A little bit ago my friend AddyeB posted a lengthy, important facebook status about her different postpartum experiences, particularly when it came to screening for Postpartum Depression (PPD).
She has three beautiful boys. The screening she had four years ago, after her son was born, was nonexistent and when she was given information, it was flat out wrong.
She just had her third baby boy a few weeks ago. And she has been screened for PPD. This time, the experience has been full of empathy and correct information. The way it should be.
I was blessed to be screened after each of the girls. There were some concerns after Caitlyn was born. We were ready to medicate when things finally got better…and I got pregnant with Sue. I was watched like a hawk after Sue was born, but honestly sailed right through it. I had the easiest time adjusting after Sue and there were no issues whatsoever past the baby blues. (Those lovely suckers hit after each of the girls. Man alive!!!)
Then they put Patrice in my arms. Her pregnancy itself had been, ah, interesting. She spent the last five weeks in my womb spinning like a top. I spent weeks diving to the bottom of swimming pools, going to the chiropractor for the Webster Technique and every spinning babies trick I could decipher. She literally spun in there. Once during a midwife appointment, she was head down at the beginning and at the end when my midwife grabbed an ultrasound machine, she had gone head up again. Then my grandfather passed away 36 hours before she was born. And finally, her cord had wrapped around her neck and head so the last few minutes getting her into this world were very intense. It was a crazy, wild ride toward the end of her pregnancy.
I knew, from the other two postpartum periods what to expect with the baby blues and even what to look for in depression issues. And I had enough issues to make things scary. But the bigger need was the need to move, do, go!!!!! Which was easy to do with a four year old and a 3 year old. They need to be active and busy, so we WERE!!!!! And even though I kept in close contact with my midwife, I didn’t know that need to MOVE, was an issue. I had never heard of Postpartum Anxiety (PPA).
My midwife and I did decide medication might be in order. And it seemed to maybe help a little, so we increased the dose. That wasn’t the best option. It caused a mania episode that landed my butt in the hospital.
Patrice is now almost 3 1/2 years old. It’s been bumpy trying to get the depression and anxiety under control, and to find out, in the process, that I was now dealing with Bipolar Depression. It was all a real bummer. Especially that last part. But, I am now doing well. Life is good. The depression, mania and anxiety are under control.
All because I had great help from my midwife. And found amazing resources like Postpartum Progress online. If you, or someone you know just had a baby, ask, and really listen, “How are you doing?” Ask yourself if you just had a baby, or even anytime in the first year (ppd/ppa can have a delayed onset) or after weaning a breastfed baby. Ask your friends if they meet any of the above criteria. It’s important to ask. It’s important to listen to the answer.
*Please check out more of AddyeB story at Butterfly Confessions.Survive til you Thrive!