The Benefits of Postpartum Depression

Yes, you read that title right.

I have long been an advocate for postpartum depression awareness, understanding, and education. I’ve helped hundreds of mothers and families heal through warmline support, support groups, education, and therapy. I’ve written articles about postpartum depression treatment, about the spectrum of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, about postpartum OCD, the stigma of postpartum psychosis, and produced an internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples (now free online, click here). I’ve even shared my own experiences with postpartum depression and anxiety, including my biggest struggles and what I believe others most need to know.

But today, I want to take a different approach to this topic that’s so near and dear to my heart. Today, I wish to focus on the benefits of PPD.

 

After baby #3, happy in the hospital. PPD & anxiety set in just days later.

 

PPD is HARD.

If you’re in the thick of postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or psychosis, you’re probably thinking I’ve lost my mind. How could there be benefits to this thing that intrudes into your life in the very moment you most want to be at your best, that attacks your identity, sense of self-worth, and the ability to connect and bond with your baby, partner, and family?

If you’re mid-way through the healing process, you might feel some of these benefits, or you might not—yet.

If you’ve made it safely to the other side of PPD, you’ve hopefully experienced some of these benefits and understand first hand what I’m talking about, but again, maybe not. Each of us is different, and our experiences are unique.

Wherever you are in your PPD experience, one thing is abundantly clear: just because I’m writing about the benefits of postpartum depression in no way takes away from the pain, suffering, and heartache of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. It in no way takes away from how hard it is to finally find a way to overcome these disorders, to find the right treatment, and to do the work required to heal. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are absolutely among the most difficult of life’s challenges.

Loving my baby girl, but exhausted. This is reality.

 

The PPD Paradox

The paradox is that while postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and psychosis are gut-wrenching experiences for the whole family, they are also some of the most fertile soil for personal growth—if we “plant ourselves and grow.” (As I write in This is How We Grow.)

Yes, PPD is hard. AND, it also yields fruit, gifts for our growth and development. As a psychologist working with postpartum women and a 4-time PPD survivor, I’ve seen it over and again. Just like the “gifts” of grief and loss and heartache and other life challenges, of which I have also personally experienced many, if we look for and see them, the benefits of postpartum depression are plentiful.

 

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

Top 10 Benefits of Postpartum Depression

So, what are they–these gifts? The following is my top 10 list of benefits of postpartum depression. You might have some of your own to add to my list. I hope you do. If nothing else, I hope this gets your mind focused on the belief that perhaps I’m right. Just maybe, postpartum depression can end up bringing benefits that somehow make it all worthwhile.

1) Understanding. Not only do we understand postpartum depression, or anxiety, or whatever it is we’ve gone through after childbirth; we understand similar experiences better, too. Experiences like death and loss and heartache and illness and pain and general life distress become more real and relatable after going through PPD.

2) Compassion and Empathy. This understanding brings greater compassion and empathy, which I’ve long believed to be one of the greatest benefits of going through PPD or any major life challenge. We simply “get it,” because we’ve been through it. That makes us more likely to know how to be there for others, as well, in ways we otherwise couldn’t have done.

3) Humility. When you’ve hit your lowest point, there’s no other way but humility. Humility in admitting something’s wrong. Humility in seeking help. Humility in letting help in. Humility is, ironically, one of the most powerful traits we can develop. It means we are teachable. It means we’re willing to see what needs to change and change it. It means we’re letting go of the ego and achieving personal growth.

4) Character. We’ve all heard how life challenges build character; sometimes we might roll our eyes hearing this, especially while in the midst of those life challenges. But it’s true. We develop newfound strength, fortitude, skills, and abilities through overcoming PPD. This has the potential to make us into someone even greater than before.

5) Self-confidence. Watching ourselves overcome PPD shows us we can do it, and if we can do this, we can do anything. We have the ability to do hard things. PPD can show us just what we’re made of, which in turn can lead us to overcome other life challenges, too. As we strengthen our self-confidence, we’re more likely to speak up when we need something, to ask for help before we get to a breaking point, and to talk to others about PMADs so we can help them do the same. (Watch “How to Speak Up, Ask For, & Receive What You Need,” or listen on Motherhood Radio/TV.)

 

6) Self-worth. Self-confidence is just one aspect of self worth, which is often crushed by perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Feeling embarrassed, guilty, self-hateful and worthless are part of these heart-wrenching disorders. I’ve found I almost always need to work on rebuilding self-worth my postpartum clients. However, doing the work of postpartum healing can lead to a deeper sense of self-worth, which can fuel your confidence, belief in, and even love for yourself moving forward. Such an important gift!

7) Charity. When we understand something like postpartum depression and have that newfound compassion, and empathy for others, along with a stronger self-confidence, character and self-worth, we often desire to give back. So many of the best PPD support persons, organizations, treatment providers, and advocates are PPD survivors. We’ve been there. We get it. We want to help others. This help is invaluable, showing others they’re truly not alone and modeling for others that healing is not only possible but we can flourish after PPD, too. (Watch “When the Bough Breaks: The Reality of PPD,” or listen on Motherhood Radio, here.)

 

8) Appreciation and gratitude. Those who have suffered greatly often find a new appreciation, awareness, and gratitude for life. We recognize the good and work to never take for granted when things go well. We feel grateful for ours and our family’s health and wellness, because we know how easily it can be taken away. We express that gratitude more, knowing how important gratitude is to our own, and others,’ healing and happiness. Yes, appreciation and gratitude are keys to flourishing.

8) Joy, hope, and love. Starting off with so many challenges may seem antithetical to hope, joy, and love, but in truth, it is an opportunity for greater abundance of these things. Being without hope or unable to feel joy or love shows us just how valuable these gifts are and just how badly we desire them. Working on feeling these things again can lead us to never take them for granted once they are replenished, and can lead to a greater ability to share these powerful experiences with our family, friends, and others, creating a cycle of joy, hope and love that repeats.

10) Deeper sense of who you truly are. All of these things help us see and feel and experience our true potential. We’ve overcome PPD. We’ve become more of who we’re meant to be, and now, we can use these experiences to flourish! Postpartum depression just might be the thing that leads us to become our best self; it certainly has been for me. PPD has fueled my work and compassion and service and love–for my family and for all others. As we receive all these gifts, these benefits of PPD, we just might find that without PPD we wouldn’t be who, and where, we are today. I know I certainly wouldn’t be.

This is us, Christmas Day, 2016. Hard to believe how far we’ve come–and how far I’ve come, because of the gifts of PPD.

 

What benefits of PPD have you discovered? Do you agree that PPD, as with all other major life experiences, offers gifts? I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings, so leave a comment, below!

 

 

 

 

 

Join the FREE “Birth Healing Summit” and listen to my interview, “The Benefits of PPD,”

along with a dozen other remarkable expert interviews on healing after baby–body, mind, and spirit.

Ends soon, so click here to join today!

Watch or listen to my interview on “Motherhood” Radio/TV with Lynn Schulte, creator of the Birth Healing Summit, here, or below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be part of my NEW book, “Mastery of Motherhood” by inviting me to come to you!

In preparation for my newest book, I am heading on tour and taking my “Motherhood” radio/TV show with me!

I’m looking for women’s and/or mom’s groups, conferences, gatherings, clubs–you name it–to invite me to speak, now through Jan 2018. In return, I ask that your group members talk with me about “Mastery of Motherhood”–about the stresses and successes of “being mom,” and what you most need from a Motherhood book, and that you record a radio episode with me, too! Everyone learns. Everyone has a great time. Everyone wins!

Learn more here, or click the icon above!

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

Tune in to “Motherhood” Radio & TV!

New episodes weekly!

 

 

 

 

 

Register, just below, for INSTANT ACCESS to my FREE, 4-part series on “Essential Oils for Emotional Health, Hormones, Family Sleep, & Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood!” And subscribe to my “Motherhood Essentials” newsletter for tips, recipes, and how-to’s on using essential oils for your family’s health and wellness!

 

 

 

Learn more about how you can be part of my NEW “Motherhood Essentials” Leadership Team and work directly with me! Join us as I mentor and teach you how to promote family health, happiness, and wellness through the incredible benefits of essential oils. For more details, click below!

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for access.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 
  Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Mommy Fails & Mother’s Day: 3 Things Every Mom Needs to Hear

Meditation for Mental Health, Personal & Spiritual Growth: The Spirit Meditation

Essential Oils 101: My Favorite Wellness Benefits for Moms, Kids, & Families

Motherhood Essentials: Empowerment for Family Health, Wellness & Finances

How to Sleep Better (part 2 of BONUS chapter)

Exercise for Mental Health: How to Get (& Stay Motivated)

Exercise as a Family to Build Stronger Relationship, Mental & Physical Health

50 Fun Ways to Exercise as a Family

Who Am I – in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood? Identity, Full Circle (#PSIBlog Hop 2016)

"Who Am I" in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood?- Identity, Full Circle. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016 #ppd #pregnancy #postpartum #motherhood #identity

“Who am I, now that you are here?” It’s the title of a song I wrote about my experience with postpartum depression, after my first son was born. For me, PPD was about so much more than feeling sad or anxious or depressed. It was about who I thought I’d been, who I was now, and who I would become.

Identity is at the core of becoming a mother. It’s an essential part of this experience, from pre-conception until the end, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s that our identity—as individuals, women, and mothers—will ever evolve through our mothering journey.

