Postpartum depression

As I’ve made mention to in the past on this site, depression is a very real struggle for me, one in which Aaron and I are very aware of and taking precautions for postpartum.

A member of my family has also had a very real struggle with depression in the past, and has since had a baby – and had severe postpartum depression. A struggle she is still trying to over come and correct. She’s checked herself into a hospital for the second time.

I’m writing about this because, one it’s close to my heart – watching what she’s going through is one of the hardest things I’ve done. She is the most honorable woman I know right now, taking care of herself so she can better take care of her family. Admitting something is wrong, whether or not you can see what it is, is the first and hardest thing to overcoming depression of any kind.

I obviously haven’t had postpartum depression – but am talking to my doctors about my history with clinical depression in order to get a handle on what to expect, if anything at all. I would rather go running at the problem head on, knowing there’s an end in sight than sit at home thinking I’ve done something wrong, wondering what it is I don’t have that I can’t be happy I have a new baby. I don’t want to suffer from depression the same way my mom did, she even had to get assistance from HCA and 32 hour home care givers.

There are alot of things going on in my family as of late – dealing with my dad’s death has brought depression back on the forefront for me, something I have to deal with on a daily basis. Getting out of bed because I have to live for more than a memory. It’s a sad road, but one that, with time, can be paved with healing.

I can only imagine what kind of pain my sister is going through – dealing with depression, death, mourning, grieving and postpartum psychosis on top of it all. She said something tonight that I think everyone needs to know about depression – whether you, yourself, struggle with it or know someone who does – it’s not that our lives suck, our lives are good, for the most part couldn’t be better – it’s a chemical issue.

You can’t see the illness, and to some it’s nothing but a mind over matter issue – some of you might think I’m a quack to be so worried about some of this for my future, and my childs mental future – but if I had a heart condition or cancer, if I had an illness you could understand or see you wouldn’t be thinking twice about empathizing, praying or offering support. Depression is a disease, something you have to fight to conquer – and although it’s a personal disease, a struggle within for the most part – it’s there nonetheless. And should be treated by a doctor you trust and who knows your medical history.

It’s only realistic and fair to my family, Aaron and this new baby, to be completely honest about this struggle. If it were diabetes I was struggling with, we would be just as proactive.

I think it’s important to get the awareness out there about postpartum depression – too many people are afraid to talk about it with their close friends or even their family. Some women won’t even mention their symptoms or thoughts to their doctors. I can’t say it enough – if you were suffering from diabetes, heart problems, or other health issues you would get help. There’s no shame in getting help for your health. Regardless of the area you’re unhealthy.

Here are a few more links on postpartum depression:
Postpartum and caring for your baby.
A woman’s journey through postpartum depression.