stories encourage readers to see themselves in others and reveal their secret selves. Our stories highlight moments of courage, humiliation, anger, folly, but the ones that hit home are the ones that cause readers to feel that they are not alone with their imperfect selves. We do not make fun or put others down; we find ourselves in them!

I’ve blogged many a time about the over-eagerness of media to capitalize on “click bait” for the sole purpose of generating the greatest number of views possible by coming up with a juicy or attention-getting headline.  Very rarely are those click bait articles about good news.  More often than not, those stories incite negative responses from people, whether it be anger, sadness, outrage and/or the desire for retribution and wishing ill will upon others (think trolls).  Those types of articles feed hateful thinking and behavior and keep the vicious cycle going round and round with no end in sight.  The outcome is greater disappointment in others and the world we live in.  Basically, all of the opposite effects from the mission of A+ noted above.

Upworthy is a media site that tries to inspire positive thinking by sharing positive/uplifting stories. Let’s hope that the A+ movement will continue to differentiate itself from the Upworthy’s and Huffington Posts of the world, and truly succeed at making a difference.  Because, you know what?  We truly need positive change.  And a lot of it!

24th Annual Postpartum Support International Conference

Last week, I spent 3 days (October 27-30) at the annual Postpartum Support International conference.  This year, it was held in conjunction with the biennial (every 2 year) Marce Society conference, which is traditionally held in the city of the current President of the Marce Society.  With the current President of the Marce Society being Katherine Wisner of the Western Psychiatric Institute & Clinic, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, this year’s conference took place in Pittsburgh.

Past PSI conferences I attended were in Jersey City, NJ and Kansas City, KS.    With this year’s conference being held in conjunction with the Marce Society, there were over 400 people in attendance, including leading researchers and experts in postpartum depression (PPD).  I was honored to be in the presence of so many individuals who have made such a huge difference on behalf of so many women who have suffered perinatal mood disorders.

Individuals like (note that there are too many to list here, but here are the ones that are most notable to me because I have read their research in the years I have been doing tons of reading on PPD):

  • John Cox, DM, FRCPsych, FRCP, who, along with colleagues J.M. Holden and R. Sagovsky, developed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) in the 1980s.  Dr. Cox was awarded the Louis Victor Marce Medal in 1986 for his pioneer research and clinical work in perinatal Psychiatry carried out in Uganda, Scotland and Staffordshire.  In 2002 he was elected Secretary General of the World Psychiatric Association.
  • Lee Cohen, MD, director of the Perinatal and Reproductive Psychiatry Clinical Research Program within the Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit of the Massachusetts General Hospital, as well as an associate professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Cohen is a national and international leader in the field of women’s mental health, and is widely published with over 200 original research articles and book chapters in the area of perinatal and reproductive psychiatry.
  • David Rubinow, MD, Chair of Psychiatry and Professor of Medicine at UNC Chapel Hill.  Dr. Rubinow is currently President of the American Neuroendocrine Society and the Society of Biological Psychiatry, has won numerous awards for his research, his clinical supervision and training, and his scientific administration, and serves on the editorial boards of six journals and has authored more than 300 scientific publications.
  • Cheryl Tatano Beck, DNSc, CNM, FAAN, is a Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Nursing.  Dr. Beck serves on the editorial boards of 4 journals and has published over 125 scientific articles as well as 4 books.

I was one of the minority there who was not a mental, medical or public health professional, or social worker.  There were 3 other young ladies there who, like me, are simply moms who want to learn more about perinatal mood disorders and find ways to help spread awareness, as well as to advocate on behalf of and provide support to other mothers.   These young ladies were Katherine Stone, Lauren Hale and Amber Koter-Puline.  This was my 2nd time meeting Katherine and 1st time meeting both Lauren and Amber.  This was the first time all 4 of us PPD bloggers were together in one place.

Here we are:

Amber Koter-Puline, Katherine Stone, Lauren Hale, and me

Another highlight of the conference was the appearance of Former First Lady Mr. Rosalynn Carter as the keynote speaker and book signing of the book “WITHIN OUR REACH: Ending the Mental Health Crisis,”  which she co-authored along with Susan K. Golant and Kathryn E. Cade.

