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Posts Tagged ‘ppd’

by Lauren at Unexpected Blessing

I first stumbled across Dan’s blog (LABAIRI) quite awhile back. I left a comment and he emailed me to thank me for my kind words. We’ve kept in touch here and there, mostly I read his Twitter updates. (I Twitter too – unxpctdblessing is my username there) A few weeks ago I asked him if he would be willing to do an interview as he is a dad who has PPD experience. Dan opened up and is very honest and forward with his answers. I sincerely hope you enjoy today’s interview as much as I did when I first received his reply!

Would you share with us your insight on your wife’s journey as she struggled with PPD?

Jenna suffered PPD with all three of our children. Each time was different, PPD isn’t the same for every woman – it’s not even the same for one woman! The second bought was the worst. It was just a dark time – so dark that there are moments during that year that Jenna and I don’t even remember. We look at pictures and have no idea the circumstances. The darkness was just overwhelming. Nothing was right and everything was difficult. She suffered a lot, and I was really at a loss at how I’d be able to help her through this.
What were some of the first signs you noticed that made you think things weren’t quite right?

During the first time around, we didn’t know this was even happening – only 5 years ago, but awareness has come a LONG way since then. But looking back I guess there was a huge lack of motivation to do anything from getting out of bed in the morning to get up in the middle of the night to feed our son. It seemed odd – but we thought that this must just be sheer exhaustion from Jenna also working part-time. Plus, during those first 8 months after Liam was born, our relationship was tanking. I remember thinking if this is what marriage is like after kids that I didn’t want any more of them. (You can laugh – we have three and another on the way from Ethiopia!)

How have you grown as a man and as a father as a result of PPD?

Wow, great question. As a father, PPD grew me up really fast. As Jenna had moments where she was unable to care for the kids as she would have liked, I had no choice but to step in and make it work. I wasn’t secure in my parenting skills by any stretch of the imagination (the first diaper I ever changed was Liam’s). But I loved my family more than life, and these times forced me to step up to the responsibility.

As a man, I know I am more sensitive to expectant and new mothers. I know how hard it can be. I know the hell that it can be on the family. I advocate for fathers to step up and care for their wives as this is the “for better or for worse” part of the vows we made before God. I’ve never been a “manly-man” with the barefoot and pregnant mentality, but this time reinforced that caring for our wives as Christ loves the church is the only way to make a marriage work. There is a lot of sacrifice to be made as a husband/father, with or without PPD. I’m definitely a better person for having been through this with Jenna.

How did your faith support you through your journey?

WOW. We couldn’t have done this without our faith. Almost without a doubt, without our faith we would never have made it through that first year after Liam. Those were really dark times. The Psalms were a great comfort as we journeyed though PPD. David talks so often of going through the valley and crying out to God for help. Those passages of lament gave words to the cry of our hearts, cries that found words difficult to come by. We also couldn’t have done this without our faith community. Especially after PPD was diagnosed and we could talk about it with some clarity, people brought us meals, they stayed with us and helped out wherever they could. The support structure our faith community gave us was invaluable and at least for me reaffirmed the beauty of the local church and the potential she has to do good in this world.

What do you love about being a father?

Coming home from work and having a little person scream “DADDY!” at the top of her lungs while running to give me a bear hug! Those moments make all of the bad ones disappear in seconds.

What lessons have you learned from PPD?

Hmm. What first comes to mind is that no one is immune from pain. I think we all figure that PPD (or anything else bad) won’t happen to us. Jenna had NEVER suffered any sort of depression before PPD. There were absolutely no warning signs on this one. We never prepared ourselves for the worst. Jenna and I had no plan for PPD when it happened, no safety net or plan b. As a result, we’re going through an adoption right now, which is going very well. But in the back of my mind, I’m preparing for what might go wrong – and there is plenty to go wrong in international adoptions. It’s given me a healthy dose of preparedness that I’d never had before.

Depression isn’t just a bad thing. I know, that sounds like an insane statement to make, but let me explain. Depression allows you for a time to see life, and perhaps embrace life, as it really is – broken and in desperate need of repair. As a result of PPD, I savor even the “just OK” times in life because I know how bad it can get.

People are good. Surrounding yourself with a support network is one of the best things you can do for PPD. Do this before you experience tragedy; experience the joys of community as well.

Share with us some of the ways you were able to participate in your wife’s recovery.

1. Realize that this is something that I can’t fix. Once that was cemented into my head, I was free to just be the best husband / father I could be.

