Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Defining Postpartum Mood Disorders

Welcome to my blog if you’ve traveled here from 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party for 2010.

This is my second year of participating.

The following post is meant to spark discussion as well as explain why I blog.

Won’t you come on in, sit down, and have a cup of tea?

I’m so very glad you’re here.

And if you stick around, there’s a meaningful giveaway at the end.

Since my first brush with a Postpartum Mood Disorder, I have come to learn so very much about this world I consider myself fortunate enough to have stumbled into.

Fortunate? To have stumbled into a Postpartum Mood Disorder? What the hell is wrong with you?

Isn’t that a bit like being thrilled to pieces about stumbling into a briar patch?

While I certainly wouldn’t wish a Postpartum Mood Disorder on my worst enemy, I am eternally grateful for the growth it has brought to my life. For the changed relationships, the maturity, the amazingly strong women it has brought into my life. I am eternally grateful that because of my Postpartum Mood Disorders, I have rediscovered my passion for writing. For supporting new mamas as they navigate the very dark and frightening valley of Postpartumville.

For me, as a recovered two time fighter, I define Postpartum Mood Disorders as the source of my strength. As the fertilizer from which the bloom I am constantly reinventing each and every day relies upon. My Postpartum Mood Disorders do not define me anymore. They used to – they used to fill me with a deep sadness, shame, anxiety, fear, hopelessness. I feared sharing my story. The very thought of having to tell one more person what happened to me made me want to crawl into bed, pull up the covers, and never come up for air again. Until I realized I could turn and fight. Turn and kick my PMD’s ass. So I did. And I kicked it hard.

So many women out there deserve to know they are capable of the same strength. They need to know that deep within them lies a spring so full of strength they can’t even see it or sense it until they desperately need it. Then, and only then, will the waters filled with strength begin to flow. Once that flow is turned on, there’s no turning back. Some of us need help turning it on and will need to take medication or talk with a therapist. Some of us will find help and hope in exercise and natural approaches. But just as there is no one size fits all for women, there is no one size fits all for Postpartum Mood Disorder recovery. You have to do what is absolutely right for you, your situation, and your family. And you should NOT be made to feel guilty about that at all by anyone.

This is why I blog, why I wake with the goal of connecting at least one mom with the feeling that she is not alone as she decides to turn and fight her Postpartum Mood Disorder. I have not failed in my daily mission in over three years. That’s over 1000 women and counting! There are no plans to stop this train anytime in the near future either. In fact, there are blueprints on the way to expand this bad boy.

Postpartum Mood Disorders have made me incapable of taking any moment with my family for granted. Incapable of not grasping the deeper meaning of my life and the lives of those around me. My PMD experience has brought a silent clarity to my life. And for me, it’s been absolutely instrumental in bringing my relationship with God back to where it needs to be. And for that, I am certainly eternally grateful.

When you are faced with any illness, you have a choice. You can turn and fight or you can succumb. There are those who have succumbed to their Postpartum Mood Disorders. And for them, for their families, their loved ones, I mourn. But I understand. I know how they reached that point. Because I got dangerously close to it myself. And if you ever wondered what someone who has considered suicide or held suicidal ideations is like, that person is like me, like you, like the barista at Starbucks, the Judge at the courthouse, the Principal at your kid’s school, like the cashier who just smiled at you at the grocery store – the bottom line is that mental illness, just like cancer, can hit any of us at anytime. It’s unpredictable and extremely difficult to prevent even if we do everything right.In order to help prevent suicide, it is important for us to understand the warning signs. It’s important for us to be a friend to those who are struggling. To not judge them when they open up to us. It’s especially important to continue support as they are in the early stages of healing.

I bring up suicide because it ties in with my giveaway. Steve Krupnik over at NoBlu has graciously agreed to give away one of their gorgeous Sunstone Pendants. The design was settled on

“After countless hours of research, collaboration and design we created our organizations symbol, the noblu eclipse. The design is our interpretation of a solar eclipse created to inspire people to support others faced with the challenges of all form of depression and suicide prevention. If you think of the sun as the light within each one of us and the moon as the “visitor” that may block the light of inspiration you can see why we selected this glowing option. The eclipse is a reminder to look for help when we need it, to help others when they need it and inspire everyone to make a difference.”

Those of you who are regular readers know that I’ve never done a giveaway before. But I feel very strongly about the mission of NoBlu and want to share it with you. In order to be entered, leave a comment here. A winner will be chosen on April 19th at 8:00pm EST via Random.org.

So let’s get to just talking – how do YOU define Postpartum Mood Disorders? What has your experience meant to you? How have you grown?

Not had a Postpartum Mood Disorder? Have any questions about them? Want to know how to help a loved one? I’ll answer those too.

Prefer not to comment with either of those topics but want to be entered in the giveaway? Just visit NoBlu and post the first line of their mission statement as your comment.


