You are Not Alone. Sharing Our Stories of Hope and Healing.
Why it Matters to Me
I write this with the hopes and prayers that no other woman may ever have to experience the isolation and shame that Postpartum Depression/Psychosis bestowed on my life. It kidnaps our minds and menaces our new fragile and innocent families with its deception. I can assure you of this, because my family and I were one of Postpartum’s victims.
At thirty eight years old my prayers to become a mother had finally been answered. Once pregnant I was elated and nervous, but I anticipated the birth of my son and could not wait to hold him in my arms. I did everything in my power to maintain my health and the health of my unborn child throughout the pregnancy. His father, also a first time parent, was helpful and we attended all the appointments and classes offered to us. At no time was Postpartum Depression, (or worse) Psychosis ever discussed with us. It is the big PINK ELEPHANT in the room. Imagine holding your beautiful healthy child and excitedly looking forward to bringing home that child only to realize that darkness awaits you just around the corner. I brought my son home with his father. Expecting the recovery to take a little time, I settled in and looked forward to being a hands on mother.
As I began to reach out for help I would be told that these behaviors were “normal” and that all new mothers experienced “baby blues” at some time or another. I struggled to convince myself that I would bounce back soon. I began to lose my appetite and eventually my desire to care of myself let alone my child. I now felt that I was a waste of a mother and did not love my child enough, because no “good” mother would ever have these feelings. I had lost the ability to console my child and became afraid to touch him in case I transferred my negativity to him.
His father also ignorant in the effects of Postpartum Depression was not able to emotionally support me. I listened to him and others say things like “snap out of it” and “where is old Carol”. In two months’ time I began my trips to the emergency room and an eventual inpatient stay at a psychiatric hospital. I begged and cried that this couldn’t be possible. I expressed thoughts of visualizing my child in dangerous situations.
Today I think back and am aware of the sad reality that I was not given adequate mental health care. Again I was informed that all mothers experienced feelings of being “overwhelmed” from time to time. I was prescribed anti-depressants and sent home. The big PINK ELEPHANT was avoided. As my illness worsened I felt so alone and so ashamed. I wished I would just die. I was good at nothing, especially not good at being a mom. When tragedy struck, my life changed forever. I lost everything, most importantly myself and my son. Still, not one mention of the big PINK ELEPHANT. I was a monster.
Four years have since gone by, and not one day passes where I wish and pray that what my family went through never happens to any other mother and her family. My son is now five, and I am healthy once again. This illness has left us with many scars, but it did not win. He is the greatest love of my life, and it matters to me to speak up for us. It matters to me so, that this big elephant may be exposed for what it is. It is a horrible illness, but with the right help and support we can make it. There is help, you do get better, this is not forever, and I too want to help because it matters to me.
Julie Ende - Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62™
Western New York PMAD Task Force Member
I’m Julie. I’m the mother of three beautiful boys ages 9, 5 and 2. I’m also a survivor of Postpartum Depression.
Nine years ago I began a journey I never expected. My symptoms actually began during my third trimester which means I also suffered from antenatal depression. In my gut I think I knew what it was but I tried to brush it off as normal anxiety about becoming a new mom. During this time I’d get what I could only describe as a “twinge of sadness” most every time I felt the baby move (essentially any time I had a physical reminder that I was pregnant).
My son’s delivery was difficult. Some might call it a traumatic birth – keeping in mind that the definition of traumatic is different for each individual. There was meconium present when my water broke so we knew that this technically classified us as a high risk delivery. Four and a half hours of pushing, and three vacuum assists, later my baby was whisked away to be suctioned so that none of the meconium would make its way to his lungs. My husband didn’t get to cut the cord and I didn’t get to hold or see my baby for what felt, to me, like an eternity. This all just contributed to my sadness. I just didn’t feel right. The rest of that night is a blurr. I don’t even remember where my baby was as I was moved from labor and delivery to maternity. My hospital stay continued to be rocky. I couldn’t sleep, he wouldn’t nurse… I never even changed his diaper. I always sent him back to the nursery; usually with both of us in tears. In hindsight I don’t understand how the maternity nurses failed to see all the signs that something was wrong with this new mother.