2. Take over duties/chores. Taking away the stresses – cleaning, cooking, etc. – that I could seemed to free her mind to think about the kids. Along with this, I also had the freedom to flex my hours at work. I stayed home until the kids were fed and clothed. I was home for the bedtime routine and canceled my evening appointments. This isn’t easy, but this speaks VOLUMES to your wife – you’re making her a priority.

3. I went with her to her first PPD group meeting. I wanted to show my support, even if it was just driving her to the wellness center so she didn’t feel like she’d get lost. Along with this, I made her being able to go to PPD group a priority. I rearranged my schedule, took appointments out of my schedule, etc. To make that happen.

4. I made every effort to help her start Life After Baby, the support group she started at our church – helping design web images, fliers, etc. She has since graduated from the group herself, but the group will still meet with new leadership this coming year.

Let’s face it. Parenting is not easy. What are some of your most difficult daily parenting challenges?

We now have three kids. Jenna’s pretty much recovered from her third trip through PPD (this hasn’t been the worst, just the longest – Addi is 2). Daily challenges: navigating the kids through the best friends/worst enemy phase of being siblings. They can turn on a dime, and helping them work through the worst enemy side of that coin is not easy. Finding alone time with each of the kids and making sure that each is getting a good amount of personal attention. And I guess that last challenge would be more on the marriage side of things, but making sure that Jenna and I don’t lose touch in the process of caring for the kids. It’s easy to focus everything on them and give the leftovers to each other. We’ve got to make each other a priority!

Shameless plug time. Tell us about your blog and why you started it.

My blog: labairi (or life as best as I remember it) was started basically as an outlet for me to write my thoughts on life. I’m an avid journal writer, and figured I’d put that to good use for the world to read–No grand ambitions, just a guy and his thoughts. It’s definitely evolved in the past three years as I’ve allowed myself to become more transparent with what’s actually going on sharing our journey and my thoughts on PPD as well as my own bouts with depression and anxiety. Since starting the blog, it’s been amazing to see what being transparent can do. I’ve connected and helped several PPD dads and family members helping them walk through some of the worst moments. I’ve been able to read books on fatherhood sent to me by authors. And I’ve just met some incredibly cool people that encourage me to be a better person. My blog is sometimes serious, sometimes fun, but always real.

And last but not least – if you had a chance to share one piece of advice with an expectant father (new or experienced), what would it be?

Embrace every moment good and bad, you can’t get them back. Choose your family above your golf game and if you can help it, your work life. You may make less money, but in the long run you’ll be investing in something that lasts for eternity.

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Dr. Phil Looking for those with Postpartum Depression

Do you believe you are suffering from post-partum depression?

Are you having obsessive thoughts, feeling a lack of attachment to your baby, or are you experiencing other symptoms you suspect could be post-partum depression?

If so, please share your story with us! We’ll be working with leading physicians to help moms who are suffering with these symptoms.

http://www.drphil.com/plugger/respond/?plugID=12527

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I wrote this at (one of) my other blog(s), quite e-musing. It was therapeutic and painful to write. I felt it all over again tonight after a support group meeting where a friend opened up her heart and bled emotional pain all over the concrete in front of the Spectrum Healthier Communities building.

**************************************************************************

To quote Elton John…

It’s sad, its so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
That sorry seems to be the hardest word

I’ve just been so sad lately. Beating myself up for failing as a friend, sister, mentor, mom, wife, daughter of God et al. I had a chance. I tried. Well, kinda. When it got hard, I bailed. It’s hard to fight Satan, he’s so strong and knows my weaknesses oh too well.

When I got rejected, I took it personally. I failed to see to the deeper need of the people I was called to serve and succumbed early on in the fight by letting a mere flesh wound signal my retreat. My strong sense of justice called me to fight to help break a sad, sinful cycle of addiction. Unfortunately, the one I was fighting for didn’t want out–it’s easier to stay in the cycle than break free. But I was willing to help walk the wire. My help wasn’t wanted. For that I am sorry. I have failed you and myself, God’s heart and mine hurt for that.

The saddest part, there are children involved. There was a chance for the cycle to be broken while the kids were small enough that they wouldn’t be ravaged by the consequences, the poor examples they have as their gauge of what it looks like to be a man of God, woman of God, husband and wife who have left their parents and are cleaving to each other as God ordained, a healthy marriage worth the work, the muck, facing and weathering the storms. Healthy parental relationships rather than co-dependent ones well into adulthood. A reality based on relativistic ego-centrist interests rather than in …well, reality. Financial nooses being tied rather than blisteringly unraveled by hard work and determination.

