Thank you, GMA & Dr. Louann Brizendine for honestly discussing Postpartum Depression & Psychosis


Earlier today, I watched a video of the disappearance of seven-year old Kyron Horman. It’s a sad story. Please don’t visit the link if you’re fragile and sensitive to tragic news.

The current speculation is that the step-mom struggled with Postpartum Depression or Psychosis and may be responsible for Kyron’s disappearance. Usually I get frustrated when I hear this because more often than not, the misinformation quickly follows. Psychosis symptoms get swamped in with those of Postpartum Depression and vice versa. The line is blurred and women with Postpartum Depression are automatically compared to Andrea Yates and other sensationalized cases of Psychosis. It gets me so angry.

GMA’s story involved the interview of a specialist, Dr. LouAnne Brizendine, author of The Female Brain. She blew me away. (Interview Link. Please don’t click if fragile!)

Not only did the GMA correspondent ask a lot of the right questions but Dr. LouAnne Brizendine clarified perfectly the differences between Postpartum Depression and Psychosis. The GMA correspondent followed up by asking if the Step-mom would even be suffering from Psychosis still as her baby is 19 months old now. Someone did their homework.

So thank you, GMA.

Thank you, Dr. LouAnne Brizendine.

THANK YOU for honestly discussing Postpartum Depression and Psychosis. Thank you for not lumping them together, for not sensationalizing them but for clarifying the differences, for calmly and rationally discussing this latest speculation.

My only caveat with this story is that the speculation has evolved to this point because of the Mom experiencing Postpartum Depression. And that is certainly not GMA nor Dr. Brizendine’s responsibility.

Granted, PPD and especially Psychosis take time from which to heal but just because a Mom has suffered does not mean they are prone to go off the handle at any second. I sincerely hope Kyron is found. I hope his stepmother had nothing to do with his disappearance. Please don’t judge her because she has this history – she did not choose this. It chose her. And we have no idea how it was treated, how her family supported her, etc. Frankly, at this point, I’m sure she’s not doing well with this added stress and attention. My prayers go out to the Horman family as they pray and wait for Kyron’s return.

Guanabee: “What Otty Sanchez’s story can teach us about Latinas & mental health”


I’m always in awe of how this works for me. Earlier today I was thinking about how we could learn about the effect of postpartum depression on latinas as a result of Otty Sanchez’s story. Then BAM. Into my inbox flies a link to an amazing article over at a beta site, Guanabee. (Click here to read the article for yourself. Be warned that it does mention what Sanchez did in a rather graphic manner)

Alex Alvarez really hits the nail on the head when he asks what could have been done to prevent this tragedy. Alvarez cites misinformation of family members, pracititioners, and others surrounding Sanchez. He also points out that latinas are more likely to seek help from a general practitioner or a clergy member. Language is also mentioned as a barrier to treatment.

One of the best books I’ve found out there for latinas is a book called “The Seven Beliefs.” This book empowers the latina woman to confront and face her depression. While it does not specifically address postpartum depression, it is indeed a powerful tool which speaks the latina’s language.

Postpartum Support International also provides support in Spanish. For more information on their support for the spanish speaking loved ones in your life, please click here for a list.

Heartbreaking News out of Houston, TX


I debated about whether or not I should blog about this topic. It’s graphic, it’s disturbing, and it’s deeply saddened me. I finally made the decision to blog about it to clear up a certain point I’ve found in most of the news stories.

Unless you’ve been on a news blackout or under a rock, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the tragedy which occurred in TX this past weekend. I will not be delving into the details here. They are quite graphic and disturbing. I had a hard time reading the news story. I do not wish to trigger any suffering women who regularly read or subscribe to this blog. If you have a stronger stomach and do not feel you would be triggered by the details, you can read the story here.

The news story states the mother was mentally ill, having been previously diagnosed with schizophrenia.(Dad also had been diagnosed with schizophrenia)

Once again though, Postpartum Depression is mentioned in the story. Postpartum Depression is being bandied about as a possible cause of her behaviour.

I’d really like to make something perfectly clear.

Women with Postpartum DEPRESSION do NOT murder their children.

Let me say that again.

WOMEN WITH POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION DO NOT MURDER THEIR CHILDREN!!!!!!!

However, women with Postpartum PSYCHOSIS are much more likely to follow through with these horrific thoughts.

Postpartum Psychosis is a medical emergency. The onset is fast and furious and this particular Postpartum Disorder carries the highest risk of suicide, infanticide, and filicide of ALL the Disorders on the spectrum.Women with Postpartum Psychotic symptoms should absolutely not be left alone with their infants.

According to MedEd PPD, Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis are:

  • Risk of harm to self (suicidality)
  • Risk of harm to others (homicidality)
  • Inability to provide basic care for self (usually due to psychosis). Psychosis is associated with both suicidality and homicidal ideation toward the infant or others.