I care because I was the one in seven new moms who would suffer from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD). The one in seven who would experience her darkest days at a time when she expected to experience her brightest joy. I care because I want every mother who is struggling to know that there is hope and she can get better. I care because I don’t want any other mother to go through what I did. I care because I want you to know you are a good mother and there is help out there.
Sharing my story and advocating for maternal mental health has been very therapeutic for me. It has become a way for me to turn my negative experience into a positive. Every time a fellow mom thanks me I feel a little stronger. I hope we can continue to build a strong network to better support all new moms and families who are affected by PMAD’s.
Carolina Zaharako - Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62™ NYC Supporter - New York County
I can’t really recall the first time I ever heard about postpartum depression. What I do recall is that the idea of it definitely struck me as very surreal. For sure, this only happened in the movies, I thought. Another made up mental illness brought to us by Big Pharma to get people hooked up on the next money-making psychedelic. Little did I know that years later, I would have a starring role in my very own postpartum experience.
My name is Carolina and I am blessed to be the mother of two amazing, happy, healthy beautiful souls. Today my girl is 7, my boy is 5 and we’ve come a long way! The endless, sleepless nights are over and seem like a lifetime away. Today, I see two unique little individuals with their very own personalities and infinite possibilities ahead of them. It is hard to believe that, for so long they were 100% dependent on me.
The human species is the only species whose offspring is absolutely dependent on their mothers or caretakers during their first years of life. The ONLY species. Yet, we are also the only ones who develop intelligence and consciousness. Isn’t that interesting?
On a beautiful, full moon February night, after a 14-hour labor, Alana was born. From the get go, she was strong-willed, determined little girl. She came into this world ready to soak it all in. I was committed to nursing her and must say that by week 10, I was ready to give up. I made an emergency phone call to La Leche League and the woman who answered my cry for help just told me “hang in there, it will get easier, I promise”. And it did. Except that Alana would not take a paci, a bottle, or anything that was not my breast. She also refused to nap in her crib.
After months of sleep deprivation and a move to Los Angeles, I was completely depleted. By 8 months she finally slept through the night but at this point, I had lost my ability to fall asleep. I was up all night with racing thoughts. Every day I dreaded another sleepless night ahead. Days became months and I ended up being diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression. I felt trapped in this very dark tunnel, surviving every day and thinking I would never come out of it. There was absolutely no way a pill was going to save me.
I did everything I was advised. Started working out, took my medication, modified my diet, went to psychotherapy. Every night I promised my little girl I would get better for her. A couple months later, I gradually started feeling better.
Postpartum depression is a very real, very serious illness. It happens to many more women than we know of because there is still a lot of taboo around it and many women just go through it silently. I believe no woman should ever go through this and the fact that it happens more and more is a red flag that, as a society, we are doing something really wrong.
Human beings - Homo Sapiens - have existed for approximately 200,000 years. It has only been the last 10 thousand years, since the advent of agriculture, that we stopped being tribal nomads and the family unit began. Over 90% of our existence we lived in tribes. The concept of personal property hardly existed. Almost everything was shared. Women supported each other in their role of mothers. Together, they raised the children of the tribe.
I believe we are in lack of this support today. We are putting all the expectations we once had on a tribe, into one person - our husband/wife - and this is very unrealistic.A woman should not have to endure months of sleep deprivation because she refuses to sleep train her child.I believe PPD can be prevented. There needs to be more awareness and our society needs to know that mothers must have all the support they need, especially during that first year with their newborn.My heart aches for all those mothers out there who are struggling. I want them to know that IT WILL PASS but they must seek and accept help. We are mothers, not Super Heroes. And we are learning this beautiful role as we go.
Por qué me importa Centro de recursos de postparto del voluntario
de Nueva York Centro de recursos para después del parto del proyecto 62™
Nueva York partidario de nuevo York - el Condado de Nueva York
La primera vez que escuché hablar sobre la depresión post-parto, la idea me pareció algo surreal. Seguramente esto solo ocurría en las películas, pensé. Otra enfermedad mental inventada por las grandes farmacéuticas para hacer negocio con la última droga psicodélica. Nunca imaginé que años después sería yo protagonista en mi propia experiencia de postpartum.
