I am lucky. I battled depression BEFORE I got pregnant. I usually fit in the “situational depression” box as so much of my sadness/overwhelmedness could be directly connected to situations I was in: caregivers depression, the PTSD of infertility treatments… When I got pregnant I decided to stop taking my antidepressants during my first trimester. Just in case.
That wasn’t so very easy for me.
I soldiered through (and really regret that I did as it ended up being a lot of mental dog paddling) and when I landed in my 2nd trimester I began researching what I should say to my OB. Because I thought I needed to make a case or something. I couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I wrote about the visit but this is the best part:
I brought up my questions about antidepressants and she told me that I could start now, when I check in at the hospital or they could give me an RX for after the birth. She was very pro mental health and had no qualms with my wanting to breastfeed. I am to call her if I feel like I need the rx to begin sooner rather than later. And so far I think I am ok. Just hearing that it was no big deal was a load off. (we didn’t discuss specific drugs at this time)
I called a week later to ask for help.
One of the reasons that I was ok about asking was because of the women that had shared about their experiences with post partum depression. As I read all that the internet had to offer with post after post of birth stories I started to pay attention when depression was mentioned. It was more than the brave sharing of feelings, it was the outpouring of love and care rushed into the comment section. It was powerful. It was healing. It allowed me to be ok in advance.
Having a support system online is invaluable. But not everyone is able to be online, and not everyone reads blogs or message boards. How does the woman in the waiting room know that she can have help with her depression?
This is where my friend Katherine Stone comes in. Many of you know Katherine as a fierce warrior of all women, but she is especially fierce when it comes to helping and educating women and their families about post partum depression or anxiety (PPD or PPA).
What she does is beyond the internet – she does true outreach. She strives to get information into waiting rooms. Her goal for 2013 is to be able to pay for the creation, printing and distribution of printed materials to OB offices that are based off of the materials she has already created online at PostpartumProgress.com – and she needs our help.