There was so much information provided at the conference, but I was able to take away these 2 really important points that I would like to share with you:

  1. It is critical that we integrate behavioral health with medical care that is provided by those charged with the reproductive health of women.  I learned there is a multi-disciplinary approach to treating women with perinatal depression comprised of a psychiatrist, obstetrician, obstetrical nurse practitioner, and psychiatric social worker at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco.  We REALLY need more of these throughout the country!  In certain other countries, it’s the midwives and early childhood nurses–in addition to GPs–that are the front line of screeners.
  2. There was a presentation about the proposed changes being made regarding the treatment and screening of PPD for the DSM-5 due to be published in May 2013.  During this presentation, the ballroom grew noticeably hotter as one by one members of the audience took to the microphone to state their questions and concerns.  Most of them centered around the announcement that 4 weeks is the cut-off date for onset.  I mean, have you heard of a more ridiculous thing than that?!   That means that any screening that may occur (as not all OB/GYNs or other health professionals screen today) would only occur in the first 4 weeks postpartum, since a postpartum mood disorder (PPMD) would’ve had to rear its ugly head by then.   Why, then, you ask would they propose such an outlandish thing?  Well, it’s because all these years the DSM-IV and all its predecessors are based purely on statistics obtained directly from research.  Not doctor’s offices or hospitals or clinics.  Not from data obtained from the EPDS given to the thousands of moms that give birth each year.   Sounds like typical political, ahem, B.S. if you ask me….

Okay, so what does this all mean?  This means that moms will not only continue to have their OB/GYNs dismiss their PPMD symptoms, but now in addition, there will be a specific cutoff of 4 weeks.  Anything after 4 weeks will risk being shrugged off, as doctors will be referring to the handy dandy DSM-5 as the Bible and complacently inform these moms that they couldn’t have a PPMD because they were more than 4 weeks postpartum.

There is still opportunity to improve on the DSM-5 as it is being proposed.  You can help make a positive difference.  How?  Well, starting in May 2011 and ending midnight of June 30, 2011, the public will be able to submit comments on the draft of the DSM-5 on the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM Development website.   I will be signing up to do so, and I hope you will too.   The more women who do, the better chance we have of convincing the powers that be that they need to extend the onset period to 1 year (or even 3 months would be far better than 4 weeks)!  Voice your concern.  Tell them why.  Share your story.  I know numerous women whose symptoms of PPD didn’t begin until after the 6th week.  Like me, for one.   Other countries who have had ancient social support customs in place for centuries have had 6-8 weeks as the period in which the new mom must be cared for.  There is a reason behind that….just as there is a reason behind the Swedish model of the primary care physician (or general practitioner) performing postnatal screening between 8 and 21 weeks postpartum, with 13 weeks as peak prevalence.

To think that women who are sick with PPD will continue to be shrugged off and go untreated and allowed to suffer unnecessarily angers me to no end.    We are supposed to make progress, but instead, we are more concerned about statistics obtained during very limited studies.   Folks on the DSM-5 committee, this is a blatant example of not being able to see the forest for the trees. 

Blogs Speak to Different People Differently

Feels like ages ago since my last post.  Anyway, I was motivated by Katherine Stone’s post from last week titled “Diverse Voices Are Important to Suffering Mothers” to write this post.   

I agree 100% with Katherine in that “Different people respond to different voices and different experiences.”  That’s why the more women who speak up about their postpartum depression (PPD) experiences, the more people we will reach–not just literally in terms of numbers and geographic locations, but figuratively in terms of being able to get through to all kinds of women.   Katherine’s Postpartum Progress blog has over the years cultivated a huge following worldwide.   She empowers women with knowledge about perinatal mood disorders.   Through the information she shares, she helps women suffering from PPD feel less alone in their experiences. 

Lauren Hale over at My Postpartum Voice and Amber Koter-Puline over at Beyond Postpartum are also wonderful examples of PPD bloggers who share the same goal as Katherine.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….it’s these three inspiring women that have motivated me to devote my blog completely to PPD and other perinatal mood disorders.  We blog with the hope there will be fewer moms out there suffering the way we had suffered.   Though each one of these ladies has their own style and approach, they are all very focused on providing support.   

