Monday, September 14, 2015



In India, after a woman has a baby, she has the help of many people and is surrounded by family...for better or worse.

In the U.S., many women become isolated and alone in their new journey of motherhood. For many new, young moms this is a stressful, overwhelming period. The uncertainties of new motherhood, the changes in our bodies, sleepless nights, and hormonal changes result in Postpartum Depression for millions of women.

I was was one of those women. I had moved from my home town of Chicago to Denver. I knew many people but none that I could really confide in or call at 2 in the morning. My husband traveled for work Monday through Friday so basically I was a "single mom." My son was born prematurely at 32 weeks and had many issues including gerd, asthma, low weight etc. Doctors had advised that I feed him a little bit every 2 hours. I recall nights doing a 12am feed and then cleaning up throw up from the bed. Then getting up at 2 and doing the same. By the next feeding if he threw up, I would just throw a towel on it and go back to sleep. I was exhausted and no husband or family to let me sleep. I tried hard to enjoy my baby but each day was a struggle. My husband was supportive when he was in town but he had to work. He tried to understand but I know he really couldn't. Postpartum hit me hard!!

Unfortunately, because of stigma associated with depression, I had to keep it a secret from society. The secrecy in itself was another stressor. Looking back on that time, I really don't know how I survived!

Millions of women suffer from PPD. It is not exclusive to American women. In places like India, women are surrounded by family so they dont really succumb to the depression. They may feel out of sorts and "down" but because they are interacting with people constantly, they don't get to the level of depression that many isolated women feel.

We can't be judgemental about postpartum depression. A woman can't just "snap out of it." The hormonal changes and imbalances need time to settle. The "fog" and "dark cloud" takes time to pass. And it does pass.

Men try to be understanding about PPD.  But they understand it about as much as they understand labor pain!!  I believe only other women can understand and be there for each other. How can others help?  Maybe it's an offer to watch the child while the mom sleeps for a couple of hours.  A phone call or visit, an invite for lunch, shoulder to cry on, can bring up someone's spirits.  Best of all, sharing our collective experiences does wonders for a woman who is feeling alone and embarrassed about her situation.  It lets them know that this phase in her life is temporary.  You've been there and she too will get through it.

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