Monday, March 29, 2010

What We Don't Know

It's at this point that my memories of last year get a little fuzzy. This was the day of the proverbial last straw that sent me into weeks of not eating, not talking, shuffling around hunched up with fear. I do remember the feeling of terrified bewilderment those days in the hospital with Collin, knowing that something was very wrong, but not knowing what it was. And I just can't help but wonder if things would have been different if I had been a little more educated about postpartum depression. The only reference point I had, and I think this is the same for a lot of us, was the highly-publicized images of the sickest of the sick -- women who did the unthinkable. That certainly wasn't me. I was hurting and barely functioning and not myself, but I was not one of those women on TV. So what the heck WAS I?I was lucky enough to have a fiercely supportive husband, a midwife with the right connection, and an appointment with a specialized women's psychiatrist within three days of the onset of my condition. So, even though I needed my mom to come take care of Collin and I had weeks and months to go, I was at least headed in the right direction from the beginning.

But what about those who aren't so lucky? How are they supposed to figure out what's going on? You find the obligatory PPD posters in the pediatrician's office, but even when I knew what was going on with me and tried to be honest and explain my struggle to Collin's pediatricians in an effort to get their support, I just got an uncomfortable smile, avoidance of eye contact, and never another word or follow up.

There IS some good information out there now on postpartum depression, but as far as I know, there is very little if any information on mothers of babies who are sick or otherwise challenged. Ours is a strange morph between postpartum depression and acute or post traumatic stress disorder and it can't be fully described by either. There is a section in some videos and books that reference "Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder", but they usually just state that there is not yet enough research in this area. So, pardon my saying so, Medical Community, but GET ON IT.

3 comments:

  1. Amen!

    You know that within the past few days I've found out that 3 others of my friends (also with special needs kids) were on anti-depressants. I ONLY found this out because I started talking to them about needing to speak with my doctor about kicking my little rain cloud once and for good.

    I wish everyone were as brave as you about talking about what helped them. You give others, like me, courage. Thanks. :)

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  2. The medical community is very good about not talking about what makes them uncomfortable. The pediatrician obviously didn't know what to do. That's fine, but he ought to have the name of someone who would know!

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  3. You rock Annie for being so open and honest. I was just thinking yesterday that I don't really remember much of these couple months last year. Other than an occasional drive to or from Kosair nothing really stands out, which is sad considering Kayleigh turned 2 during that time :*( Definitely was just going through the motions and living on some weird auto pilot. I'm glad you knew enough to get help... I, on the other hand, felt like getting help was losing the battle. Thankfully, I found my way out of the anger and sadness, but I know so many don't. There should be someone at the hospital that is making sure parents are OK... especially moms. In 50 days, I was probably only asked twice "how mom and dad are doing"... and of course, I lied and said we were fine. They probably didn't want and couldn't have handled the truth. Anyway, thanks again for being so real!

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