So, what’s my angle?  I always voice my own opinion on each one of my weekly blog posts.  I also voice my anger in response to ignorant comments made about perinatal mood disorders, or mental health, in general.  As some of my blog followers are already aware, my #1 pet peeve is behavior/remarks made out of ignorance, prejudism, condescension.    This comes about as a result of how I was picked on in high school.   Do I regret those days?  Sure.  But if it hadn’t been for my experience growing up, I probably wouldn’t be the way I am today, trying to tackle ignorant comments whenever they come up.  Whether they are in the form of media attempts to educate people about PPD or blog posts (and let’s not forget comments), I am going to speak my mind and point out incorrect/ignorant statements.  

My style may not be as “warm and fuzzy” as my fellow PPD bloggers, but that’s just me.  I am an analytical/scientific/logical kind of person, which comes from my being a science major in college.   My style or approach to blogging about PPD may not resonate with many of the mommas out there.  My reaction–or shall I say anger–to ignorant comments may scare some mommas away just as easily as it may attract followers.  As Katherine stated in her post:  “You may not like what someone says or how they said it, but if it helps a woman who is suffering and feels alone that’s what is important.  At least, that’s what is important to me.”  Amen, Katherine, Amen!

Not everyone is going to like my blog, as I’m sure no one blog is going to appeal to everyone.  Just like everyone is unique, every blog offers a different voice, a different experience.   Just like Katherine indicated, you can always start up your own blog, if you haven’t done so already and join the growing number of women who are speaking up about their PPD experiences.  Say it in your own way.  After all, that was the original purpose for having a blog–to keep an online diary of your thoughts and experiences.  We’ve come a long way from keeping personal diaries of one’s thoughts and feelings to be kept to yourself versus a blog, which anyone with a PC and Internet access can view in today’s digital way of life.

My latest example of tackling ignorant comments about PPD came about this past Sunday, July 4th.   All I wanted to do was search for the latest news on Georgette Massi, the woman from Mahwah, NJ, who drove drunk with 3 small children in her car less than a couple months ago.  There was this website that came up first when I did a search for her name on Google.  Well, I did what I probably shouldn’t have done, especially on a holiday as we were getting ready to celebrate with friends, which is read the comments.  There was one that had a warning flag of “Beware of possible ignorant comment and angry person behind comment.”  And what did I choose to do?  Reply to the comment with my typical FYI.  My gut was telling me that the link to my post about the possible correlation between PPD and the rise in the number of drunk driving moms (with kids under one) would spark a negative reaction, and boy, did it do that!  But I felt it was contained because the voice behind the person exchanging comments with me (not the one I addressed in my comment) sounded reasonable, relatively speaking.  Then, like 2 days later (today), while writing this post and going to the site to retrieve the title and URL (which I’ve subsequently dropped from this post because that site does NOT deserve any attention whatsoever), I did what I probably shouldn’t have done, which is check to see if there were any new comments.  Lo and behold, there was one.  And boy, was it a doozy.  This one was from the person whose comment I addressed on Sunday.   There was no reason behind it.  Just anger.  And this coming from a PPD survivor!  I couldn’t believe it.   She had blinders on and had no intention of taking them off.  Nah, she was not going to be open-minded, mature or intelligent.  There was only one way of thinking and it was all hers, as wrong as it was.  It was her way or the high way.  

Well, like I said earlier in this post, there are many kinds of people out there.  Some who survive experiences to be stronger, more empathetic people who want to make a positive difference for others.  And there are those who survive their experiences with a crapful of anger directed at everyone else, where there is no room for reasoning.  Just anger.  They don’t care about anyone else.  They don’t want to help anyone else.  Paying it forward doesn’t exist in their vocabulary.  Hey, all I can say to that is, there is such a thing as karma.  What comes around, goes around. 

Am I a masochist?  Maybe.  My friends and husband call me crazy.  What I really believe is that by tackling the comments as I see them, I am in essence tackling the stigma of mental illness.  It’s such a monster to have to tackle.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way.  And I’m hoping that with all our voices speaking up, we will chip away at the stigma so that women don’t have to continue suffering in silence, ashamed, embarrassed and not necessarily knowing what is happening to them.  And unlike what this “PPD survivor” was ranting at me, all belligerent and everything, no, not every woman with PPD is going to know she has PPD.  If that were the case we would be much ahead of where we are today!  The sad truth is that not every woman is going to know  she has PPD since everyone doesn’t know what the symptoms are.  Many women realize there’s this stigma and keep their experience unnecessarily to themselves, hiding behind a facade of smiles when deep down inside they are crying.  They want their motherhood experiences to be joyous and feel ashamed/guilty for not being able to have that experience.   And then to make matters worse, not all doctors diagnose correctly.

