This past weekend I had an opportunity to view the entire program ahead of airing schedule at the invitation of Discovery Communications. And no, I’m not being paid to post about this. (Happy, FTC?)
Discovery Health is airing “Baby Week” this week. The second program is entitled “Postpartum Nightmares” and airs on March 2nd, 2010. Check your local listings for the time.
I will admit that I had my hesitations about this documentary at the outset. First, I was not aware of the program. Second, the first description I saw promised “experts’ and well, we know from the past how well that can go.
After a few emails, I discovered the experts they were able to get involved were none other than Shoshana Bennett and Pec Indman. Cool. Two amazing women who know precisely what they are talking about and are filled with compassion for the families fighting Postpartum Mood Disorders. Now – what about the re-enactments? What are THEY going to be like?
The re-enactments are not for the faint of heart. Just 90 seconds in and I was ready to throw in the towel – ready to write off the whole thing. I questioned if I was watching a documentary or a horror film. But I took a deep breath and continued to watch, shooing my children back to nap every five minutes.
Based on what I saw and managed to hear (in between shooing the kids back to nap), the overall narration was impressive. The three women in the documentary were treated with quite a bit of respect. They told their stories with amazing detail and explained the treatment through which they found recovery very well. Do note that their birth experiences were somewhat on the extreme side and I don’t remember hearing one I would term a “normal” birth experience (ie, no complications/surgery). At the end of the program, I was glad I hung tough. I am glad Discovery Health has put this out there despite the graphic dramatization of the re-enactments. Although, thinking back on my own experience, a lot of what was described eerily similar to what I experienced. The intrusive thoughts, the overwhelming anxiety, the desire to just not have to deal with it anymore – all of that is there. I just wish it hadn’t looked so much like a horror film.
If you are currently struggling with Postpartum Depression, have recently recovered or are emotionally fragile and haunted by images, etc, I would not recommend you watch this program as it may cause more harm than good.
Some of the important topics touched on during the program are:
Ultimately, I was happiest that there was a clear distinction drawn between Postpartum Depression and Postpartum Psychosis. And I was beyond thrilled that Postpartum OCD was discussed. It’s very rare for OCD to be discussed as it is quite often mistaken for Psychosis. I also thought it was really cool the way PSI was mentioned in the third story. (You’ll just have to see that for yourself should you choose to watch!)
I really liked that Dads were interviewed for all three stories in addition to the Moms. The dad’s give an additional depth to the story that just would not have been there had we only heard the story from the Moms. It is truly important to remember that a Postpartum Mood Disorder affects more than just mom. It ripples out and hits the entire family.
Discovery has a couple of pages set up for resources. You can find them here:
Postpartum Family Info
If you choose to watch this program and want to vent and/or discuss it afterward, please catch up with me on Twitter. My username there is unxpctdblessing. I’ll be available to talk and answer (to the best of my ability) any questions you may have. Use the “hashtag” #discoveryPPD or @ me so I can find you.
You are not alone.
If you are watching the program and begin to have issues and need to talk with someone, you can call the PSI Warmline @ 1.800-944-4PPD. There is a Coordinator checking messages daily. Your call should be returned within 24 hours. If it is not, email PSI to let them know you have not had a call back. You can also locate a coordinator in your area via by clicking here and finding your state or international location.