 

 

Pre-Motherhood Identity
Ever since I can remember, I wanted to be a mother. I envisioned my little "Who Am I?" Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood #PSIBlog Hop 2016; www.DrchristinaHibbert.comfamily (“definitely not six kids,” I’d told my mom. Having been the oldest of 6 , I would never be up for that kind of responsibility. Never say never.). I believed I knew myself well, and I could see the kind of mother I would be. I would play with my children, making memories with smiles, showing them the world, staying home full-time and loving it. They would be my life, I would be theirs, and life would be good. How little I understood of what lay ahead–of how this vision would be tested, of how I would be tested, pushed, pulled and often shoved–pruned, uprooted, and planted again, and again.

 

Before that tiny being is laid in our arms, do we have any idea of what will be?

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Loving my baby, but exhausted. This is reality.

Can we comprehend how much love will flood our heart? Do we sense the tiniest hint of the pain and struggle we will endure—physically, yes, but emotionally, even more so? Are we in any way prepared for the journey for which we are unknowingly enlisting–a journey of self-doubt, self-discovery, and self-transformation like no other?

 

 

Pregnancy Identity

The joy and misery of pregnancy hint at what’s coming, but we don’t realize it, do we? All I knew was my body was changing, my sense of attractiveness lost; I had to pee far too often and slept propped on 5 strategically-placed pillows to avoid acid reflux.

With my first and second pregnancies, I had pains no doctor could explain.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

When my first was born, I think I was in shock. You can see a glimpse of it by my mouth as I listen to him cry.

They’d wipe me out for days. Two years later, they could finally tell me what it was–gallstones–and I finally found relief through surgery.

Near the end of my first pregnancy, I couldn’t wait for the baby to finally be out! All we can think of is how uncomfortable, exhausted, and “done” we are. Little do we know what’s just around the bend. A breach delivery should have tipped me off. He came out bottom first, and as I say, “He’s been giving me trouble ever since”—haha! But the trouble was just beginning. And so was the growth.

A growing body and soon-to-be growing family hopefully grow our mind and spirit, too. Pregnancy is the true beginning, the reality, the point of no return when we start to question who we once were, who we are becoming, and who we will be. As our baby grows inside, we hopefully grow internally, too, allowing questions as they naturally arise: “What will this baby be like?” “What will our family be like?” “What will I be like as a mother?” We hope for the best and expect it–at least, the first time. Perhaps in later pregnancies, we still hope for the best, yet we know all too well the challenges we may face once our little one is finally here.

 

 

Postpartum Identity

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood: Full Circle #PSIBlog Hop 2016 www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

With baby #2, I thought I was better, and I was. But I still ended up with postpartum depression. (My 2 year old is being a dinosaur here.)

I had four very different childbirth experiences; you’d think they’d yield four very different postpartum experiences. No such luck: postpartum depression every time.

Identity in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016

Beautiful baby girl was so loved! I only wish the depression and anxiety could have stayed away.

The first time, I penned the words, “Who am I now that you are here?” and put them to music. I’d purposefully dream of my beautiful boy at night, like I used to when I was dating my husband. But I no longer felt like a “me;” instead, I was a perpetual “we.” He was colicky, and I was not sleeping. We moved in with my parents and lived for 3 months on their living room floor because I had no clue what else to do. The first time I left to the store for a pacifier, alone, I felt like I’d broken out of jail.

With my second beautiful boy, I convinced myself I was better. I knew what postpartum depression was. I had my plan and support team. I was ready. My journals betray me, however, with the words “I want to run away. Not forever. Just for a while, so I can feel like me again.”

With the third–a beautiful baby girl–postpartum anxiety was thrown in the mix, just for kicks. And the fourth? That’s a long story. I wrote an entire book about it, but the Cliff Notes version is that after inheriting our two nephews

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

Just weeks after our family went from three to six kids, I posed us for a Christmas card pic. Can you see the fear in my eyes as I pulled myself together to be the mom everyone needed me to be?

when my sister and brother-in law died, giving birth three weeks later, and going from three to six kids, needless to say, this postpartum experience was so much more than depression or anxiety. It was grief and trauma and desperation to help my family heal–to be strong enough to bear it all and to do it well. This postpartum experience was giving it all I had so I could be there for my children ages 11, 10, 8, 6, 4, and 0, even though my world and identity had been ripped to shreds. I was re-building my family, but really, I was re-building myself. “I’ll never fulfill my dream of being an author or speaker. How could I? I have six children! I am not made to handle this like other mothers are.” The things I told myself! Talk about self-doubt; at times, it was more like self-loathing—a sure sign of depression, once more.

Our postpartum experiences are so varied between us, and they also vary within

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

On vacation, in the midst of PPD, after baby #3. I do love this pic, because I felt happy for a little while.

us. Though the common denominator–a periantal mood or anxiety disorder–is there, the manifestation of that denominator is never exactly the same. As we struggle and overcome and heal and move forward, we change. We grow. We become. And we find it’s the challenges we’ve faced—like PPD—that have made us who we are becoming.

 

 

Mom of Young Children, Teens, Young Adults Identity

Currently, I’m in the midst of all three of these mothering phases. With two in

After visiting my sisters' & other family members' gravesites, at the funeral of OJ's grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

After visiting my sisters’ & other family members’ gravesites, at the funeral of OJ’s grandfather, we tried to stay enthusiastic about life even in the midst of so much death.

college, two in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary, I feel like I’m just trying to keep up most of the time. The busyness, the activities, the emotional needs, the school projects! So much to do, so little time, and still, so many opportunities for personal growth.

I have faced non-postpartum depression and anxiety. I have overcome new traumas, losses, and grief. I have experienced so many trials and lows, and yet I have experienced so many joys, and so much love. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The very things that break us down ends up being the stimulus for unfathomable new growth.

As our little ones become not-so-little anymore, our identity changes again, especially as they begin to form their own identities as teenagers and young adults. It’s a new version of postpartum–watching them individuate and leave the nest, and it can pull at our heartstrings, especially when we see them flail or fail. It’s a time of wondering, “Who am I as a mother now—especially if they don’t seem to need me like they once did?”

Questioning brings answers, however, and if we are brave enough to face those answers, we will find our role as a mother isn’t so much fading as shifting once again. The opportunity for a new identity–one of the supporter, advisor, and simply lover of our children presents itself, and we begin to see ourselves evolve as our children do the same. In doing so, we just might find a new sense of freedom we haven’t had since our journey began—knowing our children are their own beings, and we are merely here to support and love them.

 

 

Mothering Identity is Ever-evolving

As mothers, our identity is ever-changing and, if we are willing to continually

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity--especially our marriage and relationships.

Later years are an opportunity to develop new parts of our identity–especially our marriage and relationships.

examine ourselves, will be every evolving in positive, joyful ways. Our postpartum journey continues as we become grandmothers, as we nurture our own daughters and sons through their pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting journeys, as we share the wisdom we wish we’d known, and provide the support we wish we’d had. The gift of these new postpartum experiences is that we get to watch our grandchildren grow without the responsibility of being the parent, without the self-doubt that too often accompanies our own parenting journeys. We get to re-experience life through young, fresh eyes, and hopefully, find the joy we might have missed the first time around simply because we were too busy trying to figure it all out to stop and notice.

 

 

Full circle Back to “Me.”

And so we’ve come full circle. As we grow through motherhood, purposefully

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

Biking along the beach in Belize, with OJ. Gorgeous!

seeking our truest self, pushing, learning, and taking our lessons in stride, we find we come back to the beginning, at the end. That’s what full circle means to me—coming back around to myself, and feeling more “me” than I ever have before.

 

 

What have your mothering identity changes been like? What’s been challenging for you? What lessons have you learned? How have you seen your experiences come “full circle?” Please leave a comment, below, and join the conversation!

 

 

  • If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • If you are looking for pregnancyor postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

 

 

2016 PSI Blog Hop: Invitation: "Full Circle" www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Join the 4th annual Postpartum Support International Blog Hop! Read the guidelines here, write your “full circle” story, and then link up, below or here. Help raise awareness, support and hope, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month!

 

 

Join me at the Postpartum Support International Annual Conference, June 2016 in San Diego, where I’ll be speaking about postpartum identity, self-esteem, and tools for healing!

More information/to register, click here.

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

“Overcome, become, & flourish” with me by subscribing!

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of “Motherhood” radio and “choose to grow through motherhood” with me!  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

 “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise“ is here!

“…Enlightening and empowering…” ~Publisher’s Weekly

Order online at Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, or Walmart.com, or visit your local bookseller today!

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
“Choose to grow” with my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Build true self-worth, confidence, and love with “Who Am I Without You.”
Available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Watch my “Postpartum Couples” DVD FREE, online!

Click here for details.

rp_IMG_7423-320x290.jpg

 

 

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

 

"Who Am I" in Pregnancy, Postpartum & Motherhood?- Identity, Full Circle. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PSIBlog Hop 2016 #ppd #pregnancy #postpartum #motherhood #identity
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

 

 

Postpartum Support International’s 2016 Blog Hop–Invitation! Theme: “Full Circle”

 

2016 PSI Blog Hop: Invitation: "Full Circle" www.DrChristinaHibbert.comPostpartum Support International’s 2016
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
Blog Hop!

2016 THEME: FULL CIRCLE

I’m honored once again to be part of Postpartum Support International’s (PSI) annual Blog Hop! This is our fourth year doing the annual blog hop, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness month (and Mother’s Day) in May.

PSI is inviting one and all to submit a post about your experiences with postpartum depression, anxiety,OCD, PTSD, psychosis, or even the Baby Blues, using this year’s theme, “Full Circle”. I love this theme, because it can help us see where we have been and how far we truly have come.

