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The Many Faces of Postpartum Depression: The Medicine Mom

Ever since I was a little girl I knew I wanted to become a mother. And, after my first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 10 weeks, I was completely devastated. But, I knew I had to try again and I was later blessed with the birth of two beautiful, healthy girls now five and two-years-old.

It was when my second daughter, Lainey, turned two-weeks-old that my world as I knew it came to a screeching halt. My darling baby girl turned from a sweet, content infant into a fussy, inconsolable one and I was floored. I didn't know what to do. Come to find out, Lainey had colic and the next ten weeks was utter hell. Day after day of continuous cry fests left me feeling inept, inadequate, and isolated. In my head, I had failed as a mother, a wife, and a friend to those I loved. Little did I know, the worst was yet to come. Eventually I lost all feelings of happiness and joy and all I wanted to do was to curl up into a ball and die. That was when I knew I needed professional help.

My diagnosis was postpartum depression (PPD), a condition that affects approximately 15 percent of new mothers. Unfortunately, not all moms suffering from PPD seek medical attention and this is a shame since it is a very treatable condition. Since I came from a medical background, I had the advantage of hearing first hand, stories of other moms who went through the same thing I was going through. Some I saw from the beginning, when they were first starting their medication and receiving therapy, to the end when they were themselves again. The difference was night and day. I was not embarrassed to get a prescription filled for an antidepressant since I knew how common depression actually was. I believe that these drugs, when prescribed appropriately, can help save lives. And, no social class is immune to the effects of PPD. From professionals to blue collar workers to the unemployed-everyone is fair game. Seeing others recover from PPD helped provide hope that I too, had a chance at recovery-a chance to experience life as I knew it once again.

The road to happiness was not easy but I did make some discoveries along the way. I learned the importance of laughter--and I'm talking good, hearty, from the belly kind. It was humor that helped me find my way out of the dark. When you can laugh at the ridiculousness of your horrid situation, it makes you feel better.

I also discovered the therapeutic effects of writing. Jotting all of my complaints and concerns down on paper helped me heal and led to the birth of my first book,
"The Colic Chronicles: A Mother's Survival Guide to Calming Your Baby While Keeping Your Cool (Da Capo Lifelong)." This book was designed to provide encouragement, companionship, and helpful hints to fellow mothers of fussy and colicky infants.

Hopefully you will never have to suffer from the effects of PPD. But, if you or someone you know happens to show any symptoms of this condition, make sure to seek help right away, before it's too late.

Symptoms of PPD:
-Thoughts of Suicide
-Mood Swings
-Excessive Crying
-Feelings of Guilt
-Sleep Disturbances
-Lack of Energy

*For more information on PPD and related conditions, I recommend visiting Dr. Shoshana Bennett's website (author of Postpartum Depression for Dummies) at DrShosh.com.

The author is a doctor of pharmacy and mother of two amazing little girls. Her book, The Colic Chronicles (Da Capo Lifelong) is scheduled for release in Summer 2008. You can check out her website at themedicinemom.com or e-mail her directly at drk@themedicinemom.com. She encourages reader questions and feedback!

Categories: Pregnancy,

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