03 May 2012

Update to My thoughts on "The REAL PostPartum Depression Treatment"

Back in March, I wrote about a program I had run across that was marketed as a PostPartum Depression treatment program. The link to the post is here (My thoughts on "The REAL PostPartum Depression Treatment".) I had many concerns with the wording of the sales pitch and so, I blogged about it. The original text as it was when I wrote that post can be found here. I posted my blog and I also tweeted a link to Jackie Hall.

Fast forward to April 18. Jackie Hall left a comment on the original blog post. I was surprised that she had even read my blog, much less taken the time to respond. Her comment stated

Hi Esther

I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to you. I am the author and creator of The Postpartum Depression Recovery program which is genuinely a program that people are having massive results with.

It is a fairly new program and I ignorantly outsourced someone to write the 'sales page' for me (mistake number one). Granted, I was also the one that at the time, thought it said everything I wanted it to (mistake number two), but never in my wildest dreams did I envision it to be taken the way you have perceived it and am mortified that it reads this way.

Everything you are saying is actually the exact opposite of what this program really teaches(eg the guilt of 'wrong thinking', making mums feel like they are doing it wrong, uck, I so did not want it to come across this way)but I can totally see now (thanks to you) how this can be perceived this way.

I work with stress, depression and anxiety clients everyday in an intensive retreat where we see massive results in helping people overcome these illnesses with the same processes I teach in this program, so I know that what I teach works and know that my program works. Clearly this page needs serious work, which I am doing right now.

I sincerely want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for pointing out these critical errors and showing me so many dangerous points that I had not intended on making. It just goes to show that I should never have gotten someone else to write something that is so sensitive and I have now also learnt that the sensationalism of marketing does not have its place with this topic either.

I am currently working on a new way to express my offer of help and will let you know when it goes up. I'm still not sure you will entirely agree with everything I say, though, and that's okay. Everyone's entitled to their opinion and I'm not on here to slam your opinion or justify mine. 

I'm here to thank you for alerting me to your perceptions (and probably many other mums perceptions too) and help me speak to mums in a way that helps them to see that it's not there fault, they aren't to blame, they aren't doing anything wrong and that there is genuine, honest help online (alongside their healthcare professionals of course, which funnily enough I actually always advocate - in fact it's even on my FAQ page, just not on this 'sales page', but that's going to change ;).

Thank you again for your passion and your lengthy critique of my page. You have just made a massive difference to the many mums who will hopefully now get the help that will make changes to their lives or at least see that they are NOT to blame. You have also helped me to grow and learn, something that I'm always willing to do as an imperfect mother and human being myself. 

Take care
Jackie Hall

At the time that I read the comment, I was at first elated and then cautiously optimistic; I decided to wait to see if any changes were made (and if so, what they were) before blogging again. This week, I went and looked at her page again and she has indeed changed her page. I am a big fan of giving credit where credit is due, especially when I've given out criticism, and I want to give Jackie credit for responding graciously, being open to what I said, and then following through and actually making the changes she said she would.

There are still some things that concern me a little, that I disagree with somewhat, but it's nowhere near what it was before. I'd like to point out the changes that grabbed me the most.

Warning: What you will read here will NOT be about promotional hype or sensational statements made just to get you to ‘buy something’. This program has been created with honesty and integrity to genuinely help those suffering from Postpartum Depression so I will not enter into promising you the world and giving you nothing. That’s not what I’m here for!

I like that she makes it plain at the beginning that her intention is not to con people into something or use PPD as a marketing tool/hype.

Fundamentally, what this progam is about, is educating you with the tools you need to stop your own stress, depression and anxiety in motherhood and in life.
Notice that I said EDUCATE YOU, not fix you, heal you or cure you. I am not promising miraculous or super quick recoveries, because they simply don’t exist. It took time for you to get to this point, so it’s going to take time and support to help you through to the otherside of your depression.

I like that she makes the distinction between education being the focus instead of fixing/healing/curing and that she's not promising a fast cure, and that they don't exist, I like that she says it's going to take time.

Why you are not to blame for your Postpartum Depression
I’m sure you’ve probably heard the term “Thoughts create feelings”, or if you haven’t, you’re about to.
It is common for people to say that your thinking is what causes your depression and this can often leave you feeling guilty, stupid and doing it all ‘wrong’……again.
I want to help you to understand this more clearly.
Our thoughts actually do create feelings. These feelings then lead to subsequently creating physical responses in our bodies. This is the reality of how the brain functions.
Think about a spider for example. Seeing one (or having one land on your shoulder) may cause fear, which causes the hormone of adrenaline to be produced. It wasn’t the spider that caused this, it was what you were thinking and believing about the spider that caused the physical reaction in the body (ie adrenaline production) because if it were the spider than that would mean that everyone who experienced a spider would have this same reaction, yet we know that isn’t always the case.
Apply that same analogy to depression and I can show you that it works exactly the same. How you are perceiving life has a common thread that lies behind all depression, causing the physical imbalance in the brain and this perception of life was first present BEFORE the chemical imbalance occurred.
In my postpartum depression recovery program I teach you how to change this thinking.
However…… I don’t want you to think for a second that I am blaming you for how you think, or telling you that you are doing something ‘wrong’. Because that could not be further from the truth.
First of all, there is no right or wrong thinking. There’s just thinking that produces reactions in the body that we know of as ‘good feelings’ and there is thinking that produces ‘painful feelings’. I want to EDUCATE YOU on how to apply the thinking that will change how you feel about motherhood and about life and I see this working in action with clients everyday.

I LOVE that she has changed the page to clearly state that women are not to blame for their PPD.

