Guest Post: Contentiously Pregnant, Traumatically Delivered


The following was submitted some time ago by a reader who asked to have this published anonymously. Although this is a quick read, it covers so much – the fear and denial of a new pregnancy, the shock and self blame surrounding a delivery gone horribly wrong, and the anxiety enveloping all of these things. Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome is a very real disorder on the Postpartum Mood Disorder Spectrum. If you think you may struggle with this disorder, there is hope, there is help, and you are not alone. I strongly suggest you check out Solace for Mothers for support or reach out to the #PPDChat community on Twitter. Don’t walk the dark path alone. 

This post contains some imagery toward the end which may be triggering for you if you’ve suffered/or are suffering with PPTSD.

If you are still easily triggered, you may want to skip this piece.

The big day had finally arrived. The day I was to meet this little boy I still don’t want. Let’s go back a year and a half….

I was sent for a biopsy because of an abnormal pap. I was put on progesterone because I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). My body was not making enough of this hormone to have a monthly “friend”. I started taking progesterone and within seven days I had a “friend” come to visit, only it was really bad.

I was hemorrhaging. After fifteen days, my wonderful OB decided to perform a D & C. Everything went well; the bleeding and cramping was finally manageable. I was supposed to take the progesterone the first seven days of each month until my body did what it was supposed to do. I lost 65 lbs!

I went to my four month post D & C check up and all was well. I received a clean bill of health and was good to go. My OB said if I wasn’t pregnant by Spring, we would discuss our options (little did either one of us know, at the time of my check-up, I was already pregnant.)

I was under instructions not to take progesterone in November. My OB wanted to see if my body would do what it was supposed to without it. She did say if December 1st came around with no “friend”, I was to take a pregnancy test. If it was negative, start the hormones all over again.

Black Friday came. I am one of those crazy people that is at the stores shopping at an ungodly hour so I bought a test. While at work, I peed on the little stick and before I could blink, two lines appeared. I took six more tests throughout the week at different times, just to verify what the first one said.

I was in complete and utter shock and even denial. It wasn’t Spring and I wasn’t ready to be pregnant. I had just lost a ton of weight, I was a full time student, I worked full time, and I already had a child who was in school full time. I wasn’t ready to have another baby.

The pregnancy was what every pregnant woman wanted, perfect and smooth. As I entered the second trimester, I was still in denial that I was even having a baby. I tried to ignore the movements and the baby’s hiccups. I tried to deny I was carrying in my belly this perfect round shape beneath my clothes.

I wasn’t happy. My days are grew darker and darker. Family and friends said I was aglow and looked wonderful. They couldn’t get enough of my belly. I resented their excitement over this new life I was bringing into the world.

Finally, the end was near. One month before I delivered, I was in a car accident. I was rushed to the hospital because of the cramps, but I wasn’t concerned for the life growing inside me. I just wanted him out. I hadn’t fallen in love with him. I didn’t even want him. I was still not ready. The cramping and contractions stopped. My OB said I would be induced in three weeks.

The day of induction came and family and friends hovered all day long. Labor wasn’t bad. Everything went smoothly. The pain was there, but tolerable. At 9cm, I said fuck this, I am pushing. No more waiting. Maybe that was shame on me, but I was done.

I went from 9cm to crowning in about a minute! My OB arrived and changed when the pain suddenly hit. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t think. Why the hell didn’t anyone take this kid out of me?

After five minutes of pushing, he was stuck on my pelvic bone and they were losing him and I wasn’t cooperating. I declined the pain medications earlier on. The next thing I could remember was the look between my OB and nurse. The nurse pressed the “Code Red” button and I still couldn’t breathe. All these nurses came running in and pushing everyone out of their way to get to me. They jump up and on the count of three I am to give one good push, while they push on my stomach, 1…2…3…he is out.

I didn’t want him on me. I didn’t want to see or touch him. He wasn’t breathing and was rushed to the incubator. Everyone was crying with joy around me, but I was disgusted that I sucked so badly at this delivery. I hated and blamed myself.

Because of all the commotion surrounding my son’s birth, the time he was born is a bit foggy; no one was paying attention to the clock. He was born not breathing, the cord around his neck and moderate shoulder dystocia. As his mother I felt as though I had already failed!

