Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Days Remind Me of PPD

It has been four days and counting since my city has been shut down. I have been amused by all the feedback since then, thanks to our advances in technology. Every parent I have ever coached has had multiple remarks to make, via all the social networks about when they will ever get out again and when school ( and daycare ) will re-open.

I am reminded of the isolation we experienced in the old days when we were home with children for years and had a very limited support system and no true diagnosis for postpartum depression. The pain of awakening to yet again one more day of what to do, who to call, who to confide in and "what's wrong with me?" is a remembrance of where we all were "at" some thirty years ago. Did we all have some degree of postpartum depression? Probably. And it didn't get better for a long time. We couldn't really talk about it, certainly had no medical resources or expertise to fall back on and generally felt at fault with the way we felt. And we not only blamed ourselves and our kids and our folks and our spouses; we blamed the silent spaces that we faced when we attempted to express how hopeless it felt. WE COULDN'T TALK ABOUT HOW WE FELT!

Just a reminder that there is no need to suffer silently now. We are thankfully living now at a time where our isolation and insecurities are heard and acknowledged. There are no magic fixes but it makes a world of difference to not be thought of as just a crazy malcontent, but rather someone who had false expectations not met and some plans to get relief.

This is an appeal to all of you who have ever thought there was no where to go to voice our feelings and nothing to be done for those feelings. First, take advantage of these social networks and share. Judiciously and carefully, review the literature and explore how your situation may fit the study. See who else feels just like you do, when you risk exposing yourself. Seek the guidance of friends and professionals who talk about it, write about it and have skills to handle it. Try a support group, some individual counseling,a mother- baby fitness gym, a trial of medication. Keep an open mind. If something doesn't work, give it up for something else.

Postpartum depession is a lot like these snow days. We will be doing a better job of fixing our problem than the DOT is having fixing the problems due to the ice and snow. Be proactive. We must advocate for ourselves in this healthcare environment. And have no shame that cabin fever is just another way of experiencing the same kind of aloneness we suffer from when we are facing day after day of joyless hopelessness.