But what about traditional medical treatment?
If you are suffering from postpartum depression and are already on medication and treatment plans, I want you to stay with those programs and use what I teach alongside those treatment plans. They will not conflict with this program (In fact I’ve never seen this information conflict with any other methodology or practice, because it’s all factual, reality based information that fits in with ALL belief systems).
If you find that you are having transforming results on this program and wish to alter your traditional treatment plan, then this can then be discussed with your current healthcare professional.
If you haven’t been diagnosed with postpartum depression but are still feeling all the symptoms of postpartum depression, then not only do I suggest using this program, but also aligning it with traditional treatment.
I can’t see the severity of your depression from this side of the computer, nor am I a doctor, so it’s possible that you may need medical treatment. In some cases, postpartum depression sufferers need medication in order to get to a level where they can receive the information I’m offering and have the strength to start applying this information and challenging the thinking behind those ‘painful feelings’.
If you are feeling suicidal, then I suggest you get off this computer immediately and seek help through your nearest suicide hotline, tell someone around you so they can help, or take yourself to a hospital. I want you to get help immediately.

I think this is the part that I love the most. One of the biggest complaints I had before was the lack of reference to medical care. I love that she says to keep up with any current treatment and discuss changes with a doctor first, I love that she says... well, all of what she says.

There are still things that concern me about her text, mostly just things that she didn't change from before, as well as the fact that she now says 

Chemical Imbalances are not the fundamental cause of Postpartum Depression
I know that the above statement may be challenging for you to hear, because this is what the medical industry primarily focus on.
And just to be clear, you will never hear me debate the chemical imbalance in the brain occuring in depression, because this is a scientific fact, however, have you ever wondered how that chemical imbalance suddenly occurred?
Why does someone just ‘get’ depression or why do some people experience it for long periods of time, and some for most of their life? Is it really that their brain is just ‘malfunctioning’ or because you’ve just had a baby? Or is there something else underlying it?
As a life coach with the ADAA, we have found that before the physical symptoms of depression occurred (ie the imbalance) there was first a mental similarity that occurs for ALL sufferers of depression. This common thread has been in EVERY SINGLE client that I have ever worked with and my program will teach you to identify this common thread in your own self and identify how it has spiralled into you now experiencing depression. Furthermore I will also show you how to change this mental aspect so that your body has a chance at regaining its natural equilibrium.

First of all, there are most certainly cases where PPD is ABSOLUTELY the result of a chemical imbalance. For example, mine was caused by hypothyroidism which was caused by my pregnancy. How I thought and felt had absolutely nothing to do with it. When my hypothyroidism was finally officially diagnosed, my TSH was more than two times the highest allowable number for "within normal limits" and my T-4 was literally almost non-existent. T-4 should be between .3 and .5 and mine was .02. Secondly, I'd like to see studies from reputable sources stating that the chemical imbalance is caused by thought processes.

Overall, the tone of the sales pitch is much improved. It reads less like a sensationalized piece of fiction and more like someone actually wrote it personally. There's a huge improvement in the tone of saying specifically "This is not your fault, you did not cause this" as well as the significant addition of the section about working with medical professionals. 

However, there is still an underlying vibe of "Well, it's all about how you think" and that concerns me. There are still statements that I addressed last time such as 
"An UNDERSTANDING of why you got PPD in the first place (in fact it will make perfect sense to you after completing the first week’s lesson!)"
Actually, for those of us who are dealing with a thyroid issue that is the root cause, no. You and your program can not give us an understanding of that. There are other things I still don't like and don't agree with but they're things that I already addressed so I'm not going to repeat myself.

Overall, there is great improvement. Of course I still don't recommend any program like this unless a trained and licensed medical professional recommends it first. But, I'm glad to see the changes that were implemented and I commend Jackie greatly for being open to what I had to say. I wish more people who speak about how to "fix" PPD would listen to those who say "Hey no, this is how you're coming across" and be willing to change what they're saying.

One of the biggest lessons I think we can all take away from this is that we are not powerless against stigma and misinformation. Speaking up about our experiences can be difficult, scary, terrifying, and painful, but it has the power to spark change. When you see something that isn't right, don't sit there and say "Wow, I wish someone would say something", be the person who says it. All the activists who speak and talk about their conditions, whether it be a PostPartum Mood Disorder, PTSD, or any other issue, they are all people who are helping to make the world a better and safer place. Everyone who tweets or comments on Facebook or a blog is helping. Take pleasure in the victories and know that YOU (yes, you) are making a difference for someone, whether it's in helping get legislation passed or in giving another friend someone they know they can talk to. Keep speaking up. You are brave and strong, know that.



  1. First of all, the both of you are wonderful people.
    I love the respect that you show to each other.
    I tip my hat off to Jackie Hall, I love the way she handled the criticism, and the response she gave you. It takes a great person to do that.
    I still think, that she should not stick to saying that a way of thinking causes depression.
    I really get what she's trying to say, but it's just not that simple. During my first two times of ppd I was constantly focused on my way of thinking. That's what I learned in church. It actually made things worse. It was not until I was diagnosed and received medication, that things got better. Now I work in therapy on improving my thinking but this time it works.
    I believe depression causes "wrong thinking", I n my case it clearly did. And there is definitely a way of thinking that can add to the problem, but it is not the cause.
    Sorry for my horribly long comment! :)

    1. I absolutely agree. Like I said, there are still things that I don't like, things that concern me, but most of them are things that I had already addressed that just didn't get changed so I didn't see the point in rehashing old ground. You put it very well and very succinctly. My guess would be that she can't really change that without changing or tossing the entire program.