 

To join us, read the invitation from PSI, below. Then, start writing and you can begin posting by linking up here or on the PSI website May 1 and throughout the month! Be sure to follow all the guidelines, below, and if you have questions, feel free to let us know.

I look forward to reading your experiences and sharing mine this month as we celebrate motherhood, all we go through, and how it helps us grow!

 

 

May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
#MaternalMHMatters   #PSIBLOG

 


 

askher1

2016 Blog Hop Theme: FULL CIRCLE

The 2016 Theme is “Full Circle”. What does that inspire in you? Join the 2016 Maternal Mental Health Blog Hop, tell your own story about finding support and help, and help us increase awareness for perinatal mood disorders, recovery, and maternal mental health.  Please write to Dr. Christina Hibbert if you have any questions, and send your entry using the link up below. If you want to share you story but don’t have a blog, send your post to Dr. Christina Hibbert at christina@drchristinahibbert.com and we will share it for you.

 


Blog Hop Editorial Guidelines

Our PSI blog hop is meant to be inclusive and is also meant to promote emotional safety and comfort and hope for all contributors and readers. To that end, we welcome your participation but also please keep in mind some editorial guidelines meant to promote comfort and safety.

  • Name: Include your real name; we don’t promote people with online disguises. Anonymity can be arranged if you write in a pen name – Contact Christi Hibbert to discuss.
  • Length: 500 – 1000 words
  • This year’s theme: FULL CIRCLE

 

  • Potential Emotional Triggers: 

For the purpose of this blog hop and its focus on messages of support, we want you to do your best to avoid psychological triggers in your posts. Please do not write about detailed suicidal or homicidal thoughts, feelings, or plans. If you have any questions or concerns about that, please don’t hesitate to contact us atpsioffice@postpartum.net.

  • Inclusive: Editors will not tolerate any negativity directed towards individuals or groups
  • Commercial Interests: Please refrain from self-promotion of your website or sale items

Please post these notices:

  • If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • If you are looking for pregnancyor postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

 


How to Participate

  • Write your blog post and send a link or attachment topsioffice@postpartum.net. This will help us keep track of all of the posts, and contact you if we have questions or suggestions.
  • Link up your post using the Linky provided below in the blue section of this page, or on the Dr. Christina Hibbert blog.
  • Grab the PSI logo code provided at the bottom of this page.
  • Feel free to promote your blog and this blog hop on social media!

 


Social Media Links:

 

 

Use the code below to embed the PSI Blog Hop logo on your site

PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.postpartum.net/join-us/psi-blog-hop-2015-maternal-

 

 

 

 

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Order on Norton.com, AmazonBarnes & Noble, Target.com, Walmart, or at your local bookseller!

 

 

Take my FREE Webinar, “Intro to Women’s Emotions,” or register for my 3-part Webinar Course on “Women’s Emotions: Caring for your Brain, Hormones, and Mental Health to Overcome, Become & Flourish!’

Introduction to Women's Emotions- What you were never taught about your brain, hormones, & mental health! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

 

Listen to my latest episode of  “Motherhood” radio–on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

 

 

 

[1] Anxiety and Depression Association of America. (2016). Anxiety and Women: Facts. 

[2] Hibbert, C. (2016). 8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise. W.W. Norton Publishing: New York, NY.

 

“Mom Mental Health” through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum & Beyond!

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise-Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Childbearing Years Mental Health & Exercise

The years of childbearing and parenting young children can be some of the most challenging. For one, the hormonal shifts that accompany pregnancy and childbirth can throw many women into a struggle with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, like postpartum depression, and this can significantly impact her partner/spouse, children, and the entire family. Men also experience shifts in emotional functioning after a baby is born and can develop Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND).

Lack of sleep is another issue that’s common in the childbearing years, with most parents fighting off fatigue and exhaustion on a daily basis. Time is suddenly consumed with caregiving, providing for, and spending time with children and family, in addition to previous work and personal responsibilities. It’s a season of high stress and no sleep that can take its toll on a mother or father’s mental health.

 

Mom Mental Health: The Facts

To better understand the unique mental health needs of the childbearing years, let’s look at the facts:

  • Pregnancy and the first year postpartum are a particularly vulnerable time in a woman’s life. In fact, a woman is thirty times more likely to experience a psychotic episode in the days immediately following childbirth than any other time in her life. This shows just how stressful and challenging the childbearing years can be.
  • Postpartum mental health falls on a spectrum, with disorders ranging from mild to severe. On the mild end, up to 80% of women will experience some change in their emotional healthMother Holding Infant --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbisduring or after childbirth. This is most commonly referred to as “The Baby Blues,” and typically goes away without treatment. In the middle of the spectrum, we see depression and anxiety disorders. Up to 15% of women will have depression in pregnancy, and as many as one in five will experience Postpartum Depression. Approximately 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women suffer from an anxiety disorder, while 3-5% experience pregnancy/postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and 1-6% experience postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PSI, 2014). On the severe end of the spectrum, 1 in 1000 women will experience postpartum psychosis, a serious and potentially life-threatening mental illness that requires immediate treatment to protect both the mother and the baby.
  • If untreated, pregnancy/postpartum mental illness can become chronic. Maternal depression affects approximately 10% of mothers, after the postpartum period, each year. Only about half seek and receive treatment, and it is estimated that at least one in ten U.S. children has a depressed mother in any given year (Ertel at al, 2007). Maternal depression is one of the strongest predictors of future behavioral and cognitive problems in the developing child (Canadian Pediatric Society, 2004).
  • It’s estimated as many as 10% of fathers worldwide, and 14% in the U.S., experience Paternal Postnatal Depression (PPND) (Paulson, 2010), which can also become chronic if untreated. Some estimate these numbers to be even higher, considering many do not discuss their symptoms nor reach out for help.
  • About half of men who have depressed partners are also depressed. When both parents are depressed, it can have a significant impact on parenting, bonding, and the overall development and wellbeing of the baby and other children.

 

The Benefits & Challenges of Exercise in the Childbearing Years

As you can glean from the facts above, if we want healthy children, we need healthy mothers and fathers. Considering the high risk of mental illness during the childbearing years, it’s crucial for parents to be Mom Mental Health Through Exercise; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #pregnancy #postpartum #ppd #mentalhealthprepared. Receiving education, like the statistics above, is a first step, and understanding the treatment options is a second.

Psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two, are considered the go-to treatment for maternal and paternal mental illness. Psychotherapy, it’s now shown, should be considered a first-line treatment for postpartum depression (Stuart et al, 2003), which makes sense, since it can also teach skills and new coping strategies for the stressors of parenthood. Considering the drastic effects of untreated maternal depression on the child, antidepressants are often recommended for moderate to several maternal mental illness. Research has shown that antidepressants and some other psychotropic medications are considered relatively safe for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding (Chad et al., 2013). Yet, medication use in the childbearing years can be a tough choice for a pregnant/postpartum mother and her partner; they may fear the risk to the infant, and some mothers who do take medications, knowing it’s the right thing, still harbor terrible guilt about it.

 

Exercise as Treatment!

Exercise is a valuable preventative and treatment method for mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond.Mom Mental Health Through Exercise: Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

  • Research has shown exercise can significantly elevate mood in pregnant and postpartum women and should be considered a first-line treatment option, especially since so many mothers worry about the risks of antidepressants (Daly et al., 2007).
  • It’s not only safe for moms and dads; it’s safe for babies and children, too.
  • Exercise also promotes physical and mental health in pregnancy, postpartum, and parenting, and thus it’s truly a win-win.

 

Barriers to Exercise in Motherhood

Many parents do not exercise, however, and for many reasons. Becoming a parent shifts priorities from self-focus to child-focused. While this is no doubt a good thing, many parents give up their own physical and mental fitness as a result. Some feel, with such a full life, physical activity is no longer as important as it once was.

Of course, lack of sleep can also impact motivation and ability to exercise, as well as the heavy responsibilities new parents face. Finally, having a baby or young children can make it tough for many parents to find the time and space to exercise.

 

Tips for Exercise in the Childbearing Years

It is possible to maintain a regular exercise program with babies and young children at home. With six kids of my own, trust me, I know. And the good news is that developing an exercise program now will not only benefit your physical and mental health; it will benefit your children, as well. Here are a few suggestions for how to make exercise work for you:

  • Involve your child in your exercise program. Put the baby in the sling and do squats or lunges. Place him in the bouncer and do a yoga video, making faces and interacting with him while you do. Use a stroller or sling and go for a walk. Research shows that stroller, or pram, walking is an excellent way to improve mental health with your baby.
  • Exercise during naptime. Babies typically enjoy a ride in their stroller or sling while they sleep, and you can benefit by getting out in the sun and moving your body, too.
  • Create a home exercise “studio.” This can help you cut your exercise time. During naps, head to your exercise area do a home video, lift free weights, or stretch.
  • Join a gym with babysitting included. I taught aerobics for years using the free babysitting, and my kids loved it!
  • Exercise together, as a family. Put the kids in the stroller or sling and go for a family walk at the end of a busy day. Great bonding time, and you’re modeling self-care, too.
  • Trade off. Couples can take turns watching the kids while the other exercises. My husband and I used to do this: he’d watch the kids while I went for a jog or did a Pilates video, and then he’d head to the gym to play basketball, while I stayed with the kids.
  • Involve friends. Meet at the park and take turns watching the kids while the other goes for a jog, or start a babysitting co-op, where each person takes a turn watching all the children, and rotate.
  • Little kids can workout “with” you. When my kids were very young, they used to stretch and do yoga with me, or follow along with my exercise video, or they’d ride their Big Wheel up and down the street, while I ran alongside. It’s a great way to instill in kids a love of exercise, too.