Mi nombre es Carolina y soy la madre afortunada de dos increíbles, sanos y felices hijos. Hoy dia, mi hija tiene 7 y mi hijo tiene 5. Las noches interminables sin dormir se acabaron y parecen muy lejanas. Hoy puedo ver a dos personitas únicas con sus propias personalidades e infinidad de posibilidades frente a ellos. Parece increíble que por tanto tiempo fueron 100% dependientes en mi.
La especie humana es la única en la que sus críos son absolutamente dependientes en su madres durante los primeros años de vida. Al mismo tiempo, somos los únicos que desarrollamos inteligencia y conciencia. No es esto interesante?
En una bella noche de luna llena en Febrero, despues de 14 horas de trabajo de parto, Alana llegó. Desde el inicio, fue una niña enérgica, alegre pero con carácter fuerte. Llegó a este mundo lista para absorberlo todo. Yo no estaba preparada para el huracán que de repente llegó a nuestro hogar! Me comprometí a darle pecho por un año pero, a la semana 10, debo confesar que estaba lista a darme por vencida. Hice una llamada de emergencia a “La Leche League” y la mujer que me atendió me dijo: “está a punto de convertirse más fácil, te prometo, no te rindas!”. Y así fue.. Excepto que Alana no aceptaba un chupo, una mamadera ni nada que no fuera mi pecho! También se rehusaba a dormir en su cuna…
Luego de meses sin dormir y una mudanza a Los Angeles, me encontraba totalmente exhausta. Finalment, a los 8 meses, Alana empezó a dormir toda la noche, pero a este punto, yo había perdido la capacidad de conciliar el sueño. Pasaba las noches en vela y mil cosas terribles pasaban por mi mente. Los días se convirtieron en meses y fuí diagnosticada con ansiedad y depresión. Me sentía atrapada en este túnel oscuro, sobreviviendo cada día y pensando que nunca saldría de aquello.Busqué ayuda psiquiátrica e hice todo lo que me recomendaron. Empecé a hacer ejercicio, modifiqué mi dieta, asistí a psicoterapia. Cada noche, le prometía a mi niña que me iba a mejorar por ella. Gradualmente, un par de meses después empecé a sentirme mejor.
La depresión post-parto es una enfermedad real y seria. Le pasa a muchas más mujeres de las que sabemos porque aun existe mucho tabú y estigma sobre el tema y muchas mujeres la sufren en silencio. Pienso que ninguna mujer debería pasar por esto y el hecho de que sucede mas y mas es una alerta roja de que como sociedad, estamos haciendo algo muy mal.
Los seres humanos - Homo Sapiens - existimos hace aproximadamente 200,000 años. Y solo en los últimos 10,000 años, desde el advenimiento de la agricultura, dejamos de vivir en tribus y se estableció la unidad familar. Mas del 90% de nuestra existencia vivimos en tribus. El concepto de propiedad personal no existía. Casi todo era compartido. Las mujeres se apoyaban unas a otras en su rol de madres. Juntas, criaban a los hijos de la tribu.
Pienso que hoy dia existe gran carencia de esta clase de apoyo. Ponemos todas las expectativas, que algun dia teniamos en la tribu, en una sola persona: nuestra pareja, y esto es poco realista. Una mujer nunca debería padecer meses de privación de sueño porque se rehusa a “entrenar” a su bebe a que duerma solo. Pienso que la DPP puede ser prevenida. Debe existir mas conciencia y nuestra sociedad debe saber que las madres deben tener todo el apoyo que necesitan, especialmente durante el ese primer año de vida con su bebé. My corazón sufre por todas aquellas madres que están padeciendo. Quiero que sepan que ES PASAJERO pero deben buscar y aceptar ayuda. Somos madres, no Super Héroes y estamos aprendiendo este hermoso rol sobre la marcha.
Mary Banahan - MS, PA-C, LCCE
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's
Project 62™ Advocacy Team Leader
Why do I care? Why do I care about mothers who experience suffering, grief and despair when they should be experiencing joy and happiness on the birth of a beautiful new baby? Why do I care about mothers that I don’t know, that may come from different backgrounds than I do, that may never know my name? Because I am one of them; because I know their pain and share their grief and despair. Because I lived it and I don’t want any other new mother to live it. That’s why I care.
