I recently attended an excellent conference in Missoula, Montana sponsored by Postpartum Support International. I honestly don’t know why
I was prompted to go, since it was very clinical and designed from nurses, physicians, social workers and mental health professionals. I am none of those. My job description is a wife, mom, gram, Auntie and parent educator.
The Perinatal Period
Who knew that the perinatal period is the entire time frame from pregnancy through the first year after giving birth. This term replaces the narrow PPD, which was concerned after birth. Now we know that depression and anxiety disorders can occur anytime in pregnancy or in the first year postpartum.
Many of the medical terms and descriptions went right over my head. I didn’t get the buzz words and catch phrases and the jargon of what to look for and when to look for it. There were so many initials flying around that it seemed like alphabet soup for awhile. But then they started talking about feelings. There I could and did connect.
Myths of Motherhood
Our culture, age, social circle, partner, past relationships, expectations and huge hormonal shifts are all playing a part in this drama, that seems so easy to other women. They all look so capable and organized. We tend to see others at their best and us at our worst. Hormones can really shift our rational mind for a time.
I remembered suddenly sitting on the stairs crying at 4 am. I kept murmuring “what have we done, what have we done?”
The baby was wanted and planned but all of a sudden I didn’t think, no I knew beyond a shadow’s doubt, that I could not and would not be capable of being a decent Mother. I started counting on my fingers all my shortcomings as mother, wife, daughter, neighbor, volunteer. When my husband found me sobbing out my list, I was on number 47 which was “I didn’t sell enough girl scout cookies to help them win the award. I am a failure with the kids we already have. How can I find time and energy for another one?”
You Are Not Alone
I will always be grateful for my husband’s kind perspective on my list of failures. He was able to help me see that I was capable to cope but was exhausted, overwhelmed and depressed. We developed a plan of action to see my doctor, have my mom come for a visit, involve he and the older kids in doing more and expecting less around the house.
I got better and you will too. I have confidence in your ability to find solutions and support as travel this bump in the road.
Thought To Ponder
- Are you or someone you know suffering from depression or anxiety in pregnancy or post postpartum?
- Do you know that Baby Blues affects 60-80% of new moms and will only last from 2 days to 2 weeks?
- If your anxiety or blues is not getting better, please see a medical professional for screening.
- If you need information or to have questions answered there is a toll-free helpline 1-800-9444PPD (4773) there is also a website at www.postpartum.net
In loving support,
Judy Helm Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship author and keynote speaker