I tried writing a letter, but after praying, asking around for some objective advice as to whether or not to actually send it, realized that it won’t be read and understood, but just misconstrued once again.

So, most of us with frustrated hurting hearts who have tried to help, tried to follow the guidelines in Matthew 18 of confrontation, who have tried via Bible studies and accountability groups, painful and often one-sided friendships, asking tough questions, giving and giving some more, attempting to mirror Christ to these people feel that although we ought to be forming an intervention to prevent yet another disaster-in-the-making, but that we have no other recourse except to bring our love and worries before God’s throne.

To beg Him to bolster them up in the course that they have chosen. To shield their children from the storms ahead and their heritage riddled with the “sins of the fathers”. To surround them with people who will be allowed to ask the tough questions and keep pursuing these wounded hearts when the game gets tough, when they start to lose, and when they try to pick up their marbles and leave…again. To break the cycles of addiction, enablement, co-dependency, and selfishness. To open ears and eyes so the misleading babble of the beautiful One can be clearly delineated from the sometimes challenging charges of our Savior. For strength to turn head knowledge into heart knowledge and the courage to really and truly live it out.

May your journey bring you back to the heart of God.

For me, I pray forgiveness. That God will release me from harsh words and thoughts. From failures to say and do what He prompted when He prompted because I was afraid of the repercussions. That I can put the past failures as far away from me as He does. For true forgiveness to continue to happen. That I won’t dwell on the past or revel in guilt. That as friends come in and out of my life, they will leave knowing God more and Jenna less. That I won’t be hesitant to pursue real relationships with them because I have been hurt by others. That I won’t lean on my own understanding, but always lean on God. That I’ll continue to face my sins, shortcomings, and acknowledge them and grow from them–confessing them to God rather than stumbling and tripping all over them while cutting and bruising myself in the process.

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Location of Ethiopia

So, what’s next?

Well, we are currently in the process of adopting a little boy from Ethiopia.

Yes. We probably are crazy. Everyone’s thinking it, but most of you are too kind to say it to our expectant faces.

We’re blogging about our adoption journey, but there might be relevant overlap for LAB as well.

For instance:

  • some countries (China, for instance) will not let you adopt their children if you have or have ever suffered from any form of mental illness (PPD counts)
  • in our adoption literature, our agency ‘warns’ us that we may suffer from post-adoption depression (PAD)–interesting, huh?

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http://www.postpartum.net/

For a while now, many of us have been trying to help get the MOTHERS Act passed through congress. I guess there are rumors going around that this legislations is a conspiracy theory made up by big pharmaceuticals to boost their already-humongous profit margins by forcing new mothers to take medications. Yeah…it sounds like a great premise for a John Grisham novel to me too. Maybe he’ll write it and donate a % of proceeds to this worthy cause? Until then, would you sign this online petition in support of legislation to help provide education and resources for new moms to get help after having a baby? I did…twice I think by accident. Click here to Connect and be Counted!

From Susan Dowd Stone, President of Postpartum Support International:

We Must Speak Out in Full Support of Postpartum Depression (PPD) Legislation NOW.

You may have heard the complaints on the internet lately; asking readers to block passage of legislation to help new mothers and their families cope with postpartum depression. The House and Senate both have legislation – H.R. 20 and S. 1375 – that some mistakenly believe is a conspiracy to push new mothers to take medication.

Tell that to the more than 800,000 women who will develop a diagnosable postpartum mood disorder this year! This does not include the 7.5% of women who will develop major depression during pregnancy.

How disappointing! Those who are speaking out against the Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act obviously know little to nothing about this legislation. Some are even saying that Melanie Blocker-Stokes, who took her own life after suffering this illness, was simply just sad.

This could not be farther from the truth! Ask her mother, Carol Blocker, who has dedicated her life to the passage of this protective legislation named in honor of her daughter.

This legislation does NOT recommend drugs, require drugs, or endorse drugs. What it does is:

  • Encourage the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the research into the causes of postpartum conditions and find treatments.
  • Establish a national public awareness campaign to increase awareness and knowledge of PPD and psychosis.
  • Make grants available for programs that develop and offer essential services to women with PPD.

Even if you have already done so, please take the time to let your representatives in Washington know that you support this vital legislation . Help counter the misinformation they are currently receiving!

Click here to Connect and Be Counted!

One Person Can Make a Difference.

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