Be the Change, Be an Advocate, Help Other Moms

Some of you are probably thinking “Well, looky here….Ivy finally posted this.”  Yes, I know some of you who have your blog set up to receive my new blog posts have seen this title come up a few weeks ago.  I was indeed planning to post this a few weeks ago, but before I had a chance to write anything, I hit “Publish” by mistake.  And then of course another topic came along that I felt had to be published right away.  Before I realized it, a few weeks have gone by.  I finally found the opportunity to write this one up.

Why I Do What I Do

Those impassioned about certain causes usually aren’t motivated in such fashion unless they are directly impacted by a life-changing experience such as illness or death of a loved one.  It takes life-altering experiences, such as cancer, postpartum depression (PPD), or surviving the death of a loved one to motivate individuals to try to make a difference in the world and to try to help others.  Some are determined to help others by sharing their stories, like Brooke Shields, Marie Osmond, and Lance Armstrong. Others do what they never dreamed they would ever do, like run for United States Congress, which is what Carolyn McCarthy did after her husband was killed and her son was severely injured during the Long Island Railroad Massacre, and after the representative in her district voted against an assault weapons bill.  

For me, it was anger of people’s ignorance – those who were my doctors, those to whom I’ve talked and those in the media who say stupid things – that propelled me to write a book.  I was angered by the way I was treated by my doctors.  Angry for no one telling me about PPD in the first place and the lack of information that is given to the public via magazines, hospital training, doctors’ offices, and television.   Angry for the way society makes assumptions that all mothers have smooth and easy pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum experiences.   I decided I would channel all the energy stemming from my anger and do something positive and try to help others.  I would tell my story in the hopes of helping and educating as many people as possible about this silent and potentially deadly condition.  I would chronicle my experience and share the horrific feelings and manifestations of PPD that I experienced, so that others can know better what to look for.  

Determined to learn more about this misunderstood, underdiagnosed and undertreated illness, I joined Postpartum Support International in 2006 and attended two annual conferences since to network with and pick up the latest information from subject matter experts.   Each time I sat down at the computer to write more, I felt lighter and lighter.  I have never believed in keeping things to myself.  It is not healthy to keep things all bottled up.  Keeping things bottled up and keeping yourself so busy you don’t have time to think about things that are bothering you—these are popular tactics used to avoid having to deal with problems at hand.  But there is a major price to pay when it comes to doing either.  To maintain a healthy body and mind, you need to deal with the problem, rather than letting it build up over time until the brain becomes overloaded with stress, which can have mood and behavior consequences.  You need to talk about whatever is bothering you either verbally or in writing.  

I’m of the mindset that things happen in for a reason.  If I hadn’t gone down that incredibly painful path and been angered by the idiotic rantings of Tom Cruise and angered by the lack of compassion and understanding of the medical professionals with whom I sought treatment, I would not have felt impassioned about the topic of PPD and about writing a book….or blogging, for that matter.   Having my own blog has given me more courage in speaking out about my PPD experiences and what I have learned from those experiences to others. 

Be the Change

If we all adapted the attitude or belief that each individual is capable of helping to bring about change, the odds would be in our favor in terms of reducing the numbers of moms suffering unnecessarily from it each and every year, and perhaps–just perhaps–lowering the PPD occurrence rate….because and repeat after me “KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.”    If we all just sat on our tushes, waiting for the next woman to do something to make a difference, change will continue to crawl along at a snail’s pace.  Just as my experience with PPD has inspired me to write this book and set up my own blog, as well as tell people in person about my experience whenever the topic comes up, I hope your experience inspires you to try to increase awareness of this common and all-too-often ignored illness.  I hope you will feel the same urge to share your experience with others, so that in the long run, there will no longer be ignorance about PPD and as a result, fewer women will suffer this debilitating illness at a time when they should be enjoying their babies.  I hope you feel the same passion to help other mothers get access to the resources and treatment needed for a speedy recovery.