When I suffered from Postpartum Depression 15 years ago with my second son, I did not know then that it would lead me onto an incredible journey of helping other women who suffer with PPD. All I knew then was that crying was an every day event for me; that awakening every morning to the start of a new day only brought me anxiety and despair about how I was going to make it through the day; that life had no joy, only sorrow. I had a beautiful 3 ½ year old boy, a new baby, a husband, and supportive family and friends, but I wasn’t happy. The fact that my new son wasn’t gaining weight and had severe reflux only made matters worse and I was obsessed with his gaining weight. PPD often does not occur alone; it often brings anxiety and obsessive compulsive symptoms as well. As a Physician Assistant skilled in making diagnoses of my patients, I was unable to make my own diagnosis, to see the severity of my illness.
I tell myself today that I should have known, should have sought treatment sooner, but all I saw was my baby’s illness and didn’t realize that my depression and anxiety were probably contributing to it. After denying my illness for eight months, I finally came to realize that something was very wrong, and to ensure my own health and the health of my family, I had to do something about it. My sister had found out about the Postpartum Resource Center of New York and I decided to join their support group. Their program, called the Circle of Caring, was an eight-week program dedicated to women struggling with PPD. This group and its co-founder, Sonia Murdock, were instrumental in my recovery. I eventually became a facilitator for the Resource Center for a group of survivors of PPD. I also began doing other volunteer work at the Center including becoming team leader of the Advocacy Team, and I came to feel that I had suffered with PPD for a reason, to help other women who were suffering.
After I began teaching for a Physician Assistant Program, I began to lecture my students about PPD and to also tell them my story so they would know that it affects all kinds of women from all different backgrounds, and also to ensure that they were screening their patients for PPD and that the next generation of clinicians would know more than the last. The response from my students has always been overwhelming. PPD becomes more than just another disease to learn about, more than just another diagnosis to make. It takes on the face of their instructor and mentor and it means more; it becomes real.
Recently I had to find a baby picture of my son for a school event. I found a picture of him at about 6 months old, nestled in my arms and I was actually smiling. I remember thinking to myself, “I don’t remember smiling at all that first year”. How sad a thought; that my only reminiscences of that year are ones of sorrow and despair. I had wanted that baby so badly, had suffered through two miscarriages to have him, but I couldn’t remember smiling much his first year of life. If someone offered me a million dollars to relive that year, I would tell them thanks, but no thanks. I never want any other mother to feel that way after having her baby. That’s why I care.
By the grace of God, with treatment and attending the Circle of Caring, I got better. My family and I have flourished in the years following my recovery and I have been privileged to work with a group of volunteers that dedicate their lives to helping other mothers like me. Many of them share similar stories and the bond we share having gone through this illness is an unbreakable one. We do it because we care.
It is essential that women experiencing PPD know that it is not their fault, that there is help available to them, and that they will get better. Prompt diagnosis and treatment is imperative to ensure the health of mother, baby, and family. That’s why I care.
Bridget Croteau - Mrs. Suffolk County America 2015
After having a wonderful and “easy” pregnancy with my first daughter, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I had a difficult, long and unexpected induction, a NICU stay for my daughter and lots of trouble breastfeeding.
I felt alone, scared, miserable and like I couldn’t handle anything. I felt like a complete failure. I felt inadequate as a wife and mother and felt enormous guilt. I felt like I was to blame for how difficult the birth was, my daughter’s NICU stay and because I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed. I also felt that my family would be better off without me and didn’t need me around. I often thought of packing some of my belongings and moving elsewhere by myself. I also had difficulty bonding with my daughter when she was first born. I had expectations of this wave of “love and euphoria” flowing through me when I held my daughter the first time. I didn’t feel this at all and I felt horrible about it.
While going through this, I felt like I was “crazy” – I had a beautiful daughter and everything I wanted, why was I so unhappy? I saw other moms while I was running errands or bringing my daughter to library classes or to check-ups - they all looked so happy. Why wasn’t I happy? I had exactly what I wanted - a beautiful, smart and healthy daughter!
