May is Maternal Health Awareness Month

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Since May is Maternal Health Awareness Month I thought I would write about my postpartum experiences.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are fairly well known: A feeling of not bonding to your baby, wondering whether your baby would be better off without you, and crying for no reason.

This was not my experience and I think mine is something you still don’t hear enough about. I worried about everything. If my baby’s pediatrician appointment was a week from now I worried about how I was going to make it there. I’d wake up in the morning with my heart racing and my first thoughts were “What’s for dinner?” or “How am I going to handle dinner?” I had twelve bottles for my baby and I washed them constantly, scared to death I would run out of clean bottles.

When I had my sixth week check-up, the nurse screened me for postpartum depression, but I wasn’t depressed, I just kept thinking these thoughts.

I saw my family doctor who chalked it up to being a new mother. I went back to my life with my son with these racing thoughts that bordered on torturous.

Eventually I alone decided that this WAS NOT the product of being a new mother and I sought help from a therapist.

I learned that besides postpartum depression a woman could also develop postpartum anxiety or even postpartum OCD. According to Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz, “We call postpartum anxiety the hidden disorder because so few moms recognize it and it often goes undiagnosed.” In fact, postpartum anxiety is more common than postpartum depression and the two can often overlap.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of postpartum anxiety, depression or OCD, and need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call the Postpartum Support International Warmline (English & Spanish) at 1-800-944-4PPD (4773),
or email PSI at support@postpartum.net.

Postpartum disorders are treatable but sometimes it takes a mother alone to recognize that she needs help.

This is a blog hop! To see other posts about maternal mental health, click here.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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7 Responses to May is Maternal Health Awareness Month

  1. Thank you so much for writing this post.

    Childbirth triggered my postpartum bipolar disorder (PPBD); I was hypomanic immediately following my daughter’s birth and then I was acutely manic. Depression came several months later.

    My book “Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder” documents my experience over the past 8 years. During that time I’ve tried well over 30 medications, I’ve had two rounds of inpatient and outpatient unilateral and bilateral ECT and seven lengthy hospitalizations.

    My book will be published by Post Hill Press in Fall, 2016 and I hope to bring awareness to postpartum bipolar disorder because it’s not well known.

    Thanks again for writing about your postpartum experiences and for supporting such a wonderful organization as PSI! 🙂

    take care,
    Dyane

    • mamasick says:

      I’m happy you stopped by, Dyane. Good luck with your book! I didn’t have any mental illnesses until after I had my son, nor did I have Lupus. It is truly amazing what being pregnant can do to a woman’s body and mind.

  2. mamasick says:

    After postpartum, I was never able to “get right”, Dyane, and eventually I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I’ve had four hospitalizations and one suicide attempt. Right now I am struggling with depression. It’s like I never can find the balance.

  3. Alex-Marie says:

    I had absolutely no idea that there was postpartum anxiety or OCD, it must be very difficult to cope with. I have a friend that I can share this with, I think it might benefit her. Thank you for teaching me something new today!

    • mamasick says:

      I’m glad you stopped by, Alex-Marie. In my opinion, there still isn’t enough written about PP anxiety or OCD. I hope I can help your friend in some small way.

  4. Brittany W says:

    thanks for sharing your story! So many people aren’t aware of postpartum mental health issues. It’s important to get the word out to help other new moms.
    Brittany W´s last blog post ..Our Allergy Friendly Cookout

    • mamasick says:

      Yes, Brittany, it amazes me that ob/gyns only warn you about postpartum depression when there are other disorders out there. Thanks for stopping by!

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