 

~Exclusive, editor-deleted excerpt from my brand new book, “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise” Coming April 2016, and available for pre-order TODAY on Norton.com (COUPON: save 25% plus free shipping with code HIBBERT) on Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Watch for more sneak peak excerpts, coming soon!

 

My new book, available on Amazon.com!

My NEW book is almost here!  “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise
Pre-Order on Norton.com and SAVE 25% plus free shipping, with the code HIBBERT,
 or order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

 My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 

Join my “This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! 

 

"This is How We Grow" FREE 30-Day Personal Growth Plan! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #personalgrowth #goals

 

 

 

Listen to my episode of  “Motherhood” radio, “How to Overcome and Mom Mental Health Crisis and (Eventually) Use it for Good”.  Listen on demand/download the episode at WebTalkRadio.net, and/or visit iTunes to subscribe.

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile, here, or above, right.

 

 

 

 

 

Mom Mental Health Through Exercise-Pregnancy, Postpartum, & Beyond! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on TwitterPinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

New Year, New You! Top 6 Strategies for Personal Growth & Change

“This is How We Grow” 30-Day Personal Growth Plan–My New Year’s Gift to You!

New Year’s Goal-Setting: 5 Steps for Personal Growth Success

Becoming the Butterfly: The Power of Personal Transformation

Beyond Resolutions: Discover your New Year’s Vision

What I’ve Learned about Personal Growth from a Decade of New Year’s Themes

Get Mentally & Physically FITT: How to create an exercise program that Works!

6 Strategies for Mind-Body Wellness & Empowerment

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

Let Your Heart Desire

10 Ways I “Choose to Grow” Each Day

Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to True Happiness

Parenting Skills Top 10: #1 Do Your Own “Work” First

End of Year Family Awards Celebrates Kids’ Accomplishments!

Stress Management: 15 Proven Ways to Stress Less & Smile More

Slow Down & See: How to Appreciate the Richness of Life

Be of Good Chee

 

FREE “Postpartum Couples” Online DVD!

FREE Postpartum Couples DVD! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #postpartum #depression #anxiety #ppd #motherhood
For the first time ever, my internationally-sold DVD, Postpartum Couples, is available online for FREE!

 

I’ve seen Postpartum Couples probably a couple hundred times, and yet I still get choked up as I listen to the stories of these three couples–as they honestly share what it was like for them to go through postpartum depression (PPD), anxiety, and psychosis.

 

The men especially get me choked up as they openly express their feelings about their wives and the experience of PPD, getting emotional right off the bat as they describe the challenges and how they overcame them together.

 

Postpartum Couples was actually the first video to explore both the mothers and the father’s experience of postpartum mood/anxiety disorders. It’s also the only video to discuss the impact on the couple’s relationship.

 

I’ve used Postpartum Couples in therapy, support groups, and presentations. I’ve shown it to pregnant and postpartum women, men, and couples; to mental health providers; and to doctors, nurses, and anyone working with postpartum families–to educate, illuminate, and raise awareness of the truth of postpartum depression and the hope of treatment and healing.

 

If you or someone you know might benefit from better understanding:

1) The symptoms,

2) The treatment, and

3) The prevention of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders;

4) The mother’s experience,

5) The father’s experience,

6) and how PPD may impact a couple’s relationship…

and many other important truths about postpartum depression

then, please click on this link, or on the image above or below, for more information and for INSTANT ACCESS to my Postpartum Couples DVD! And don’t forget to share this post!

 

It is my hope that, in making this video available for free online, we can increase awareness, education, and support for families and providers dealing with perinatal mood/anxiety disorders.

 

May all pregnant and postpartum moms, dads, and families feel and know:

You truly are not alone, you are not to blame, and with help, you can (and will) be well! (PSI’s Universal Motto)

 

FREE Postpartum Couples DVD! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #postpartum #depression #anxiety #ppd #motherhood

 

For immediate postpartum support, help, or referrals in your area,

please visit Postpartum Support International.

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

Tune in to my BRAND NEW Radio Show, 

MOTHERHOOD, on WebTalkRadio.net!

Oh, and be sure to tell your friends, and your mom!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Available now at TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 “Who Am I Without You is the light at the end of the tunnel!”

“So much more than a breakup book, this is a guide to self-worth for anyone, all in a neat little 52-lesson package!”

 

 

 

 

 

FREE Postpartum Couples DVD! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #postpartum #depression #anxiety #ppd #motherhood

Don’t miss a thing! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow), and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

 

 

Related Posts/Articles:

Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6

Motherhood Radio Show! 

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop 2013)

Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–the 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum–Caroline’s Story

The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum--Caroline's Story; #pregnancy, #postpartum, #ppd, www.DrChristinaHibbert.comWomen are particularly vulnerable to depression and anxiety in pregnancy and postpartum. In fact, 15% of pregnant and up to 20% of postpartum women experience depression, while 6% of pregnant and 10% of postpartum women experience anxiety in the form of extreme worry, panic, PTSD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. And it doesn’t just affect moms. An estimated 14% of dads in the U.S. experience Paternal Postnatal Depression, too!

 

I have had my share of postpartum depression (PPD) and anxiety, and I know it’s a very hard thing to bear. I also know that I’m not alone in my experiences. Millions of other women (and men) have experienced PPD, too, and we must keep talking about it if we want others to know that they are not alone, if we want others to know help is available, and that, if they seek help and let it in, they will be well.

 

Caroline’s story is another example of the many faces of depression and anxiety. Hers is another face to add to this movement, and another voice to help raise awareness, reduce the stigma, and let all who suffer from (and overcome) depression and anxiety know: “You truly are not alone.”

 

Caroline’s Story…

“I am the face of anxiety and depression.

In November 2006, when I had my first child, a son, I had heard of Postnatal depression and was determined never to be struck by it, I was naive then, thinking I could control such a thing as PND.

‘Overall, my experience postpartum with my son was very positive. I made sure I kept busy and built up a good social network through going to mums and bubs sessions at the local library and joining the local breastfeeding support group and going to meetings. However, there were times when anxiety would kick in, I’d feel shaky and thoughts would rush through my head. I’d worry about dropping my precious baby down the stairs or stress about driving in the car with him. I thought about what I could do to help me feel calmer, I bought lavender and used the drops on tissues under my pillow and in my handbag and in an oil burner. I also started listening to guided meditations both before going to sleep and during the day"The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION"- #Pregnancy & #Postpartum Caroline and taking daily exercise – walking and swimming mainly. While these strategies helped, I really felt I needed to work with a counsellor, so I contacted the doctor (Dr Cate Howell) who narrated the mediation CD I was using and formed an ongoing therapeutic relationship with her and saw her as needed over the next three years.

‘When anxiety kicked in BIG time after the birth of my daughter in December 2009, I was so grateful that I already had a great doctor in Cate, I also knew that Cate didn’t reach for her prescription pad straight away as I had never taken medication for my anxiety before. My second episode of post-natal anxiety was much more intense than the first. I was having trouble sleeping (it’s torture when your baby and toddler are asleep and you can’t sleep!), I was pacing, felt shaky, had racing thoughts and couldn’t make simple decisions or complete simple tasks like packing a baby bag, something I had done hundreds of times before. I didn’t trust myself to be a safe driver as I was so shaky and sleep deprived so I gave my car keys to my husband.

‘I went to see Dr Cate as soon as I could and she was the most supportive doctor I could have wished for. Initially I was shocked, because I was much worse than last time. She said I would need to look at going on medication and she referred me to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist did prescribe medication and also referred me to an in-patient mother-baby clinic. This experience was very scary as even though ultimately it was part of my recovery, it took me on a “medication roller coaster,” as I was determined to keep breastfeeding so could only try “breastfeeding friendly” medications first, some of which caused awful side effects. In the end, I gave up breastfeeding to go onto a medication which I have been on for nearly 5 years, except for a one year break.’

 

Depression, Anxiety, & Medication

‘I tried going off my medication at one point, because I figured I was no longer “postnatal,” so couldn’t experience severe anxiety or depression. I was wrong! My psychiatrist knew that I had reduced my medication, but not that I’d gone off it completely. I was fine for a year without medication, then became unwell again in 2013, very shaky, racy thoughts mainly around being not good enough, like a big bully in my brain was how I described it later to my son. I knew I’d need to go on medication again and didn’t want to risk the “medication rollercoaster” of side effects while being home caring for kids, so I checked myself into a private clinic for treatment both medication and group therapy.

 

 

Health & Healing

‘This most recent episode, while upsetting and disruptive, was also amazingly healing, as I was able to recognise the signs of what was happening to me and seek treatment first as an in-patient and then go on to do some courses as an outpatient. Of particular interest and use was an ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy)/mindfulness course. It also helped me to realise that medication is an essential part of my treatment plan.

‘Even though we don’t choose all of what makes up the rich tapestries of our lives, we can embrace all of life with gratitude and love and be open to the lessons that it holds. For example, I carry a lot of grief over the fact that, because of how severe my post-natal anxiety was and the medication I’m on, I probably won’t have a third, fourth, fifth or sixth child. I feel anger and frustration that I can’t raise the big family that I wanted to.

‘At the same time, however, I realise that the family I do have is such a gift! I have a healthy 8 year boy and a 5 year old girl who light up my life each day, and I have my health and a lifelong commitment to and passion for growth and healing.”

