With the recent release of the study regarding how helpful peer support is for women with Postpartum Depression, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at blogging as a form of peer support. The source of inspiration for this piece? An article by Kristin Schorsch over at the South Town Star about blogging and PPD in which yours truly is featured along with Natalie Dombrowski.
Many of the women I know who have blogs and have recovered from Postpartum Depression have found their blogging habit to be a powerful source of support. Those who read them undoubtedly feel the same way, finding strength and hope in the words that part ways with those of us who have been through the very dark in which they now find themselves enrobed.
For me, there was relief in knowing I had my blog to lean on and that through my blog I was potentially helping other families survive the very same thing I struggled against. I credit my blogging as a tremendous part of not experiencing PPD the third time around. After all, I had numerous risk factors according to several different studies and statistics.
My first risk factor lied within being a two time survivor. A third episode lies in a nearly 100% risk range. Studies have also shown that women who give birth to boys are more likely to experience Postpartum Depression than mothers who give birth to girls. My third child? A boy. I also had extenuating stressors – a marriage that was dashed onto the rocks at just 3 months postpartum after giving birth to Cameron and financial stressors to boot. Last but not least, women who experience severe pelvic pain during pregnancy are also more likely to suffer from Postpartum Depression. And guess what? I had severe pelvic pain with all three but it was the worst with Cameron. Relying solely on numbers, I should have suffered from Postpartum Depression with Cameron. Yet I didn’t.
I had peer support, social support, medication, education, blogging, meetings, advocacy, and preparation on my side.
But hey, I had all that too you say. And I still ended up suffering. Unfortunately this is where it gets tricky. What works for one woman in one situation may not work for another woman in her situation.
Why? We don’t necessarily know. What we do know is that communication with other women and TRAINED medical professionals is key to recovery. This is where I get on my soapbox.
The MOTHER’S Act would allow for research funding so we might be able to find these things out. It would also allow funding for additional social and community support programs to be implemented across the country so that no family would have to suffer silently. It would allow for women to speak up without fear about their intrusive thoughts, to admit they are not happy at a time when they feel they should be. It would educate caregivers so no more women would have to be fear being dismissed when they do speak up, as I was. It would decrease potentially lethal cases of untreated Postpartum Depression and catch episodes of Postpartum Psychosis before they reached the breaking point.
The MOTHER’S Act would finally allow for the recognition of Postpartum Mood Disorders as a true illness, allowing for the flow of ideas and treatment options between patients and clinicians to open up. It would allow us to finally create treatment networks between Pediatricians, OB’s, Therapist, Psychologists, and Psychiatrists, keeping women from slipping through the cracks and confused about which medical professional to talk with regarding their emotions.
The passage of the MOTHER’S Act would allow those of us who have survived and those of us who are still struggling to finally begin to live over the rainbow, where we deserve to live. Where there is finally acceptance, happiness, and true hope instead of disapproval, sadness, and despair that permeates the lives of so many women and families fighting to rid themselves of the beast of Postpartum Depression.
Off the soapbox now.
I blog to provide the land over the rainbow for myself and for others. We’ve fought hard enough against the rain on our own. Nothing more, nothing less. Providing hope to those who struggle behind me, those deserving of a helping hand as they claw furiously against the muddy wall of the hole they now find themselves lost inside.
We all deserve the rainbow.
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