Be An Advocate

There is still too much ignorance out there about PPD.  If you are currently suffering from PPD, consider joining the ranks of PPD advocates like Katherine Stone, Lauren Hale and Amber Koter-Puline to educate others after your recovery.  Be a legislative advocate like Susan Dowd Stone, whose efforts to support the Mother’s Act sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) helped push it through recently under the Health Insurance Reform.  Join Postpartum Support International and consider being a regional coordinator to provide support and local resources to PPD moms, start a blog, create a website, advocate education to expectant parents by hospitals, advocate education to all medical school students, or travel around the country to educate others about this serious condition affecting so many women, create a PPD support group, or write a book about your experience. 

As long as society remains ignorant about PPD, the stigma associated with mental illnesses–particularly around a time that is supposed to be happy (i.e., childbirth)–will continue to keep mothers mouths shut and suffering unnecessarily in silence.  It’s unfortunate how so many mothers suffering from PPD tend to feel ashamed for not being able to cope like all other mothers around them (not realizing that many around them may also be suffering in silence).

The more PPD survivors speak up, the more people in general will know about PPD.  Then, hopefully, PPD moms will feel less afraid to speak up and seek help.  PPD survivors must come together to break down that wall of silence and fight the stigma associated with PPD.  Look how long it’s taken to get where we are today.  If we sit there and don’t do anything, do you think change will happen on its own?  Do you think research will continue full-steam ahead?   I don’t think so.  So, it’s up to us PPD survivors to make a difference for our fellow women. 

Last but not least, and I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…..progress in destigmatization of depression and postpartum depression includes addressing ignorant remarks whenever they are heard.  Simply ignoring them won’t accomplish anything, least of all public awareness.    For all those who are PPD survivors, whenever you hear people say off-the-mark comments about PPD, speak up and be heard! 

Help Other Moms

If you are currently suffering from PPD, consider helping other moms after your recovery.  Being a warmline volunteer and/or PPD support group volunteer would be tremendously beneficial to a mother who is suffering PPD.   Just think of it this way.  Try thinking back to the time when you wished you had someone to talk to about your experience, someone who could understand what you were going through.  Wouldn’t it have made a difference had you met a PPD survivor—a mother who has been through what you are going through and who is living proof that you too will get well? 

If there is a lack of PPD or postpartum support groups near you, after you are well again, you may want to consider forming one with other PPD survivors.  We need more leaders like Jane Honickman to take initiative and more organizations like Santa Barbara Postpartum Education for Parents need to exist.  She also, incidently, founded Postpartum Support International.    Now, this is what I call BEING THE CHANGE!

Dr. Shoshana Bennett is a 2-time survivor of undiagnosed PPD who was inspired by her experience to become an expert on PPD, having published multiple books, earning multiple degrees (2 masters degrees, a PhD and licensing as a clinical psychologist), founding one of the first postpartum groups in the country in 1987, acting as former President of Postpartum Support International, helping over 18,000 women worldwide through individual consultations, support groups and wellness seminars, traveling all over the world as guest lecturer and keynote speaker, and training medical and mental health professionals to assess and treat perinatal mood disorders.  Now, this is what I call BEING THE CHANGE!

Fellow PPD Blogger’s PPD Video on WebMD

Just a real quickie from me today to share the PPD video of fellow blogger over at Beyond Postpartum, Amber Koter Puline.  It’s a great video, so please be sure to check it out!   

For those who are currently struggling with PPD, a reminder to NEVER give up hope.  You will be well again.  And once you are, I hope you will join in awareness and advocacy efforts of other PPD survivors!    With education, there will be less ignorance.  With less ignorance, there will be less stigma.  We need more PPD videos like Amber’s, more PPD blogs, more media coverage on PPD (that’s accurate) in newspapers, magazines, and television.  But what you can do that doesn’t cost a whole lot of money or effort is to simply speak up about your PPD experience.  Fear not, you are far from alone in your experience!  Remember the statistics.  One out of eight new moms–that’s 15% of all new mothers out there–experience a postpartum mood disorder.