~Caroline

 

 

Help the Movement!

Read & Share Stories from ‘The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION” series:

Overcoming the Stigma of Depression & Anxiety: “I am the FACE of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety)”–My Story

Men, Illness, & Mental Health : Pernell’s Story

Motherhood, Postpartum, & Spirituality: Jami’s Story

 

 
 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 
 

 

Postpartum Support International’s 2015

Third Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

Blog Hop!

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

2015 Theme:
You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources

Read this post for rules, and then link up!

 

 

 
 
 

Join me & my incredible guests, each week, as we “Overcome, Become, & Flourish”
on my new radio show, “Motherhood!

Listen to "Motherhood" with Dr. Christina Hibbert! Each week on WebTalkRadio.net & iTunes! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #radio

 

 

 

 

 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out my bestselling, award-winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now at Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

NEW! My latest book, “Who Am I Without You,” is available now at
 TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 

 
 

The Many FACEs of DEPRESSION (& Anxiety): Pregnancy & Postpartum--Caroline's Story; #pregnancy, #postpartum, #ppd, www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Let’s Connect! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “Like” me on Facebook Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow, & follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

 
 
 
 

Related Posts/Articles:

10 Benefits of Practicing Gratitude

Living a Life of Purpose & Meaning: The Key to true Happiness

Join my Free, Online “This Is How We Grow” Personal Growth Group!

“This is How We Grow:” Understanding the Seasons of Personal Growth

10 Ways I Choose to Grow Each Day 

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization: What Will Your Choice Be?

Parenting Success: It’s More about the Parent than the Child

Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly

Link Up! PSI Blog Hop 2015–You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups & Resources

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.comIt’s that time of year again! Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month begins on May 1, and in honor of this important month, Postpartum Support International is sponsoring it’s third annual blog hop!

I have been a member of/volunteer with Postpartum Support International (PSI) since 1999. Over the years, I’ve served as a warmline volunteer, an AZ state support coordinator, and even as the PR Chair on the PSI Board of Directors. I continue to serve as a PSI Trainer (heading to Ohio next week!) and a frequent speaker at their incredible annual conferences.

I can vouch for the amazing work this fine organization does: from their toll-free, bilingual support line, to their many resources for pregnant/postpartum moms, dads, and families, to their online webinars, to their fabulous conferences which educate medical and mental health providers, families, and support people.

That’s one thing PSI has excelled at over the years: helping thousands of mothers, fathers, and families PSI Blog Hop 2015: You are Not Alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.comrecognize they truly are not alone and connecting them with the resources they so desperately need. The past two years, I’ve been privileged to participate as a host and write articles for the 2013 and the 2014 PSI Blog Hops, and this year, I am thrilled to be part of it again!

The Blog Hop begins on Friday, May 1, and will run throughout the month of May–Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. Please review the guidelines, below, and then, write and submit your post for review, link up (below, starting May 1), and that’s it!

It’s a great way to share pregnancy/postpartum emotional health stories and resources, to provide support and encouragement, and raise awareness of Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders. I hope you’ll join us, and spread the word! (See the invitation below for details and rules.)

An Invitation to YOU!

Join us for

Postpartum Support International’s 2015

Second Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month

Blog Hop!

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

2015 Theme:
You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources

 

In May 2011 Postpartum Support International (PSI) declared May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. An increasing number of states, counties, provinces, and countries have designated May as a time to bring awareness to maternal mental health. The maternal mental health awareness month blog hop is one of the many awareness events — please write to us if you have any questions, and send your entry.

Our PSI blog hop is meant to be inclusive and is also meant to promote emotional safety and comfort and hope for all contributors and readers. To that end, we welcome your participation but also please keep in mind some editorial guidelines meant to promote comfort and safety.

 

This year we have also designated May 7 as International Maternal Mental Health Awareness Day. We want to be active on social media that day. #IMMHAD2015 #YouAreNotAlone.

 

 

Editorial Guidelines:

  • Name: Include your real name, we don’t promote people with online disguises. Anonymity can be arranged if you write in a pen name – Contact us to discuss.
  • Length: 500 – 1000 words
  • Keeping in this year’s theme: You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources

Potential Emotional Triggers:
For the purpose of this blog hop and its focus on messages of support, we want you to do your best to avoid psychological triggers in your posts. Please do not write about detailed suicidal or homicidal thoughts, feelings, or plans. If you have any questions or concerns about that, please don’t hesitate to contact us at psioffice@postpartum.net.

Inclusive: Editors will not tolerate any negativity directed towards individuals or groups

Commercial Interests: Please refrain from self-promotion of your website or sale items

 

Beginning May 1, 2015

  1. Write your blog post and send a link or attachment to psioffice@postpartum.net. This will help us keep track of all of the posts, and contact you if we have questions or suggestions.
  2. Go to the Blog Hop Host:

Dr. Christina Hibbert (link up below!)

  1.  Look for their post called: Link Up: PSI 2015 Blog Hop – You Are Not Alone: Focus on Support Groups and Resources (this post!)
  2. Link up your post to that blog post in the Linky provided at the bottom of the post.
  3. Grab the PSI logo code provided, below.
  4. Feel free to promote your blog and the blog hop on social media!
  5. Please post these notices:
    • If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
      • If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:

    Call PSI Warmline (English & Spanish) 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
    Email support@postpartum.net

 

Social Media Links:

 

 

Link Up Here!

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

"Who Am I Without You?" 52 Ways to Rebuild Self-Esteem After a Breakup; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #book #selfesteem #breakup #divorce

Available now at TargetAmazonBarnes & NobleNew Harbinger, or your local bookseller!

 “Who Am I Without You is the light at the end of the tunnel!”

“So much more than a breakup book, this is a guide to self-worth for anyone, all in a neat little 52-lesson package!”

 

 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

2015 PSI Blog Hop: You are not alone! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com
Don’t miss a thing! 

SUBSCRIBE, above, “like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow), and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

Related Posts/Articles:

Motherhood 101: 12 Realities & 12 Lessons from a Seasoned Psychologist & Mom of 6 (PSI Blog Hop 2015)

Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–the 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014)

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop 2013)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

Postpartum Psychosis + Mental Health Stigma= 40 Years in Prison: It’s time to speak up!

Postpartum Psychosis + Mental Health Stigma= 40 Years in Prison; It's time to speak up! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #ppd #MH #stigma“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.

~William Faulkner

I’ve been working as the expert evaluator on a postpartum case for over five years. Because the case is still active, and because I’m still the expert witness, I’ve had to keep silent about it all this time. But, I can keep silent no longer. Her attorneys and advocates and I all feel the same: we must speak up. Something must be done. (Though I have permission from the client to use her name, at the advice of her attorneys I refrain from doing so, because I don’t want to endanger her case in any way.)

 

2001…

This woman, at 23 years of age, was sentenced to 40 years without parole for child abuse. After evaluating her case these past years, it is clear to me she was suffering from significant postpartum mental illness at the time, including postpartum posttraumatic stress disorder (as a result of a horrific childbirth experience), postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum depression, and eventually and most prominently, postpartum psychosis.

The baby recovered from her injuries and was adopted away into another family after this woman’s parental rights were severed. She could never have children again, thanks to the emergency hysterectomy she’d endured while passed out from blood loss during childbirth, and thus, another punishment was inflicted—sentenced to a childless life.

She was never evaluated for postpartum mental illness in her initial trial. In fact, she was hardly evaluated for any mental illness at all; it certainly wasn’t mentioned at her trial, even though the judge stated that clearly she had to be mentally ill to do what she had done. Because it was considered a “child abuse” case, the stigma was strong. She was an “abuser,” and seen as a criminal. The prosecutor threw the book at her. The judges’ hands were tied. Even though he stated his vehement disagreement with the sentence, by law, he had to impose it—four back to back sentences of 10 years, or 40 years total.

 

2014…

Now, after serving thirteen years in the state prison system, and with the help of dedicated advocates, attorneys, and experts who are working pro bono, she was finally given the opportunity to seek “clemency,” or a commutation of her current ten-year sentence. Each sentence would have to receive clemency, so this was really only seeking her release for the last six years of this sentence (with two more 10-year sentences to follow for which clemency would have to be reevaluated).

Last Monday, we finally had the hearing. The room was full of attorneys, advocates, family, friends, and we were there for six hours. I was grilled on my findings, report, and expertise on postpartum mental illness (something I am very confident about). We were also all grilled on multiple small details that seemed insignificant to us, but on which they seemed stuck. I could see their ignorance about mental illness, though I did my best to educate them. I could feel the stigma speaking louder than any of us, shouting even.

In the end, judgment was swift and harsh. Clemency was denied.

 

After…

I left feeling beaten up. Exhausted. Depleted. I drove the two hours back home in silence, going over everything and praying for a way to let it go. In the back of my mind was the sense that this was one of those life-changing days, the kind of day you don’t forget. The kind of day that forces you to change.

It somehow reminded me of my sister’s death; a result of depression and alcoholism, she ultimately died by her Postpartum Psychosis + Mental Health Stigma =40 Years in Prison; It's time to speak up! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #MH #stigma #ppdown hand, an overdose of alcohol and acetaminophen. She was too drunk to know what she was doing. It reminded me of my close friend’s suicide, only five months ago, also a result mental illness—depression and intense anxiety. It reminded me of the great stigma attached to suicide and to the mental illnesses that led them there.

