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My Battle with PPD: Part 2


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AWC > Pregnancy > My Battle with PPD - Part 2

Note: First and most importantly before I start this highly sensitive blog, I want to make sure that everyone understands that I am no medical expert!  The opinions and views expressed in this blog are solely my own and are not intended to diagnose PPD.  Please contact your medical doctor for any advice or diagnosis of this topic.  

In Part I of my My Battle with PPD, I let you into my very personal experience with PPD. Once I had an official diagnosis of PPD, at first I felt like I was under a microscope. I felt like I was being really careful about what Isaid to doctors because I didn't want anyone to think that I was a bad mother or that I couldn't take care of my daughter. Those were all very real emotions for me, and I was almost felt like that is what was happening even though it wasn't happening like that at all. My doctor was amazing and very understanding of what I was feeling. In my experience, PPD is something that I find many people don't want to talk about or have a negative perception of. PPD is NOT something to be ashamed of, nor is it a bad thing, its your bodies natural response to having a baby. PPD is unpredictable, easy to recognize by a medical professional and is 100% curable.

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The Mayo Clinic has a wonderful article about PPD, which is something that I referred to a lot. Having a baby created a very powerful serge of hormones and emotions. No one person will ever have the same experience with PPD and the symptoms will be different from each person diagnosed. A lot of new moms have the "baby blue", which commonly include mood swings, frequent crying, and extreme highs and lows. These symptoms often fade quickly and return just as quickly. PPD is not a form of weakness or a character flaw. It is simply a side effect to giving birth.

When I was diagnosed with PPD, I was seen at 6pm at night during evening hours at my clinic. I began my medication immediately and I took the medication once a day, everyday for about 3 months. Then I made a classic mistake, I stopped taking my medication because I felt better. At around three months in I was half way to mid-tour leave, I was playing softball again and I was getting out of the house and spending time with people. I told myself that I didn't need to be on the medicine anymore and I quit taking it. I was feeling better than I have since I found out I was pregnant! I was cured!

My husband was on his way back to the United States for a month and I was on cloud nine! He was home from Dec. 20th-Jan. 16th. Then he had to go back which comes with the always hard "see you soon". All of a sudden, I was noticing the symptoms again. By then I had thrown away what was remaining of my medication and now I was back in a bad place again and I was alone. I immediately called my doctor and explain and again I was seen almost immediately. I was put back on my medication and referred to see the resident Social Worker at my clinic. She was so wonderful and understanding and she recommended that I get into counseling and talk to someone about my issues and my daily struggles.

Today, I am still taking my medication 11 months after having my daughter. I am also seeing a psychiatrist off base on a monthly basis. The biggest lesson that I have learned during my whole experience with PPD, is to talk to people. I felt like telling people I had postpartum depression would make people think badly of me and that is definitely not the case. Keeping things bottled up inside isn't healthy. I could not have made it through this entire (ALMOST!) year without my family and the wonderful friends that I have who have supported me and been there for me. Depend on those that you love, and never be ashamed. Most importantly, always keep your doctor updated and follow his advice closely. Remember, having PPD is part of being a new mom and for some of us, it hits like a freight train. PPD isn't something that goes away quickly, it sometimes can take up to a year before symptoms start to subside, and your doctor is the best person to determine what level of PPD you have what course of action should be taken. As Army Wives, we are expected to hold down the fort, and keep it together. However, it is important to for to be the healthiest that we can be for ourselves and our families so that when and if our husbands do leave us for a period of time, we are prepared(as we can be!).

Below, I posted a few links with a few references that I utilized during my husband tour. Without some of these services, I wouldn't have made the progress that I have. I am in a good, happy place but its been a long road getting here.

Resources:


  1. Mayo Clinic: Postpartum Depression
  2. Fort Bragg Army Community Service(ACS)-This is a link to the Fort Bragg ACS, but you can find the link to you ACS by Googling Army Community Service and it should pull up the closest ACS to where you are located.
  3. Military OneSource Counseling Services- The Military OneSource has a number of services to explore, refer to their website.




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