Monday, January 19, 2015

MOM Kriste - Postpartum Depression, Part 3

Would you like to catch up?
Part 1
Part 2

While Kriste was pregnant with her second child, her daughter Lillian, she moved from Hawaii to Oklahoma and says, "I know, who wouldn't be depressed?!"  Given the experience Kriste had with postpartum depression after the birth of her son, I asked Kriste if there was anything specific she did to prepare while pregnant with her daughter:
"I moved and got set up with my new doctor, I was very upfront with her about PPD. I repeatedly asked her and her nurses to look for it and ask me about it often. I knew that when I was in the midst of the depression, I wouldn't be as willing to self-report how bad it really was."
After her daughter Lillian was born, Kriste really felt that she was doing well, and even took a standard PPD survey at her postpartum checkup with a good report. Things were looking good. However, "about a week or two later, I called the hospital social worker crying and told her that I needed someone immediately. I was in her office a few hours later, met with a nurse practitioner and had a prescription for anti-depressants in my hands an hour after that." 

In regard to chemical depression in general, Kriste used to think that people could simply CHOOSE joy and try hard enough to get themselves out of a depression. I asked Kriste to address some common misconceptions regarding PPD:
"...when there is true chemical imbalance, nothing that you do is going to rebalaance your hormones.  I reached out for support, as this is my nature. I process things externally and I like to talk. By the time Alexander was three months old, I had already called a PPD hotline. I knew that this was what I was dealing with. Sadly, those hotlines (at least at the time) were so understaffed that my call went unanswered for days. When someone finally got back to me, she was so judgmental and brusque in her manner of speaking, that I acted like I had just had a bad day when I left the message...I did everything that has ever been recommended to get someone out of a "funk", this wasn't a funk or a rough patch. Postpartum Depression is a serious medical issue. I don't even like to take Tylenol if I don't have to! I don't fill many of the antibiotic prescriptions that my pediatrician gives us. And yet, I believe in my heart that anti-depressants must be a part of the solution for women with PPD."
 Kriste's advice for other moms who might be dealing with PPD?
"I want to let moms know that there IS an end to these feelings. Your hormones WILL rebalance eventually.  That being said, you don't have to just wait for that to happen naturally. The time when your children will be infants is so very fleeting and precious. To spend that time in a personal hell is unacceptable. Women don't have to just toughen up and get through it. If one doctor doesn't listen, find another one. First time mamas need to be told by all of us that infancy is not a gauzy, cooing love-fest. We hurt other women when we pretend that everything is perfect after you have a child."
Mamas, please share Kriste's story with others mamas you know, especially new mamas.  You never know what your friends might be dealing with, or who you might be able to help.  New motherhood is beautiful, but it's also tiring, scary, overwhelming, confusing, emotional, messy and isolating.  Thank you SO much Kriste for opening up and sharing your story with us!

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