It made me think of my oldest son, away at college on his own for the first time, and the loss I’ve been feeling since he left. It made me think of my five other children at home, especially my daughter, who’s only slightly younger than this woman’s daughter would be now. It made me grateful for parents who raised me with safety and opportunities and education—who didn’t expose me to trauma, but sheltered me from it. It made me want to crawl into my husband’s arms the second I returned home and let him hold me. It reminded me what a blessed gift it is to have freedom and family and love.

 

And, it made my heart break. I kept picturing her, alone in her cell, feeling like this was all her fault. It made me feel guilty I could just drive back home and be with my family. She couldn’t do that. Why should I be able to? She’d been present at the hearing, via teleconference, and we could see her trying to be strong (she couldn’t see us) as the board interrogated her with question after painful question. She was definitely feeling broken at the time, and I could only imagine how broken she was feeling now.

How could this happen again? I kept asking myself. How could any one person be so misunderstood, mistreated her whole life, and flat-out discarded so many times? How does she carry on after all these blows? She’s made of stronger stuff than I; she must be. I don’t think I could survive all she’s been through.

 

It’s not that what she did wasn’t wrong. No one was saying that—least of all the woman herself. She even said she felt she deserved 40 years for a long time, like she was willing to trade her life for her baby’s survival. She had told me many times she was grateful she had been arrested. Fate had intervened and stopped the hurt and pain for her baby; even if it meant she would have to suffer in prison, at least her baby would survive.

No, it’s not that it wasn’t wrong. And it’s not even that she was trying to give an “excuse” for what she did. It’s that we were all trying to help the courts and judges and boards, and whomever is in a position to do something, to understand that there was a reason she did what she did: extreme mental illness. There is a clear, explanatory reason—posptartum psychosis.

 

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a potentially life-threatening illness affecting about 1-2 of every 1,000 births, in which a mother becomes detached from rational thinking, in which she experiences hallucinations (hearing or seeing things), delusions (false beliefs), extreme agitation, inability to concentrate, and waxing and waning episodes of feeling like “I wasn’t myself.” Like, “someone else took over,” as many women describe it. Not all mothers with postpartum psychosis harm their babies or themselves, but 11% do, making it essential these women are immediately hospitalized and put on antipsychotic medications to bring them back to reality.

Yes, this is what this woman, this friend of mine (as she has become over the years), was experiencing all those years ago. And to punish someone with, essentially, a life sentence for suffering such trauma at the hands of postpartum psychosis is a tragedy. It is appalling.

 

Today…

I get it if we fail a soul one time. There was little education and understanding back then, and clearly no one understood what was really happening at the time. One time, maybe, though even that is a tragedy and can wreck a life.

But to fail a soul time after time, despite the education and understanding now available, to have a recognized top expert in postpartum mental health standing right in front of you, explaining every detail as clearly as humanly possible and yet to dismiss that expert’s years of work and data and clinical expertise in favor of one’s own opinions; to say, “While I highly respect the good doctor, and even commend her on her excellent report and work,” to state, “I agree 40 years is a very long time,” and then to state, “but…” and recount one’s own preconceived judgments with blatant disregard for all that was said those past 6 hours, and to ultimately “deny” the clemency, is a tragedy. And it fires me up. It fires me to speak up.

 

Right now…

We must not sit idly by as injustices abound around us. We have a voice, and we must use it. Especially those who have experienced mental illness, suicide, pregnancy/postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, etc., first- or even second-hand—we must share our stories. We must advocate for those who no longer have a voice. We must love greatly.

And perhaps, some blessed day, this world will open, and understanding will be the norm, and compassion will be our language, and we will hold off judgment so we may instead exercise that great love.

This is my hope, and my prayer, and my life’s work. In honor of this dear woman whom we have failed again, may we speak up now so perhaps next time, we, she, and those like her, will succeed.

 

 

 

Has your life ever been touched by mental illness, suicide, or the stigma that covers these things? If so, I’d love to hear your experiences and insights. If not, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let’s speak up, everybody! It’s more than time. 

Please leave a comment, below.

 
 

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Award-Winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now on Amazon.com.

 
 
 

Join Dr. Hibbert's "This Is How We Grow" Personal Growth Group! FREE. Online. Growth. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

FREE. Online. Growth. What more could you ask for?

 
 
 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 

 

Postpartum Psychosis + Mental Health Stigma= 40 Years in Prison; It's time to speak up! www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #ppd #MH #stigma

Let’s Connect…

“Like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 

Related Posts/Articles:

The Facts vs. The TRUTH about Postpartum Depression (+video)

Postpartum Depression Treatment: What Everyone Should Know

Breaking the Silence about Suicide, Grief, and Family Survivors 

PPD & Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help in, the 2 most important things

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Part 1, plus video)

Understanding & Coping with Loss & Trauma

Women & Depression: 12 Facts Everyone Should Know

Women’s Mental Health: 5 Things Everyone Should Know

Parenting, Loss, & Letting Go as Children (& You) Grow

Dealing with Grief

5 Skills of Overcoming…Grief, PPD, Stress, etc.

Understanding & Overcoming Anger

FEEL: How to cope with Powerful Emotions

Women’s Emotions: Part 3, The Menstrual Cycle & Mood 

15 Proven Ways to Stress Less

12 Facts on Depression & Medication 

Parenting Skills Top Ten, #1: Do Your Own Work First

Discovering Self-Worth: Why is it so Hard to Love Ourselves?

Self-Esteem & Self-Worth

Practicing Patience: 20 Ways to Be More Patient Today

“This Is How We Grow” Blog Hop: 10 Ways I Choose to Grow Each Day

Personal Growth & Self-Actualization

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

The Facts vs. The TRUTH about Postpartum Depression (+ video)

The Facts vs. The TRUTH about Postpartum Depression; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

 

The fact is that Postpartum Depression (PPD) is real. I know, because I’ve experienced it four times, along with Postpartum Anxiety. That’s another fact: “Postpartum Depression” is often used as a catchall phrase for a whole spectrum of pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, including OCD, PTSD, and even Psychosis.

 

 

PPD: Fact vs. The Truth

As a clinical psychologist and expert on Perinatal Mental Health, I’ve definitely learned about, and seek to share, the facts on Postpartum Depression. I believe everyone should learn about PPD, because chances are either you or someone you know will experience PPD at some point (that’s another fact: as many as 1 in 5 will experience postpartum depression), and knowing the facts can make all the difference. If you want the facts about Postpartum Depression/Anxiety, the following links are a great place to start:

 

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Survival Mode

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Beyond Depression: Understanding Postpartum OCD (part 1, plus video)

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

 

However, as a mother of six who’s experienced Postpartum Depression/Anxiety four times, and as one who has worked with pregnant and postpartum women for over 16 years, I know that sometimes, the facts don’t reflect the full truth about PPD.

 

 

20 Truths about Postpartum Depression (plus bonus video!)

The truth is Postpartum Depression is a life-altering experience, and if we really want to understand this experience, we must move beyond the facts and start talking about the truth. Here are 20 truths I’ve discovered about PPD. I hope you’ll learn them, share them, and then join the truthful discussion, below.

 

 

1)   It can feel like you’re all alone, but you’re definitely not. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety often feel isolating; it feels like you’re the only one feeling this way. The truth is you’re not alone. Most women will experience some change in their emotional health following childbirth (up to 80%), and one in five will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. Because of this, PPD has been called the most common complication associated with childbirth.

 

 

2)   PPD is not your fault. There are many risk factors that make Postpartum Mood/Anxiety Disorders out of your control, not least of which include: the extreme changes in hormones (women who are sensitive to hormonal shifts are definitely at higher risk), the insanity that is sleep deprivation (women sensitive to sleep loss are at higher risk), and the coping and adjustment that naturally comes when a new baby is born. The list of risk factors is long, and bottom line: Even if you feel like it’s your “fault,” it’s not.

 

 

 Watch this “3-Minute Therapy” video from my YouTube channel on “The Truth about Postpartum Depression,” then continue reading, below. 

[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3D-i94cc8TCEw img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/-i94cc8TCEw/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=640 height=360 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false responsive=16:9 /]

 

 

3)   Postpartum Depression is not a character flaw, and it does not mean you are weak. For many women, however, it feels that way. The more we talk about and educate people on PPD, the more women will see PPD for what it is: an illness that comes, and, with help, will go, just like any other. (Read Postpartum Depression Treatment)

 

 

4)   Postpartum women are far more exhausted than you, or they, realize, and sleep plays a critical role in PPD, and its treatment. You can’t understand how exhausted you can be until after you have a baby. Postpartum depressed or anxious women often also suffer from insomnia; the baby is sleeping through the night, but she is not. Sleep is crucial to mental and emotional well-being, and helping moms treat sleep issues is a crucial part of them becoming well again. (Read: PPD Treatment–Sleep)

 

 

5)   Anxiety is often a huge part of PPD. Some say the anxiety came first; others feel their depression caused the anxiety, while others say it all feels like a jumbled mess of sadness and worry. Either way, anxiety is a common symptom of Postpartum Depression, which is one of several things that makes PPD different from a typical Major Depression. (Read Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD)

 

 

6)   Anger/irritability is common with Postpartum Depression. Frustration with all the changes that come with being a parent and/or having a newborn, anger about one’s symptoms, or irritability related to sleep loss/hormone shifts are definitely a “normal” part of PPD. (Read Understanding & Overcoming Anger: “I don’t want to be an angry person!”)

 

 

7)  Guilt is a huge component of PPD. Guilt about having the illness, guilt about not being at your best when you wish you could be, guilt about your guilt. Guilt is one of the most common topics I address in therapy with postpartum women (and have had to address with myself, too). (Therapy can be a huge help in becoming free of all the guilt.)

