High School Volunteer Program | Submit 2024 Summer applications by June 15

Overcoming Postpartum Depression: An inspiring story of a mother who opens up about her struggles.

Play Video
hey barbara how are you today i'm good how are you i'm great uh we just had a little bit of conversation before this recording and i am just so overwhelmed with the story that you shared first of all you told me that you suffered from from postpartum depression can you share a little bit about what your symptoms were well i was very depressed having trouble sleeping and my mind sort of went into a fog and i couldn't sleep and then um after some time i became a suicidal because i thought i was just a burden to my family yeah they'd be better off without me and i had this brand new baby who was perfect and a a wonderful husband a great job good home to live in know all those advantages and yet i was desperately unhappy and and then when i finally you know after i became suicidal i was hospitalized in our local psychiatric uh hospital and they diagnosed postpartum depression you know that that's what i had so and then you said then your dad also sort of told you that yeah yeah yeah my dad said you know mom had that and i said what you know what yes my mother um uh went through postpartum depression on the birth of my uh youngest brother douglas yeah and i was uh six years old at the time and my mother actually spent a year and a half looking for some kind of help and went from doctor to doctor to doctor to doctor this was in the early 1950s and she finally found a doctor that prescribed thorazine which was the first psychiatric medication that had been developed and within just a matter of days it pulled her out of her funk that she was in she was you know very desperately unhappy and crying every day and that kind of thing even moved my family for a time back to her mother's home and stayed with her mother for a while to see if that would help and it didn't help her but the psychiatric men helped her so uh so she was so grateful and and happy but you know me being six years old i did not know what was going on and they didn't talk about it yeah and uh and so i didn't find out until i went through that experience myself yeah and i think you also told me that because you shared your story it helped your daughter right yes i had my daughter when my daughter was um she has two boys uh now and she was pregnant having the boys she knew she knew that i had gone through postpartum depression and she knew that sometimes there is a hereditary link there certainly was in my case and and she um got therapy for herself while she was still pregnant so that she would be able to handle it if if a problem came up after the birth and and she did in both cases she had sort of a a rough time for a few weeks but she was in right away in therapy and and she was able to handle it in uh whereas i went into you know uh suicidal depression and was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward for for three weeks and whereas she was able to just with therapy on the outside handle it you know so i'm glad that i was open with her you know so that she could understand um that she she might need help too and she was going to get help ahead of time and i wasn't i wasn't shy about letting her know that i was getting help you know psychiatric help so i think i'm glad i told her about that yeah i know barbara this is so important that you're talking about it and i'm hoping that you know your story about being open about postpartum depression this is such a big taboo topic people don't want to talk about it they want to like they almost feel bad that you know yeah and baby right yeah they have this beautiful child and why am i so desperately unhappy you know yeah your hormones are going like this and then you happen to have a uh genetic predisposition like me then you're just set up for something like that you know yeah so talking about this is going to help your daughter and i'm hoping that you know once people listen to your story they won't feel like you know they are suffering right this is like it's real like it happens and it's real and even in the best of circumstances which i think i had i mean i had a beautiful child um a wonderful husband a great job you know supportive family all of those things uh that that you need you know but and still i had you know very severe depression and um and not a circumstance that i would wish on anybody you know but it does happen yeah you know and it is possible to get help i mean i got help and i got better you know so it it's possible to get help yeah thank you barbara i appreciate your sharing your story uh you know thank you for opening up and talking about it happy to do so and then what um my experience actually in in uh with postpartum depression is is something that eventually uh led me um you know i started a depression support group at church after i i had shared my story at church and there were so many women that came up with me and resisted me too me too me too yeah not all of them were postpartum but a lot of them were just you know depression of various kinds and so i started a depression support group and then i realized how important it was to get to be open about a story you know being able to to tell it you know and even though you know i was telling you earlier that the first time that i wanted to tell my story you know i'd set up something situation for me to tell my story and then at the last minute i chickened out because i was so i just can't do this very hard yeah and and so i just you know sort of put it on the shelf and then several years later i was able to just go back to it with no problem at all you know so you just sometimes just have to be ready yeah and also i think once you've spoken at once it becomes really easier yeah and especially when you see that other people are being helped because of that you know and and that um you know sort of changed my whole outlook on what i what was important for me to be doing in the world you know so now i'm not shy at all about telling people what i've been through yeah exactly yeah and you've not even fearing judging right from people because really you're making a difference thank you thank you again barbara appreciate your time with us today okay

More Information

Postpartum depression, something you may have heard of as the seemingly similar, ‘baby blues’. The baby blues are commonly associated with postpartum depression, though the differences are quite vast. A majority of women go through the ‘baby blues’, around 85%, which last for about 3-5 days, consisting of mood swings, disconnection to the baby and a feeling of emptiness. This is due to the increase of estrogen and progesterone levels, which are their highest 24 hours after giving birth. Most mothers bounce back after these few days, but postpartum depression is different. It is also quite common among mothers, affecting around one out of five mothers, though not as widely talked about. It lasts for more than 2 weeks and its symptoms can surface after up to a year after giving birth. The question remains, if this many mothers go through it, then why is it not more widely discussed? Many mothers are ashamed or guilty about their postpartum depression, feeling that they should be overjoyed and glowing after being a new mother, but struggle due to their condition. Symptoms of postpartum depression include guilt, shame, emptiness, anxiety, and panic attacks. The whiplash of suddenly feeling overwhelmed with life changes made for the baby, overwhelmed over motherhood, exhaustion, and feeling unattractive after pregnancy. Many women feel the pressure to connect with their child, change their entire lives, and try to be a good mother on top of that. Having postpartum depression on top of that stops many mothers from talking to others or even realizing what they are going through. Actress Brooke Shields commented on the subject saying,”I had no desire to even pretend to care about her. And it absolutely terrified me,”. Later she added that she didn’t want new moms suffering from PPD to feel stigmatized. This is especially an issue as the thing women in these situations need the most is a support system. Sadly though, many women feel the stigmatization of not only their symptoms, but of the diagnosis itself. “I thought women with PPD wanted to hurt their babies”, says Melissa Ryncroft, mentioning how her symptoms were vastly different from the harmful stereotypes surrounding the disorder, making it harder to finally get help. In order to get the necessary therapy, support from family and friends, and in some cases, medicine to cope, the conversation about postpartum depression needs to be brought up. Suffering in silence is never the answer, and opens up discussion including support groups and conversations about what can be done at home to relieve moms stress. (ie. more sleep, less work blah blah). Rcoz strives to help in the effort to remove stigmatization on mental health issues, and provide support to those in need, especially those who feel they cannot speak out.

What an Expert Says

Comments

Like this story? Share your own.

Share your story to inspire, empower and help others with their own mental health journey.

Related Topics

Support Mental Health​

Support our work to normalize conversations around mental health – donate today.