BENEFITING: POSTPARTUM PROGRESS
EVENT DATE: Jun 21, 2014
<!--StartFragment-->This June, I will be "Climbing Out of the Darkness" to raise money for Postpartum Progress, a nonprofit focused on supporting pregnant and new moms with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. The hiking will be the easy part. I already lived through the hard part while suffering severe postpartum depression and anxiety after the birth of my son last spring.
I had never heard of postpartum anxiety and the only thing I really knew about postpartum depression was that "you don't bond with your baby." I fortunately did not have that symptom. Instead, I had weeks of crippling anxiety and panic attacks, as well as depression that was so debilitating my mother had to move in with us to help take care of me. I knew something was seriously wrong, but I didn't know what.
I visited several doctors, tried different medications, had unlimited support from my husband and family, and an amazing baby boy who I had wanted for years. But nothing helped. Finally, I was admitted to the Day Hospital at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, R.I. For nine days, my son and I spent about six hours each day at the hospital with other mothers and babies. When I went to the hospital, I was hopeless about the future and barely able to care for myself. When I left, I was looking forward to the rest of my life with my baby and was confident I was the best mother I could be. I still am.
Although postpartum mood disorders are the most common complications of childbirth, they are often misunderstood and stigmatized. Postpartum Progress provides educational materials to obstetrician and pediatrician offices, offers programs like a blog and a private support forum for struggling moms, and advocates for better support, less stigma and increased services for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Don't be afraid to admit something isn't right. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Don't be afraid to fight if that help is not enough. It will be difficult, but I promise that you and your baby are worth it.