Mothers with Psychosis may also show signs of delusional thinking, hear voices, or experience hallucinations.

And what should family members do if they suspect a new mother may be exhibiting signs of Psychosis?

Most importantly, the mother should NOT be left alone with her infant. She should be immediately transported to the ER for professional assessment and treatment. In the above article, it is stated that the mother’s family noticed her decline in mental status just a week prior to her crime. She was hospitalized but signed herself out.

Risk Factors for developing Psychosis include (but are not limited to) family or personal history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In this particular case, the mother had been previously diagnosed and hospitalized for Schizophrenia.

How often does Postpartum Psychosis occur? One per 1000 mothers may experience Psychosis.

If you want to truly understand Postpartum Psychosis, go read my interview with Teresa Twomey, author of Understanding Postpartum Psychosis. Both she and her daughter fortunately survived Postpartum Psychosis. With the publication of her book, she hoped to help remove stigma from this condition which is so very often sensationalized in mainstream media and made to seem more common than it really is.

How many more of these cases do we need to read about? How many more times do we have to confuse Postpartum Depression with Postpartum Psychosis in mainstream media? How many more times do we have to mourn the loss of another infant because a mother was left behind by an uneducated system which failed her? How many more times are we to read about a family destroyed by something which could have been prevented if swift action had been taken?

Why weren’t preventative measures already in place given the mom’s mental health history? Why was this tragedy allowed to occur? And why are moms in TX murdering their infants at such a high rate?

Why?

When will we wake up and realize that we need to reduce stigma, increase awareness, educate, research, and inform medical professionals in ALL fields about the dangers of Postpartum Psychosis? Educate them about the differences between Postpartum Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Disorder – WHEN?!?!

THE MOTHER’S ACT needs to be passed NOW! Families cannot wait any longer for relief!

Ignorance and Stigma Peeks In


A quick warning to those of you who have by visual intrusive thoughts: Do NOT click on the links included below, ok? Just trust me on what I’ve written here.

Earlier this evening I received a Google Alert for Postpartum Depression which included a story about a Mom in Massachusetts who brutally attacked her two year old daughter. While absolutely tragic, the story itself did not have the phrase “Postpartum Depression” anywhere in the text. Another story I read regarding the same situation also did not mention PPD. The mother instead claims she was being stalked by a cult.

So why did I get the alert?

Because the folks who commented on the story were passionately embroiled in debate about Moms who USE the Postpartum Depression defense.

Nevermind that this particular Mom (according to the news story) had not admitted to PPD or PPP. No, that didn’t matter.

At first I was confused and thought I had missed something within the text which is why I looked for an additional story with more detail. Still not finding anything there to indicate PPP or PPD, I became angry.

Angry with the ignorance of the folks debating the fate of this woman.

Angry that they would jump to the conclusion.

Angry that a few of them apparently believe PPD is a make-believe condition that Moms who kill use just to get lighter sentences or no sentences at all.

Here are just a couple of the infuriatingly ignorant comments:

As a mother, I simply cannot understand how a mother can harm their child. Mental illness or not, there is simply no excuse and unfortunately I think that women scream mental illness when they have done the unconscionable (i.e. God told me to do it, the voices told me to do it and other such things that there is really no concrete proof to support or disprove) in an effort to “get away” with their heinous act. This happens way more than it should and until such time as women are punished the same way men are for the same acts, they will continue to do these things.

Some people simply don’t deserve to be parents. Having kids is a privilege. I have no pity for her. There are thousands of women who can’t get pregnant and would love to adopt, and here is this animal playing the “PPD” card?

Ugh!

THIS is the kind of ignorance keeping women from speaking up and seeking help.

THIS is why some woman’s families refuses to treat her Perinatal Disorder.

THIS is why I SPEAK OUT. WHY I write. WHY I reach behind me to help those in need.

No mother should suffer in fearful silence until she breaks. Ever.

It’s time for the cycle to end.

Life of a Wife writes about her Second PPP Experience


Over at Life of a Wife, Nicole shares about her second time around with PPP and asks for advice. If you have any to offer, I know she’d appreciate it. I’ve already emailed her and am keeping her in my prayers.

Here are a few of her thoughts:

Of course when I came home things went back to normal. Bill went back to work, I went back to full time mom. So other than getting meds I’m not quite sure what it helped. I see a therapist and a psychiatrist and I’ve changed my meds around a bit because I was like a zombie. My therapist said that I’m one step away from winding up back in the hospital for three weeks this time so that’s not good. But I just don’t have the help.

Anyone that has ever been through PPD knows how awful it is, anyone who has been through PPP knows how devastating it is. If there is anyone out there who has been through it more than once, I’d really love to talk to them, this is an ongoing struggle. I am not out of the woods yet. I have my good days and my bad and people who haven’t been through it can be helpful but can’t completely understand. I’m looking for any advice here.