Most of this is a blur. I wish I could say that I am over this experience and that after a couple of hours all was well and I was smitten with this new baby. However, my hell was really just beginning, but that story is for another time….

Kendra Wilkinson and “Post-Pregnancy Sadness”


A couple of weeks ago, it seemed that every hollywood gossip website began running with a story about Kendra Wilkinson’s struggle with Postpartum Depression.

She didn’t brush her teeth or hair. Didn’t shower. Finally looked in a mirror and was mortified at the reflection. Even remembers stating she “had nothing to live for.”

The media took immediately jumped on the express to Postpartumville. Postpartum Depression hits ex-Playboy Bunny Kendra Wilkinson. See? Even the perfectly beautiful people have drama and struggle! Cha-Ching!

Yet this week, the week her show premieres, Kendra is pushing back at the media.

According to Kendra, she didn’t suffer from Postpartum Depression as she was never officially diagnosed. And she should know as she’s been in and out of therapy her whole life. Kendra admits it was indeed depression but not postpartum.

Kendra?

Sweetie?

If it’s depression and it occurs within the first 12 months after giving birth, it IS Postpartum Depression. And we don’t get to rename it “Post-Pregnancy Sadness.” Sad people don’t think they have nothing to live for but depressed people have a tendency to have these thoughts. Postpartum Depression is real, it’s not your fault, and you will get well.

Playing down comments such as not having anything to live for as simply being “Sadness” is downright dangerous.

According to E! Online, Kendra did receive professional help and returned to working out. She also moved back to L.A.from Indianapolis.

And her husband’s take on this according to the same piece at E! follows:

As for Hank, he says he tried his best to help but it was “hard because there’s nothing you can say, nothing you can do.” Even as he told Kendra how much he loved her and how beautiful she was, she’d shoot back, “‘No, I don’t feel it,'” Hank remembers.

A huge risk factor for developing Postpartum Depression is a history of depression which it sounds like Kendra struggled with according to several sources. And moving away from family, friends and support is another risk. Ensuring a new mom has a strong and stable support system around her as she navigates her way through the new challenges of motherhood.

If anything, let’s learn something from this.

Most importantly, if you’re struggling so much after the birth of your child that you’re not able to perform necessary hygiene tasks and feeling like you have nothing to live for, seek professional help. The label doesn’t matter. What matters is the help, the recovery, and then we’ll deal with the label later. But with more and more women speaking up and writing online about their own experiences regarding Postpartum Depression, it’s becoming less of a taboo and less stigmatized every day.

Kendra, you’ve really missed a huge opportunity to educate your fans about the facts surrounding Postpartum Depression. I’m not surprised but I am saddened.

Henna, Childbirth, and the Postpartum Period


"Henna Foot" By Jason. Tabarias @flickr (http://tinyurl.com/35f4yj4)

Here is an excerpt from a wonderful article I located last night regarding this topic. The entire article is absolutely fascinating and DEFINITELY worth the read.

Hennaing a woman after she gives birth is a traditional way to deter the malevolent spirits that cause disease, depression, and poor bonding with her infant. The action of applying henna to a mother after childbirth, particularly to her feet, keeps her from getting up to resume housework! A woman who has henna paste on her feet must let a friend or relative help her care for older children, tend the baby, cook and clean! This allows her to regain her strength and bond with her new baby. She is also comforted by having friends who care about her well-being, and is helped to feel pretty again. It’s a comfort to have feet beautified when you haven’t seen them for several months. The countries that have these traditions have very low rates of postpartum depression.

Did you Know?


Here in America during the early colonial days, there was a postpartum tradition called “lying-in” in which the woman who had just given birth would stay in bed while neighbors, family, and the entire community would lend a hand to household chores and any other labors typically attended to by the mother. At the end of this lying-in period, the mother would throw a “groaning party” to thank all who had pitched in to help.

(source: Mothering the New Mother, Sally Placksin, p.45-46, sourced from Richard & Dorothy C. Wertz’s Lying-In: A History of Childbirth in America)

Do you have a specific postpartum or maternal tradition? Know of a culturally specific tradition? If so, email them to ppdacceptance@gmail.com with Maternal Tradition in the subject line and they’ll be featured here on Saturdays!