 

 

8)   The choice to breast or bottle-feed (or sometimes the lack of choice) often impacts PPD. Many women want to breastfeed, but struggle with it, and then feel terribly guilty switching to a bottle. Others realize, for their own health and wellness, they need to quit breastfeeding sooner than they’d wished. Too many are wrongly told they cannot breastfeed

Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

Singing & rocking my youngest, Sydney. Though I was able to breastfeed her, I introduced a bottle early on. I knew I needed it to help me survive PPD.

because they need a medication to help their depression or anxiety, and this leads to intense grief. Yes, breastfeeding (or not) is a hot topic when it comes to PPD.

 

 

9)  Grief is usually a common part of Postpartum Depression. Most people don’t understand this or send the message that you should feel “happy” because of all you’ve gained in having a baby. And you surely have gained many blessings. But you’ve also lost many things: sleep, health, maybe breastfeeding or the ideal of what you thought would be, your figure, a sense of control, all these things listed above—the list goes on. Each loss must be grieved. (Read “How do I grieve?” Grief Work & TEARS)

 

 

10)  PPD makes many women question their identity. “Who am I now?” is a common question. Many mothers feel lost, “not like myself,” or say, “I don’t know who I am anymore.” Rediscovering one’s identity after childbirth is common, and after PPD even more so.

 

 

11)  Self-Esteem/sense of self is often deeply impacted by PPD. If you feel ashamed, guilty, angry, fearful, it can certainly lead to feelings of inadequacy as a mother and as a woman. All of these things can, and often do, make women question their self-worth. I’ve become an “expert” on self-worth because I’ve worked with so many women on this important topic (and personally, too.) Therapy is a great tool to help you learn to feel your true worth. (In the meantime, read this: How to Feel Self-Worth: The Pyramid of Self-Worth)

 

 

12)  Relationship support can make or break you. Poor support or troubled relationships, especially with your husband/partner, are the number one non-biological cause of PPD. You need understanding, especially from those you love most, and when that doesn’t come, it can make postpartum depression/anxiety worse. On the flip side, PPD can be very hard on a relationship, so it’s important to seek help for both of you as needed. (Read more here: Couples & PPD)

 

 

13)  Women with PPD may seem “fine,” but often, it’s an act. Many people think, if a mom is depressed, she’ll obviously look like a mess, but that’s not the case. We want to feel fine. We try so hard to feel–and look–fine. But sometimes, though it seems we are, we’re not, not at all. (See my picture, below.)

 

 

14) Shame and embarrassment are a common part of postpartum depression and anxiety. Many women feel ashamed they aren’t “stronger” or more capable of simply “sucking it up” and “moving on.” Many feel embarrassed by their

Our family christmas photo, 2007, taken just three weeks after I gave birth and inherited my two nephews, going from 3 to 6 kids. I wrote about this in "This is How We Grow." Don't I look "fine?" Look closer. I definitely wasn't.

Our family christmas photo, 2007, taken just three weeks after I gave birth and inherited my two nephews, going from 3 to 6 kids. My hardest postpartum experience by far, yet, don’t I look “fine?” Look closer. I definitely wasn’t. (Read about it in my memoir, “This is How We Grow.”)

symptoms. Unfortunately, the sting of the stigma of mental illness can feel especially sharp when you’ve just had a baby and so desperately want to be at your best.

 

 

15) For many PPD moms, it feels like no one gets it. Others might say they understand or even try to reach out and be supportive, but for many moms it feels like no one really gets PPD. Unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to truly relate, and unless you can truly relate, it’s hard for a PPD woman to want to open up and let you in. So, please, please, if you know a new mom, ask how she is feeling and really mean it. Listen to understand. Often we just need someone to sincerely ask so we can open up and begin healing.

 

 

16) Well-meaning friends/family often say/do the wrong things. When I had postpartum depression with my first son, who was colicky, one friend told me, “I really think babies reflect the temperament and calmness of their parents. That’s why I try to always be peaceful around my baby.” After my third baby was born, when I was officially a psychologist specializing in PPD and experiencing it again myself, a new friend asked, “Is that even real?” Statements like these can make PPD feel even worse and increase a mother’s sense of isolation.

 

 

17)  Having Postpartum Depression in no way makes you a “slacker” or means you’re “lazy,” but many women feel that way. In fact, it’s often the high-achieving women with perfectionistic tendencies who fall prey to PPD. It’s one of the risk factors.

 

 

18)  Because many PPD moms are used to being able to “do it all,” and do it all well, it can be hard for many of us to accept help. We know we need it, but when it comes down to it, it’s hard to let go of the need to do it on our own.

 

 

19) Help is out there, though it can be tough finding the right help. There are more PPD resources than ever. There is fabulous online support, solid educational programs, and providers who are compassionate and knowledgeable about pregnancy and postpartum mental health. The trouble often comes in accessing that help. My best advice? Stick with it. Help is out there, and it’s worth it to find the right kind of help for you. (PSI can help: www.postpartum.net)

 

 

20) Though we may fight it, medication is a good option for many pregnant and/or postpartum women. I wrote all about it here, so if you’re considering it, check this out. I also shared my own experience with choosing to take an antidepressant in my memoir, This is How We Grow: “I’ll admit, I do not want to take it. Must I?…I realize I haven’t really been living for far too long. I’ve been coping, surviving, manage, getting by—but coping is not living. I want to engage, set goals, dream, travel again…This little pill might just be the final ticket that helps me get there.” (p. 218) Sometimes, your brain just needs a little extra support, and medication is the one thing that might make the difference. (And yes, in many cases you can still breastfeed.) (More on medication: “Antidepressant? or Not? 12 Facts on Depression & Medication)

 

 

One final, bonus truth…

21)  There is life after Postpartum Depression.  With the right help, therapist and/or a support group specifically for PPD moms, you’ll find the understanding, information, and tools you need to be well again. Trust me when I say, six kids and eighteen years later, “There is life after PPD. With help, work, and time, you will be even better than better.”

 

If you’re a Postpartum Depression or Anxiety survivor, I’d love to hear from you. Do you agree with any of my “truths?” What are some truths of your own you’d like others to know? Let’s keep this important discussion going in the comments, below!
#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Award-Winning memoir, This is How We Grow!
Available now on Amazon.com.

 
 
 

Join Dr. Hibbert's "This Is How We Grow" Personal Growth Group! FREE. Online. Growth. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

FREE. Online. Growth. What more could you ask for?

 
 
 

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

 

 
 

The Facts vs. The TRUTH about Postpartum Depression; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

Let’s Connect…

“Like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

 
 
 
 
 

Related Articles/Posts:

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

Postpartum Psychosis + Mental Health Stigma=40 Years in Prison? It’s time to speak up!

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop)

PPD & Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–The 2 Most Important Things

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Beyond Depression: Diagnosing Postpartum OCD (part 2) (& video)

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment (part 3) (& video)

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Complementary Alternative Modalities

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Psychotherapy

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Medication

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Self-Help

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time

Mom Mental Health (part 2): How to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies!)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop) 

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

How to Feel Self-Worth: “The Pyramid of Self-Worth”

Thought Management, Part 1: The Relationship between Thoughts, Feelings, the Body, & Behavior

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

Pregnancy/Postpartum Resources & Help:

Postpartum Support International Website

-Worldwide help and support for new mothers and families, including a bilingual hotline and state/country coordinators to help you find the right treatment provider or support in your area. PSI also provides educational courses on Perinatal Mood/Anxiety Disorders.

Postpartum Progress Blog

-Excellent source of education and support for mothers and families.

Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition

-Support for AZ families: Support Warmline, Brochures, & Provider/Family Education.

Postpartum Stress Center

-Education & support for Providers and Families

Postpartum Couples Website

Pregnancy & Postpartum Resources

**This article is not intended to replace proper medical/mental health care. If you think you may be suffering from Postpartum Depression or Anxiety, please contact your medical or mental health provider, or PSI, for referrals/help/support.**

PPD & Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In–The 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014)

PPD & Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In--The 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #postpartum #PSIBlog #motherhoodIt wasn’t until I first became a mother–with a beautiful baby boy I dearly loved, yet still struggling through postpartum depression–that I realized how hard it was to practice self-care and let others help me. I thought I could—and should—do it all on my own. It was my downfall, making my depression worse. I didn’t realize how much sleep deprivation messed with my emotions. I didn’t yet understand how asking for and receiving help would be one of the most important components of self-care for me. I didn’t yet know it is one of the most important components of self-care for everyone.

My fourth postpartum depression (PPD) episode was unlike the first three. So much more intense. So much more complex. My sister and brother-in-law had recently died and we had inherited our two nephews only 4 weeks to the day that our fourth baby was born. We had three kids, and then we had six.

But, I had grown over the years as a mother. I had become a clinical psychologist specializing in maternal mental health and perinatal mood disorders. I had founded The Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition to help other mothers and families. I had taught courses and given speeches and written articles on PPD and the Baby Blues, and I knew, 100%, how badly I needed to take care of myself and let help in.

Because this fourth postpartum experience was such a complex and challenging time, I immediately set up all my resources. I scheduled counseling sessions—for me and my husband, for our nephews, then 6 and 10, and for our two other sons, then 8 and 11. I let people do laundry for me, take my 4 year-old daughter for play dates, bring in meals, and even help me paint the nursery and prepare my home for my two new sons.