After suffering with the feelings of guilt, disappointment and frequent crying for months, I finally admitted to myself that the way I wasn’t ok - this wasn’t me. This was the beginning of my recovery. I opened up to my family and reached out to the “Mother’s Circle of Hope” support group. I also started therapy and reading books written by other mothers who also had postpartum depression. I found great comfort as I read each book and at each meeting I attended. I learned that I wasn’t alone and that many women understood how I felt.
After seeking help, I eventually got better and felt more like myself. I started a new hobby that I always wanted to try, I made more of an effort to see friends and do things for myself. I slowly began to “forgive” myself and allow myself to “let go” of the disappointing experience and began to realize that even though it wasn’t what I planned, it was ok. My daughter was fine…and I would be too.
When I was pregnant with my second daughter, my husband and I were both very excited but I was also fearful of having postpartum depression again. I wanted to try breastfeeding again, but was also fearful that I would have a difficult time. Someone told me about postpartum doulas, and I was sold on the idea! I immediately started researching doulas and I was so lucky to find the most amazing person to help when my second daughter was born - she was also a lactation consultant and trained about postpartum depression. She was with my family from when my daughter was 3 weeks - 3 months old. She was amazing and I tell everyone how wonderful she was. She was a huge help and definitely helped me manage those difficult first months with two children.
Now that I am better, I want to give back and help those mothers who feel alone, who feel like “failures” and feel like these feelings will never go away. I want them to see that they WILL be better and that the way they feel isn’t their fault. I care because I WAS exactly where other women are right now and want to help them feel the comfort I felt while hearing other women’s stories. This is why I am volunteering with the Postpartum Resource Center of New York. They are such a wonderful resource for mothers and families - I am proud to be a part of this organization.
Bridget Croteau - Mrs. Suffolk County America 2015
Who knew I, Winter Parris, would ever be in a place filled with so much self-love and compassion! Almost 14 years to the date of the birth of my eldest son. Let me give it to you straight, those first days, months after the birth of my son wasn't easy and parenting as a whole is the most challenging job there is, and at times, I didn't think I would make it through. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed in the morning, but "joy comes in the morning" so I'd take one day at a time. Frankly that is an understatement I would take one moment at a time, not thinking of my next step, or things to do, because that would complicate my moments and cause chaos.
All the pain, sadness, and anger is now healed and has giving me such joy, peace and compassion. Having overcome my own personal experience with postpartum depression, I discovered a passion and purpose for supporting mothers as a post-partum doula. As a mother of two, I personally understand that each pregnancy and postpartum experience is unique and ever changing. My personal experience as a mother and my professional experience as a post-partum doula has helped to magnify and enhance my growth, passion and desire to assist women with overcoming obstacles and issues related to womanhood and being a mother utilizing a nurturing, hands-on and loving approach.
Initially, I set out to be a play therapist and during this time, I mistakenly discovered the existence post-partum doulas and instantly connected with this profession. Post-partum doulas provide direct care at a time that is one of the most crucial, when the baby is here! Moms are provided assistance to help with the transition from carrying a baby to being a parent, as well as, receiving information, education, companionship, compassion, and non-judgmental support during the post-partum trimester. I've been professional supporting postpartum mothers since 2012 which includes breastfeeding support, yoga for ppd and healthy eating. The most rewarding part of being a post-partum doula is having the ability to make a difference in a mother knowing that my gentle one-on-one approach, personalized attention, and holistic philosophy encourages her to embrace and make efforts attempting with new approaches, to release her fears and be the best mother she can be. Now I get to work with a rainbow of post-partum women like yourself to empower you to understand and heal in your life as a mothers and woman, which supports other roles you may play in this life.
Choose Happiness, Winter Parris
Julissa Zambrano - Mrs. Nassau County, New York
As I sat with my newborn I had so many overwhelming feelings that I couldn’t explain. They were all so confusing and conflicting, I knew I was supposed to be happy because I was blessed with this little human being, but all I could think of was darkness and emptiness.
I felt alone despite friends would visit me for few hours; the minute they left the emptiness engulfed me again. Nothing anyone said or did for me could make me happy, I couldn’t make myself happy. At times after my first born I found myself crying all the time, I thought this was normal, I watched enough t.v. to know that women cried a lot after pregnancy because their hormones were still adjusting. WOW, what a misconception! I didn’t know what was wrong with me, my husband didn’t know what was wrong with me, and that scared us. It scared me! I felt as if the world was going to swallow me up and at times I would welcome the world eating me up alive. This emotional roller coaster went on for months and what seemed to be years. Honestly it did go on for years.
I had my second child and when I found out I was having my second I fell into a deep depression, yet again another happy moment hidden in my darkness, in my emptiness and loneliness. After having my second nothing changed. I was still feeling empty and at this point I would just think I was crazy. My ob gyn made me feel crazy. I was told I was stressed and to take a break, HA! I hit a wall and hit it hard, and I found myself contemplating taking my own life. At that point my husband and I knew it wasn’t the “baby blues” and that it was much more.
I finally found a compassionate medical provider that assisted me and helped me figure out that I wasn’t crazy that something was medically wrong with me and that I could be helped. Throughout my healing process, I cried a lot, this time because I realized that I didn’t have to go through all I went through alone, that there were people who could help me.
When suffering from a PMAD (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders) everyone should realize that they aren’t alone, that they aren’t crazy that so many women suffer from this. It shouldn’t be a stigma to ask for help. As children we are taught “Sharing is Caring”. What happened to that motto? We should still live with that motto sharing information is caring!!!
So many lives can be spared from this horrible feeling of being alone; no one should feel like they are alone in a world of over 7 billion people.
This is why I care to share my story for moms and families and why I volunteer and support the mission of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York. You are not alone. There is help and hope from recovering from a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. I invite you to join with me in sharing your story so together we will break the silence. Sharing is Caring!
Julissa Zambrano - Mrs. Nassau County, New York
Renée Pizzuto - Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's
Project 62™ Staten Island Team Leader
I care because I suffered from Postpartum Anxiety and Depression. Trapped in my own head, ill-equipped to understand or escape my own thoughts from what seemed to be an undefinable loss of self.
I care because I know what it is like to lack the insight, the words and the clarity to articulate thoughts and emotions when enduring postpartum. Not to mention trying to explain how I got “here.”
Who would understand?
I care because I cannot fathom seeing another person ask this question when there are definable answers and solutions!
The more information we gain, the more conversation we need and the greater chance that we, as a society, will mitigate the depth of a woman’s postpartum depression and aid in a much quicker recovery, to a life and a whole-self that she knows, wants and is entitled to.
I care so, I am a volunteer of the Postpartum Resource Center of New York!
I care because I am a birth doula, “a woman who serves.” A role that is at times underestimated but at all times necessary. I provide expecting mothers emotional, mental and physical support on a journey and path they call their own and that will have profound results for generations to come.
I have learned and witnessed first-hand how vital proper pre and post-natal knowledge are to a mother and her growing “tribe.” How the right support and right information can change the whole landscape of someone’s life.
Each day, women all across America are ushered into THEIR birth with a lack of this knowledge,
self-confidence or sense of control. Stripped of their unique identity, held hostage by policy and
non-evidence based information and then, tragically left alone, silently holding the pieces of something they had not anticipated or even prepared for.
The education must start BEFORE conception.
Renée Pizzuto is a mother of three, a Certified Holistic Birth Doula and Breastfeeding Counselor supporting expecting families through prenatal education, labor and postnatal preparation. Renée is the Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62™ Staten Island Team Leader.
I care because every woman and her tribe deserves a healthy and happy life.
Annette I. LaMorte, M.D. - Why I Care
I am a reproductive endocrinologist, an OB-GYN who specializes in the care of women during their reproductive years. My genetic pool is dotted with depression. How could I have depression 6 weeks into my pregnancy and not make any one aware of it? I am a doctor who should know better. It turns out, that like today, depression during pregnancy was not talked about.
Although I felt sad most of the time during that pregnancy, I was not able to tell any family member or friends. I did not want to burden any one. I felt guilty and alone. I did not want to be perceived as weak or as a complainer. I had a 3 year old boy and a husband who I had to stay strong for. I got through each day behaving as normally and “happily” as I could. I had childcare to help me out and used it as much as possible. My judgement was clouded by my depression and seeking medical help did not cross my mind.
