Reader Contribution: My Experience with Postpartum Depression

Reader input 1

Today’s post was submitted to us by mom in Rochester, MN willing to share her experience with postpartum depression. This mother was more than willing to get her story out into the community to help us bring support around postpartum mental health for mothers and families in the Rochester and Southeast Minnesota area.

Thank you, for your contribution!

 


 

“I don’t like my baby,” I choked out in a sob over the phone to my mother. Instantly, the shame of the words I spoke washed over me, but at the same time I felt a sense of relief that the thought that had been circling in my head for a few days was finally out in the open. She responded “It will be okay,” and we never spoke of the confession again. This was my first real cry for help, and it would be seven long months before I got the courage to ask for help again.

I knew I had more than just ‘baby blues’ early on. Physically, my pregnancy was uneventful, delivery was quick, and recovery was slightly easier than with my first child. I birthed a beautiful, healthy baby that I loved with all my heart. But emotionally, my life was turned upside-down with multiple life events pre-and postpartum. My support system was basically nonexistent. My husband wasn’t able to take much time off from work, and my family was unable to help me. I was immediately overwhelmed with caring for a brand new, colicky baby in addition to a busy toddler.

Guilt quickly took over my life. I felt guilty that I couldn’t give my firstborn the attention I had previously provided. I felt guilty that breastfeeding was such a painful obligation rather than the beautiful, natural process I knew it could be. I felt guilty that my baby cried for hours and hours on end every day for months, and yet there was nothing I could do to make it better.

Next came feelings of resentment, isolation, anger, and crippling sadness. I felt as though I was drowning in plain sight, yet no one noticed. I felt completely alone even when surrounded by a room full of other people. I felt that no one could possibly understand how shameful I felt for resenting my beautiful, healthy children who I purposefully bought into this world.

I got out of bed every day and took care of my children, but I was mostly going through the motions,trying to make it through until my husband returned from work. I cried a lot. I yelled a lot. My husband and I argued all the time. I cried more.

I knew I had postpartum depression (PPD) and needed help, but I could not bring myself to go in. I was ashamed of the way I felt and acted. I was worried about the stigma of the diagnosis. I was afraid of what my husband and his family would think of me, since depression was something they saw as a weakness rather than a medical condition.

Then one day I saw a benefit being held on Facebook for the family of a mother who took her own life due to her struggles with PPD. From what I could gather, she was well-known in the world of natural parenting, and the online community was shocked. I looked at the pictures of this lovely young woman with her beautiful children. I couldn’t fathom that this seemingly happy appearing mother who was very similar to me in so many ways on surface glance chose to end her life. I have never had thoughts of hurting myself or others before, but I thought to myself that maybe she never did either. Until she did.

This realization finally gave me the courage to make an appointment with my primary care provider. After discussing my treatment options, I decided to start with cognitive behavioral therapy. I found a counselor that I now see regularly, and she has helped me begin to work through my life events that have affected my mood, and to examine my unrealistic expectations for myself as a mother. I also had my hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) removed, which improved my mood substantially in only a matter of weeks . I continue to struggle with my moods on a daily basis, and some days are much better than others. But I have to remember it took almost a year to get to the point I am at right now, so it will take some time to get back to baseline.

PPD stole almost an entire year from my family. The joy and happiness of bringing a new life into the world was crushed by the disorder I was unable to acknowledge. I hope my story brings awareness together mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, etc. Postpartum depression happens more than we as a society are aware of, and the mothers who experience it need all of the support they can get.

 


 

15 to 20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety postpartum? If you think you might be experiencing PPD or PPA talk to your family doctor or a counselor who specializes in postpartum mental health.

GUEST POST: Could you be a mom with postpartum depression or anxiety?

feature Allison PPD post

Today’s post is written by Allison Loftus LPC of Flourish Counseling Center LLC in Rochester, MN. Allison and I are working together through the month of May to cultivate a community of support around postpartum mental health for mothers and families in the Rochester and Southeast Minnesota area.

Thank you, Allison for tackling this with me!

Could you be a mom with postpartum depression or anxiety?


I had no idea I suffered from postpartum depression. I thought I was just a “bad mom” who couldn’t get her act together. I convinced myself that if I just tried harder, I would have a renewed interest in life and my new baby, more energy, and fewer tears.  But the harder I tried the more hopeless and worthless I felt.

Finally three years after the birth of my third child and midway through my schooling for my MA in psychology and counseling, I reached my breaking point. After weeks of crying and thoughts of just wanting to end it all, I called my family Dr. and was diagnosed with major depression.  I started on an antidepressant and started therapy.  Among many things, in therapy I learned I was not a bad mom I was depressed. I did the best I could and my children would be okay.

All moms need support postpartum; some moms need extra support.
Are you a mom who could use a little extra postpartum support?
 

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it maybe good to talk to your family doctor or contact a counselor who specializes in postpartum mental health.  

  • Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
  • Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
  • Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
  • Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
  • Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
  • Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?

 

Did you know 15 to 20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety postpartum?

3.jpg

Depression and anxiety runs in families. If your mom had postpartum depression or anxiety you are 20% as likely to experience it.

Factors that increase a mom’s or dad’s vulnerable to PPD or PPA

  • A personal history of depression or another mental health concerns
  • A family history of depression or another mental health concerns
  • A lack of support from family and friends
  • Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
  • Difficulties with a previous pregnancy birth, or adoption
  • Previous pregnancy or adoption loss
  • Marriage or money stress
  • Stressful life events

PPD and PPA does not discriminate.  It can affect not only moms post birth but moms post-adoption and post-miscarriage or stillbirth.

 If you think you might be experiencing PPD or PPA talk to your family doctor or a counselor who specializes in postpartum mental health. (Here is a link to a great resource for learning more about postpartum mental health.)

I still can’t believe I was half through my MA in psychology and counseling before I got a clue that I had depression.  The good news is I got the help I needed and you can too!

There is always hope and help…you just need to take the first step and ask!

And remember you are great mom!
Allison Loftus LPC

CMBN Bloom 2016: Rochester, MN Recap!

12733394_769440869855994_3226395470797239494_n.png

I had great time at the first event hosted by the Rochester Minnesota Moms Blog, Bloom 2016 (April 30 2016). The expo was designed for expectant and new moms.  The vendor list absolutely reflected that, and I was lucky to be part of the show!

I was also honored to be one of the experts on the discussion panel! I was happy to have the opportunity to speak about Babywearing Basics; how babywearing is biologically normal for the infant AND beneficial for the caregiver.

13082518_10206315158739239_796477832691645592_n

I was so wrapped up in all the amazing support and women around me, I only remembered to grab a couple photos. I look forward to watching this event grow in the future and hopefully continue to be a part of it.

13100676_10206315158059222_4802994667701519443_n

Doulas caught in action! Kate Andrew of Southern Minnesota Midwifery  caught Amanda Steele (Amanda Steele Birth Services and Photography) offering me physical support on the show room floor.  Doula-ing the doula with a counter-pressure hip squeeze. Fun fact: Amanda is my birth doula!

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 1.59.35 PM

Moms and Coffee (especially Old Abe Coffee) go together like…..something that goes together really well!

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 1.59.08 PM

I had to snap a picture of this instagram-able, colorful, nutrient dense plate from Tonic Juice Bar.

13062292_1704301679826893_4490758101990278155_n (1)

At the end of the show, I was able to sit down and receive the most beautiful belly henna from Henna Giraffe. My baby bump surely feels loved now!

I fully enjoyed the morning; from setting up, to connecting with other vendors, to chatting with moms and seeing all those babies. It was an event that poured into women in the Rochester, Minnesota community!

Be sure to stay tuned to our Facebook Page for a video announcing the winner of a 15ml bottle of Young Living Lavender Essential Oil!

 

Rochester, MN Bloom Expo – See you there Expecting and Postpartum Rochester Moms

orion reef

This Saturday, April 30, 2016; Blessed Momma will be participating in the City Moms Network Bloom event. We will be contributing to the expert panel with a discussion about babywearing during the 4th trimester and beyond. If you are headed to the expo, be sure to stop by our booth!  Come chat about how a postpartum doula and babywearing can make your postpartum experience special.

Hope to see you there!

Photo Credit: Ashlee Bernau Photography

Do You Doula? Life of the Mompreneur (with free printable)

mompreneurMompreneur
mom • pruh • nur
noun
An empowered female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.

It is officially my second week as a full time, self-employed, soon-to-be mom of 2.  I am a postpartum doula serving the Rochester and Southeastern Minnesota area.  I have decided to own the mompreneur title.  This is not something I decided to do to be cute, I am making a living and serving my family.

Empowered women, empower women.

Are you interested in becoming a doula? Do you desire to make a living wage while empowering women in Rochester, MN and beyond? Talk to me about what is required to become a doula and how you can make a difference in your community and for your family.

If you are an momprenuer, you understand that organization and prioritization are key to surviving. I have created this daily to-do planner, free for your use. Let me know if you are able to utilize it in your doula work or whatever it is you may do.

daily to do

 

10 Facts Every Woman Should Know

pexels-photo-large (1)

1. When someone tells you that you’re beautiful, believe them.
2. Your butt is perfect.
3. Everyone has rolls when they bend over.
4. You should have more confidence.
5. You should be a priority.
6. Don’t look for anyone else to save you, be able to save yourself.
7. It’s okay to not love every part of your body.
8. We all have that one friend who seems to have it all together, you might be that woman to someone else.
9. Don’t let social media make you feel inferior.
10. You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress at the same time.

What is a Postpartum Doula

dotted ends

Maybe you are familiar with the word doula, maybe it is foreign to you; the word comes from the Greek meaning “a woman who serves”.

dou·la

A postpartum doula has received training to assist new families is the first hours, days or weeks that they welcome a new baby.  Ask any women who has brought home a new baby, whether it be their first or their 5th, the changeover period can be difficult to navigate.  A postpartum doula is there to assist the momma in the transition to her new motherhood.

The doula provides evidence-based information and unbiased support for things such as infant feeding, postpartum recovery, and sleeping solutions.  A postpartum doula can also aid the family in creating a restful environment; light housekeeping, meal prep, sibling or infant care, anything the family needs to recover mentally, physically and emotionally.  In the areas that are out of scope of the doula’s practice, she can provide many local resources.

A postpartum doula can help after a hospital birth, surgical birth, home birth or adoption. 

I am excited to say that Blessed Momma will begin serving postpartum clients in the Rochester and Southeast Minnesota area for those due in April 2016 and beyond. I am looking forward to bringing the women in our community professional and compassionate care and support.

Breakfast Ideas for the Busy Momma

MOMMA'S

I would love to say that I always enjoy “Breakfast like a queen” but you know what, there is just not time for that on a Monday morning. Between sleeping-in to the last possible minute, playing shower shuffle with hubby, and getting the tot up and out the door, I am lucky that I usually get more than a cup of coffee and a granola bar.

Here are three of my personal favorites for the busy momma looking for a fast breakfast:

1. Peanut Butter Toast (the right way)
Pop that bread in the toaster and get the toddler in his coat and shoes. When it pops up, slather on the real butter then the peanut butter. Feeling extra sluggish? Top with honey {local and raw if that’s your jam}.

If you are not so busy, try this Cinnamon Broiled Toast from The Pioneer Woman.

2. Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Frozen berries + 1 whole banana + plain full fat greek yogurt and splash of your juice of choice.  I include hemp protein and chia seeds, but maybe you won’t.  I loved these when I was breastfeed and so thirsty. All. The. Time.

When you have time to eat your smoothie out of a bowl, you could could try this Green Super Smoothie Bowl from Dana at the Minimalist Baker.

3. Cashews and Craisins + Naked Juice
I overslept, toddler is not playing nice and hubby used all the hot water. This is my go-to on the day I just have to stop at the gas station and grab and go! It happens!

What are your favorites?

Free Printable Birth Mantras

In recent weeks I have been getting more serious in my daily birth-focused meditation.  I believe it is important to trust your body and your baby to get you through labor.  I designed a series of mantras that I will be using during my preparations and during my birth as a motivating reminder.  So why not share? Feel free to use or share! I would love to hear your favorite birth mantra.

Keep Calm and Labor On.