Postpartum, what comes to mind when you hear that word? I hope it's all good feelings and lots of love and support and memories or wishes of the best times. But to far to many of us, its not. It's not always this beautiful picture of a bonding family and breastfeeding with ease and sleeping all night. It's hard, but it doesn't have to suck either. It truly is an amazing time, its a beautiful time, and it shouldn't be rushed.
The stats for women who have PPD/PPA are 1:10. I disagree, I disagree a lot. The majority of women I know have had it or have it. In a group of 12 women all but 1 have have some form of Postpartum depression or anxiety. The stats are now 1:10 for women DON'T have PPD/PPA. Why is this so drastically different from the USA's stats, from the AMA? Women are afraid to get help, they are afraid they will be seen as weak, or crazy, or have their kids taken away so they say nothing and suffer in silence. Women are made to think the postpartum period is 6 weeks, or 12 weeks if you are lucky. It's not. It's 3 years. THREE YEARS. Not three months. What do we get for it? Nothing? Many of us are forced back to work after 6 weeks due to loss of income, or loosing their job, and many take this leave with no pay. Husbands don't get to help much either, the most my husband ever got was one week, paid if he used his vacation days. That was it. I'm not saying my family didn't help or support, but it's not their only job to take care of me. They have other jobs and lives to live too.
I had postpartum depression with both kids, I didn't get help the first time because I didn't know that's what it was. Both of my pregnancies were unexpected. I was told by my OBGYN, it would be very difficult to get pregnant because my ovaries were covered with cysts and my cycles were very irregular and I had two miscarriages. I wasn't expecting to have either child, but I'm so glad they decided to join my life. After I had my first I had to quit my job, making $30,000 a year because I wanted to raise my child, and daycare would have taken more then we could afford to pay if I kept working. I ended up filing for bankruptcy 2 years later. We could barley pay our ever increasing rent at our apartment of 5 years. My husband was just getting himself back into the world after having lost his job, and having to take a 3 month medical leave. Through all this, we had family support, but no support from the county or state. After baby (#1) was born I was kicked of state insurance, and was left with none. There wasn't many options for me to get help, besides the fact I was afraid to tell my Doctor what I was really feeling and what my intrusive thoughts really were. It kind of went away after some time, but never completely.
Then I had a second child two years later. I had severe postpartum depression and anxiety, and it wasn't treated properly for 4 months, I saw several doctors and tried over 10 different medications. I ended up going to a Mother and Baby psychiatric care facility for postpartum depression/anxiety (Pine Rest in Grand Rapids, MI) and was actually treated properly, which my dad paid for in cash, over $1000 dollars. Then I started to get better when my second was about 7 months old. I found the right medication which I requested to try as I was on it years ago, and it worked. Now I'm better then I have ever been. Am I weaker for this? NO. Am I a bad mother for having had this happen? NO. Am I crazy for having had the thoughts I had, or been to a facility to get help? NO. There is no shame in this. What there is shame in, is the care for women postpartum, the lack of knowledge, the fact that insurance wont cover the necessary care. The fact that women don't have the option to be able to take time off work without guilt, and are forced to be back to normal and bounce back after three months. It's not OK. Its normal to have a rollercoaster of emotions after having a baby, its normal to feel more when you become a mother. It's NOT normal to have PPD/PPA, but it doesn't mean you are weak, and you are most defintnely not alone.
I do what I do to support and empower women, I am here to be their advocate during this time in their lives. To help protect mom and baby, and support them with what they need, not what the Doctor needs or wants. Women having babies are not just another patient or face or body, we are just like you, just like everyone else. Treat them all as you would your sister, your mother your daughter. Build each other up, and support in whatever way you can. Just keep living. Just keep Loving. It gets better, I promise.
My name is Megan, I am a mother of two and a wife. I am Reiki Master, and Repattering Practitioner. I have been working in the healing arts for the past 7 years. I was a doula for 5 years and have recently changed my career path to just energy work and I absolutely love it and have a great passion for it!