PSI Blog Hop 2014--#PPD & #Motherhood #MentalHealth Recovery: Self-Care & Letting Help In, The 2 Most Important Things; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #postpartum #PSIBlog

My children, first meeting their new little sister. 2007

After a few months though, when grief hit hard, I started to feel like I didn’t want to burden others. I didn’t want them to have to be around me because I felt so negative inside. I didn’t want to complain or whine or be crying all the time. And, if I’m being honest, I really felt like no one could understand what I was going through. How could they? It was so messy and raw and painful on so many levels. I felt weaker than ever before and isolated myself. I got quiet.

As I wrote, in my memoir, This is How We Grow, of that time, “I…know I haven’t invited anyone in. I take responsibility for that. I let myself seem ‘fine’ when I’m in public. I am ‘fine’ when I’m in public. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my hard times at home, or even that ‘fine’ is good enough. I wish others would notice the redness of my eyes, the dark circles around them, my sighing, the energy it takes to smile.” (p. 161)

Since my memoir came out last November, several close friends have said, after reading it, “I feel so badly, I never knew how much you were suffering.”

“I didn’t let people in,” I’ve replied. “There was no way you could have known.”

Luckily, I let my husband in. And I let my psychologist in. And I let my inner psychologist weigh in and remind me of the coping skills I’d already developed. Luckily, I at least did that much, and it was enough to get me out of the darkest days and into other help, like an antidepressant, friends, family, and writing my story.

 

We Mustn’t Get Quiet
But, one week ago yesterday, my dear friend lost her life as a result of mental illness. Her three children have been best friends with my children for ten years. She was their “second mom,” like I have been to her kids. It is an incomprehensible loss for her husband and children. It is a devastating loss for my children, for me, and for our entire community.

She had been trying to work on self-care, though I knew, like so many other mothers, it didn’t come naturally to her. She had been setting up and trying to utilize her support network. Outwardly, she had been doing those things that seemed right and good and helpful. But I can see now, despite all her efforts with self-care, she didn’t know how to do the one most important thing: let all that help in.

 

Self-Care is Crucial
How many other mothers, and children, and fathers, and families have to suffer, or even die, before we get it—that self-care isn’t about excess and dawdling and bon-bons on the couch watching soap operas. Self-care is a necessity. It’s about life, and health, and joy; it’s also about preventing despair, isolation, and death. At its core, self-care is about letting help in.

 

How can we help moms in need?
After a friend of mine heard of our tragic loss last week, she said to me, tears streaming down her face, “There have to be so many others out there who are suffering alone and won’t—or don’t know how—to let people in. What can we do?”

This question has been on my mind all week. What can we do? The following four things are, to me, the most important. If we can do these four things, we can stop the suffering, be there for each other, and keep our mothers safe, healthy, and strong so they can do what they do best—love and nurture their children.

 

1) Learn about and practice self-care. Learn to let help in. We must all learn how to take better care of ourselves. We must talk about, and teach, and encourage letting others help us, too. PSI Blog Hop 2014: PPD & Motherhood Mental Health Recovery--Self-Care & Letting Help In, The 2 Most Important Things; www.DrChristinaHibbert.com“In our darkest times it is easy to feel better off alone and isolate. Our suffering is personal, and no one shares it in the same way, so why even bother? But, I can tell you–we do need others, whether we feel like it or not…Making islands of ourselves only causes more pain.” (This Is How We Grow, p. 153)

This is especially important for pregnant and postpartum mothers, and for mothers going through stressful circumstances or dealing with mental health concerns. But it’s equally as important for all mothers and women—because we are the nurturers of families and communities. It’s also important that we educate our children and teens and young adults about self-care, that we model it for them so they may learn to see self-care as an essential part of a healthy life.

 

2) See others’ needs. It’s hard to see others’ needs if they don’t let you in, but one thing I know for sure is we must use our gut, not just our natural eyes. If you feel something’s not quite right, please say something or do something. Yes, it’s okay to ask a mother if she is struggling. Yes, it’s okay to tell her she seems sad and ask what you can do. We must ask and talk about it, for it sends the message that none of us is alone. It reminds us we have a friend, a hand held out in the dark. I often say, “I’d rather say something and be wrong than not say something and wish I would have.” (Read “3 Messages Every Mom Needs to Hear.”)

 

3) Offer support now. If you have the impression to send a text or post a quote on her Facebook page, do it. If you’re driving by and feel you should stop, please do. You might talk yourself out of it: “She’s busy.” “I don’t want to intrude.” But you’re not intruding, and even if she’s busy, she’ll at least know you care. As I write in This is How We Grow, “How do we connect? We listen. We hear. We respond. We feel. We reach out and ask, ‘How are you?’ and wait for the honest answer. Then, we reach out again. And again. We say, ‘I’m so sorry. My heart is breaking with you.’ We look past our discomfort, or we say it out loud, ‘I don’t know what to say or do. I just want to be here for you.’ We are willing to be in that space of our own discomfort or pain, because we know it’s not about us. It’s about loving the one we love…Strength and healing are in connection.” (p. 287)

 

4) Stick with her for the long haul. Pregnancy and postpartum depression/anxiety, and maternal mental illness, are not over in a week or a month. Neither are most of the great stresses of motherhood. Continue to ask how she’s doing. Check in regularly. Listen with your heart and not just your head. Keep doing it for as long as it takes to help her be well again.

 

Bottom line…

“We need connection to survive. As poet Mark Nepo writes, ‘The question to put to our daily lives, then, is this: In love, in friendship, in seeking to learn and grow, in trying to understand ourselves…When pressed by life, do I bridge or isolate? Do I reconnect the web of life and listen to its wisdom? Or do I make an island of every confusion as I try to solve its pain?'” (This is How We Grow, p. 153)

May we form a great, strong web–a net of connection and support, so when one of our sisters, friends, mothers, tribe falls, we may catch her. One voice. One hug. One love-filled, supportive, mom-to-mom moment at a time. Together, we are strong.

~Written in loving memory of Jody McDaniel.

My family, today. 2014

My family, today. 2014

 

Join the PSI Blog Hop Here

Read this post for guidelines, then link up, below.

(Note: Posts that do not follow the guidelines will be removed by the editors)

If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

If you are looking for local pregnancy or postpartum support and resources in your area, please call or email us:

Postpartum Support International Warmline (English & Spanish)

1-800-944-4PPD (4773)

support@postpartum.net

PSI Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop

 

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment, below. What have you found crucial to postpartum and maternal mental health recovery? What suggestions do you have for how we can better help moms in need? Are you willing and ready to join together and form this net of support and love?

#1 Amazon Bestseller, This Is How We Grow, by Dr. Christina Hibbert, Available now on Amazon.com! www.ThisIsHowWeGrow.com
Be sure to check out Dr. Hibbert’s Amazon Bestseller, This is How We Grow
available now on Amazon.com.

 

 

**This is How We Grow Charity Fundraiser**

All proceeds from sales of This is How We Grow during the month of May 2014 will be donated to The McDaniel Family Fund, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and in memory of my dear friend, Jody, who lost her life last week.

Read the fundraiser post here.

 

Join Dr. Hibbert's "This Is How We Grow" Personal Growth Group! FREE. Online. Growth. www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

FREE. Online. Growth. What more could you ask for?

Dr. Christina Hibbert www.DrChristinaHibbert.com

You may manage your subscription options from your profile.

PPD & Motherhood Mental Health: Self-Care & Letting Help In--The 2 Most Important Things (PSI Blog Hop 2014); www.DrChristinaHibbert.com #PPD #postpartum #PSIBlog #motherhood

Let’s Connect…

“Like” my Facebook pages (Dr. Christina HibbertThis Is How We Grow) and follow me on Twitter,Pinterest, & Instagram!

Related Articles/Posts:

Link Up! PSI Blog Hop 2104 Invitation: Maternal Mental Health Recovery & Coping

16 Things I’d Like My Postpartum Self to Know, 16 Years & 6 Kids Later (PSI Blog Hop)

Mom Mental Health (& Happiness): The Importance of Alone Time

Mom Mental Health: HOW to Get Alone Time (25+ Strategies) (& video)

The 3 Layers of Self-Care

Mother’s Day & “Mommy Fails”: 3 Messages All Moms Need to Hear

Discovering Self-Worth: Why is it So Hard to Love Ourselves?

How to Feel Self-Worth: “The Pyramid of Self-Worth” (& video)

Learning Self-Love: 5 Tricks for Treating Yourself More Kindly

“Perfect?” or “Fake?” 8 Truths about Perfectionism, & 8 Truths to Cure It

Beyond Depression: Understanding Pregnancy/Postpartum OCD (Part 1)

Beyond Depression: Postpartum OCD Treatment (Part 3) (& video)

Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Health

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Dads & Partners

Postpartum Depression Treatment: For Couples

Postpartum Depression Treatment: Sleep

Postpartum Depression & Men: The Facts on Paternal Postnatal Depression

The Baby Blues & You

Postpartum Survival Mode

Pregnancy & Postpartum Mood & Anxiety Disorders: Are Women of Advanced Maternal Age at Higher Risk?

In Praise of Fathers: 10 Research-Based Ways Dads Impact Kids for the Better

5 Reasons Self-Esteem is a Myth

Womens’ Emotions & Hormones– Series

Achieving Balance–Why You’ve Got it Wrong, & How to Get it Right

Pregnancy & Postpartum Loss, Grief, & Family Healing (Part 1)

How to Cope with and Treat Perinatal Loss & Grief (Part 2)

Moving Beyond Shame: The Ultimate Power of Support & Time (PSI Blog Hop 2013) 

SITE DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS