Postpartum Depression: Raising Awareness

Postpartum Depression: Raising Awareness

You Don't Need Experience To Bring Awareness
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Women’s Wellness is a useful class. It teaches women's health, from depression and physical health, to the female reproductive system. I learned a lot. Near the beginning of the semester, we had to pick a book, and later, present a project on a specific subject of a topic we were to discuss. My partner had dropped the class, but my professor was gracious enough to let me do it on my own. With Free reign, I decided on the topic of Depression, specifically Postpartum Depression (PPD). I picked it because I had seen reports of mothers having Postpartum, and in a specific case, it was mentioned that a woman’s husband did not believe in her feelings, so she ignored it until it eventually escalated into the murder of her children. That woman didn’t have a chance.

But, this is definitely not a regular case.

In my presentation, I wanted to focus on preventative measures, maybe so PPD wouldn't escalate to this degree. My goal is to make it personal for people, so they can understand that Postpartum is real and any woman is susceptible. I’ll give a little background on Postpartum Depression. It is a medical depression, that is usually misdiagnosed. It is different from the common “baby blues” and Postpartum Adjustment Disorder. Postpartum Adjustment Disorder is characterized by deep disappointment, but isn’t debilitating and usually caused by stressors like C-sections (Kleiman); the mother can still go through the motions of the day. Baby blues is even less severe, but can be confused with PPD. It causes feelings of inadequacy, crying, frustration and sadness.

Typical Postpartum symptoms include: crying, sadness, concentration, losing interest in hobbies, insomnia, no energy, change in diet, and hopelessness.

The feelings involved shouldn’t be discredited

Being an English major, there was one way, in the allotted time, I felt I could convey my message fully. I found a poem written by a woman who had experienced PPD; I cut and pasted a few stanzas and used it as a hand out.

“The Hole” by Caitlyn Blake is a representation of what women can feel due to PPD.

I ended up selecting a book on Postpartum called, “This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression (second edition),” written by Valerie Raskin, M.D and Karen Kleiman, M.S.W. It gave a lot of information as a guide for those that have been diagnosed. I used the book for most of my information. It is interactive, comforting, and even has a section for spouses. I will say that the terms wife and husband are used, but there is a disclaimer so not to deter same sex couples, which I think is pretty neat.

The ultimate message is that women do not have to hide. Postpartum Depression is normal. There are support groups, books (like the one I used), and other professional help. If you are going through this, you aren’t crazy, and you don’t have to “be strong”. One out of five women go through postpartum depression (Kleiman). It can happen to anyone.

If you haven’t experienced PPD, then I hope this article has given you some insight and motivation to raise awareness and help others. If you have, I hope you know that there are options.

You aren't alone.

Cover Image Credit: Pintrest

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A Letter To My Go-To Aunt

Happiness is having the best aunt in the world.
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I know I don't say it enough, so let me start off by saying thank you.

You'll never understand how incredibly blessed I am to have you in my life. You'll also never understand how special you are to me and how much I love you.

I can't thank you enough for countless days and nights at your house venting, and never being too busy when I need you. Thank you for the shopping days and always helping me find the best deals on the cutest clothes. For all the appointments I didn't want to go to by myself. Thank you for making two prom days and a graduation party days I could never forget. Thank you for being overprotective when it comes to the men in my life.

Most importantly, thank you for being my support system throughout the numerous highs and lows my life has brought me. Thank you for being honest even when it isn't what I want to hear. Thank you for always keeping my feet on the ground and keeping me sane when I feel like freaking out. Thank you for always supporting whatever dream I choose to chase that day. Thank you for being a second mom. Thank you for bringing me into your family and treating me like one of your own, for making me feel special because you do not have an obligation to spend time with me.

You've been my hero and role model from the time you came into my life. You don't know how to say no when family comes to you for help. You're understanding, kind, fun, full of life and you have the biggest heart. However, you're honest and strong and sometimes a little intimidating. No matter what will always have a special place in my heart.

There is no possible way to ever thank you for every thing you have done for me and will continue to do for me. Thank you for being you.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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I Never Thought I'd Have To Attend A Classmate's Funeral Two Weeks Before He Was Supposed To Graduate

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years.

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One of the hardest experiences of my life happened just this week, at the funeral of a boy I barely even knew. I had gone to school with him since kindergarten but hadn't had a class with him since fifth grade, and I don't think we had talked since then. All I had ever thought of doing with my classmates two weeks before graduation was complaining about finals and maybe going to a few graduation parties.

Instead, we all left school midday to head to the largest Baptist church in town. I sat in the middle of a row of pews, surrounded by two hundred or more people that I had either gone to school with my whole life or had gone to school with at some point in the past thirteen years.

There was not a single one of them that did not have tears in their eyes. We listened to the pastor share memories of our classmate that had been shared online, and some of us even got up to share our own and to thank his parents for raising such a kind and caring, young man.

He was the type of guy to invite you to go out to eat, even if he knew you had to work, just because he didn't want you to feel forgotten about. Every single person who spoke said, "There wasn't a single thing I didn't like about this kid." They spoke those words in full truth.

The senior class was named in the obituary as honorary pallbearers. We followed the eight football players and the rest of the football team and our classmate's closest friends to a hearse waiting outside. I watched as the hearse pulled away, and I believe that is when it truly hit everyone.

He was gone, and he wasn't coming back. As the hearse pulled away, all I could see on the other side were tears streaming down the faces of some of the toughest guys I know.

We called the football team the Thunder House. The phrase "Thunder House" went from something normally said with a smile or a chuckle to something said with a melancholy tone. No one cheered when it was said anymore, they only gave sad nods and tight, depressing smiles.

Teen suicide is a taboo topic where I'm from, even if we have lost two members of the community to it in the past two years. In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published an article stating that Americans in rural areas are more likely to die by suicide, also stating that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States.

The week before we lost our classmate, there was a walk at the school on a Saturday to raise awareness for teen suicide and depression. I only heard one teacher say anything about it beforehand. There were no signs around the school. There was no mention of it on the morning announcements. There was not a post on the school's website inviting members of the community to join us.

I truly believe that more could have been done that could have possibly prevented the heartache that has impacted a school, a family, and a community. Reach out to those you feel may be in need, and even those that you do not feel may be in need because you never know what someone is going through.

Articles on suicide prevention or recount stories of suicide or suicidal thoughts should end with the following message, written in regular weight font, styled in italics:

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


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