15 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday: Defining Postpartum Mood Disorders

  1. As terrible as my experience was I think it has made me who I am today.
    My history of PPD has helped me to know myself better and recognize the needs of others better. I’m more compassionate and understanding. I’m also easier on myself, now.

  2. I’m a 2x ppd survivor myself, and I think, for me, the worst part was not that I was this different(mean, hateful) person, but that for MONTHS, literally, I didn’t realize there was this change. There was a disconnect for me. So not only was a real wench to family and friends, I was a walking zombie, too.
    Everyone got taken care of, but it was on a superficial level.

  3. Wow, great question … yet still very fresh and painful. PPMD to me, is like a robber who came in unexpected and unwanted and robbed what is most precious to me, my faith, my time with my boys, sanity, my strength, and joy and now over these 11 months, I’m still picking up the pieces and putting this house back in order. It feels so unfair, so painful, and oh so scary … yet deep in there is a knowing that somehow, some way, at sometime … something better will come of this, … the beauty from the ashes … I’m still waiting…

  4. Suffering from PPD twice made me realize that no matter how wonderful of a plan I had in place to “prevent” PPD, it truly IS AN ILLNESS – something that I did not bring upon myself, therefore is not my fault. It is chemical imbalances within me that required medication and therapy (still in therapy and on meds- kids are 2 and 3). Because I already have depression I was not unaware of depression, but PPD was a whole new level of fear, guilt, condemnation — like I never experienced before.

    So because of my experiences I am now so much more empathetic towards other moms. I am constantly aware of new moms out there and listening for hints they may be dropping if they aren’t “doing well.” I have always been an advocate for those suffering from depression but now I am on a mission to help those mommies who feel so alone in their anguish & like they cannot speak freely about their feelings & thoughts.

    PPD has made me a better mom in the long run because I am dealing with issues in counseling that I might not have had I been thrust into counseling via the PPD. This also is helping to deal with issues in my marriage – nothing major….but things that left unresolved long enough could become larger issues.

    And lastly – through the hospitalizations I truly felt that God’s hand was upon me and that He was showing me His unfailing love…that no matter where I was or what I had done….He would never leave me nor forsake me. That truly has been a gift.

  5. Boy…if I have to sum it up it wouldn’t just be hell on earth or wanting to melt into the ground like the wicked witch. For me it ultimately has meant finding my true spiritual giftedness and calling (to be a PMD blogger, advocate, and peer support provider) . And since God is involved and all, that’s kind of cool. :)

  6. Pingback: What’s Does Postpartum Depression Mean To Me? « All Work & No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something

  7. Such a loaded question…what does PPD mean to me? I’m a keeping it real kind of a gal so here goes….

    PPD is Hell period.

    It has robbed me of my first experience of motherhood. It has robbed me of my sanity. It has robbed me of my happiness. It has robbed me of myself. It has robbed me of my relationship with my husband, my family and friends. It takes and takes and takes. It ruins and ruins and ruins. And when I look back at all of it, all 20 months of long hell, I am still standing. Standing TALL I might add.

    I cannot change that PPD happened to me nor can I ever ease the sting of anger that I have for losing out on so much. But when I really look deep enough, I know that I have learned from it.

    I know that PPD was not my fault.
    I know that people with mental illnesses are just that…people with REAL illnesses just like cancer
    I know the people who truly love me…unconditionally
    I know that my husband is the best husband in the world because he never EVER left me…even after I called him names…and I didn’t put out for a few months or 10…eeks.
    I know that I will never take happiness for granted
    I stop to notice and embrace the little things that matter in life…like forgetting about the dishes to lay in the grass with my son
    I know that I am raising a beautiful child who loves me and I love him to the moon and beyond. If I had to endure PPD again to have him, I would do it in a heartbeat, because he is worth all of it.
    I know that I am a lot stronger than I had thought.
    I know that PPD is a temporary hell…and that I will beat it.

    Sure, PPD did unleash an unspeakable hell upon myself, my family and my friends…but I am still here. I made it this far and am still making it. The clouds are finally receding behind me and I am able to see the sun again. And it is oh so beautiful.

    Thanks Lauren for asking this question!!!

  8. An amazing post, I love Just Talking Tuesdays.

    For me postpartum mood disorders are the monster under the bed. I know that’s not motivational sounding but go with me for a minute. When you’re little the monster under your bed is something you fear. That terror can and does sometimes consume us, the same with ppmd. However if you fight and learn you can get past that fear. You can come out on the other side and realize that this horrible thing is conquerable (go with me on that being a word). It is something that we can overcome with the right tools. Because simply saying the monster is not under the bed is not helpful, you must learn to become stronger then he is even if the monster is just in you and not really under your bed.

    I hope that made any kind of sense at all.

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