During this pregnancy we moved due to a change in my husband’s job. I decided not to begin working in our new city until after the baby was born. My depression continued to worsen and at 34 weeks of pregnancy I called my obstetrician in tears. I told him how depressed I was and how badly I felt. He told me if I had been closer to term in my pregnancy he would consider inducing my labor. Instead, he put me on an antidepressant which helped. I was able to go to full term with the pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby boy.
Due to postpartum depression, I continued on an antidepressant. Since the medication would get into breast milk, I was not able to breastfeed. That fact also contributed to sadness and guilt.
I had finally told my parents about my depression and they gave long-distance support on the phone and visited to ease the baby care load.
With ongoing psychiatric support, with both medication and talk therapy, I have been able to climb out of the abyss of depression and raise a healthy family. I care because I know how it feels to be pregnant and really, really badly depressed and not have any one to confide in. Fear of being judged poorly or becoming an inadequate mother can plague you. I wish I had known of a place such as the Postpartum Resource Center of New York that I could have called to get help and talk with other expectant mothers who had similar feelings. I would like to support other women who are going through mood and anxiety disorders in pregnancy or in the postpartum period. I would like to let other women know that no matter how bad they feel right now, they are going to feel better.
Wendy Isnardi - Why I Care
Author, Nobody Told Me: My Battle with Postpartum Depression
and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Being a mother was something I dreamt of since I was a little girl and In July of 2002, my dream came true. My beautiful baby girl was perfect In every way she could be, and more. Although, I had a rough delivery that ended up in an emergency cesarean section, I was elated. All that I wanted to do was love her and give her my undivided attention, which I did — but that joy and happiness was very short lived.
I was an attentive mother, almost to a fault. I wouldn't let anyone else care for her but me and my husband (sometimes). I “obsessed” over her — I was so afraid that she would get sick or get hurt. I watched her sleeping to make sure she was still breathing — I just loved her so much. Then one day, everything changed. In the blink of an eye my happy life turned Into a deep, spiraling depression that I called “Hell”.
Three weeks postpartum I went from super-mom to a giant blob of depression, anxiety, sadness and fear. I couldn't make sense of what was going on In my head, I was having horrible, disturbing thoughts of harm befalling my beautiful baby. I didn’t want to be alone with her, I needed to have someone with me at all times.
Although I knew I wasn't capable of doing any of the horrible things that were going through my head, I didn’t understand why the thoughts existed at all. Only horrible people think the way that I did. The thoughts were so horrible in nature that they made me sick to my stomach. When I would try to stop the thoughts they would come on stronger. The anxiety was overwhelming, I couldn't sit still, I was crawling out of my skin. I thought if I told anyone what was going on in my head that they would have me arrested and take my baby away from me. I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. I needed to do something, I couldn't stand the way I felt. On top of experiencing these disgusting thoughts, I was also horribly depressed, anxious, and constantly crying. Every second of the day was torture not knowing what was going on with me. I felt so isolated and alone, but most of all, scared. I wanted to die.
I hated being in my house, I really hated being anywhere. One day my husband took me and the baby to a street fair in town to get me out of the house. While we were there I happened to walk into my Lamaze Coach — an encounter change the course of my life forever. I told her that I wasn't feeling like myself and she reassured me that I would get better — she also gave me the number of The Postpartum Resource Center of New York (PRCNY).
Making the call to the Resource Center changed my life ― they provided me with all of the tools I needed to get better. “Mom’s On Call”, to start with, was such a wonderful resource enabling me to speak with other mothers that suffered through postpartum depression and recovered. I joined their “Circle of Caring” support group, and that helped me tremendously. Being with other moms that were suffering like me was such an amazing source of support. We all got better together and I didn’t feel so alone and isolated any more. In addition, the PRCNY provided me with immeasurable support and resources to medical professionals that specialized In PPD.
Heather Sherman - Why I Care
Postpartum Resource Center of New York Volunteer
Postpartum Resource Center of New York's Project 62™ CNY Supporter - Onondaga County
Watch and listen to Heather's Story - The Struggles of Postpartum Depression are Real. To view on Youtube, please click here.