07 June 2012

Tag, I'm it!

Recently, a totally rad chick named Rose, tagged me on her blog. I first met Rose on a military spouse and significant other support forum (that has since gone FAR down hill and shall not be named). We've been on several of the same forums since then and are friends on Facebook. Someday I hope to meet in real life and be friends there too! Rose makes some of the awesomest tie-dye ever and she blogs at happyhippierose. HHR is where she got me. :) She "tagged" me and asked me a question, which I will now answer, and then I'll tag a few people of my own. If you answer (no pressure), add a link to it in the comments so we can all read what you have to say.

Here's what Rose said:

 Through The Tunnel.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  I saw on Fb it was your birthday, so I just had to give you a shout out.  Doing anything fun for your b-day?  For the average person, what’s the most important thing we should know about PPD and those going through it?  Like the top bit of advice you’d suggest for being supportive or the top bits of info to know for the sake of having awareness awareness, can you give us a surface level little bit, and “intro” to PPD if you will.

First of all, thanks so much for the Birthday wishes and shout-out!!! I <3 my Rosie!!! Um... fun for my birthday... my birthday was... interesting. We're in the middle of moving from one house to another and I HATE moving and this move has just sucked. Monday was definitely no exception to that. However, since we FINALLY got our tax refund in (3 months after our return was accepted by the IRS, who let us slip through the cracks and lollygagged their tushies off in rectifying the issue), we had ordered a new washer and dryer. Our washer was broken by the movers when we came from Texas to California and the moving company refused to pay for it so we were without a working washer at home for a few months. Anyways, our new set was delivered on Monday AND we finally got internet installed at the new house!!! YAY!!! Those were awesome birthday gifts. Then that evening we had a couple of friends over for cake and ice cream. That was nice. :) And this Saturday is the Army Ball, I'm considering it my own huge Birthday Bash. :D

Now, on to PPD. It's hard to say what the most important thing to know is. PPD is a lot more common than people realize. In a blog post titled "How many women get PostPartum Depression? The statistics on PPD" Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress estimates that at least 1.3 MILLION women suffer from PostPartum Mood Disorders every year. Sadly, due to the stigma our society still has surrounding mental health in general and PPD in particular, far too many women suffer in silence out of fear, guilt, and shame. I certainly did, up until I reached the crisis point of wanting to kill myself. It's important for people to realize how common it is. It's also vital to understand that PPD is a very real and very serious medical problem. It's not something that women make up in order to have an excuse to be cranky. Far too many people say things like "What a cop-out" or "Just choose to be happy". If only it were that easy. I don't know ANY women who suffer/have suffered PPD who CHOSE to have the struggle that they did. It's not an indication of being a bad mom, of being a weak person, or of not having enough faith. It's an indication that your hormones are wonky after pregnancy and childbirth.

One of the top pieces of advice that I'd give on being supportive is to try to stay away from the cliche suggestions. You may think that saying "Well, have you thought about praying more?" is helpful but all it ever made me feel was a mixture of shame and anger, and all it ever made me want to do was say things like "Oh no, that never occurred to me, I had no idea it was such an easy fix!". The best support for me was friends and family who would just listen to what I was saying and let me know that they loved and supported me no matter what. Please note though that the phrase "For me" is bolded for a reason. PPD is not a one size fits all thing. What I find helpful may be something that sets another person off and what someone else finds wonderfully supportive may send me into a crying jag or fit of rage. Ask a mom with PPD what she needs nad how you can help/support her. But chances are that if she's suffering PPD, she's dealing with a lot of guilt, shame, and fear. Chances are that no matter how it manifests itself and what symptoms she does or doesn't show, deep down inside she's probably feeling on some level that she is a failure as a wife, mom, Christian, human, girlfriend, daughter, sister, whatever, and I can guarantee you that 100% of women dealing with PPD need to know that you love them, support them no matter what, and will ALWAYS be there for them.

Another important thing to remember is that PPD can pop up at any time during the first year after giving birth. It's most commonly reported in the first few months but can even be diagnosed at 11 months postpartum. And just because your baby turns 1 year old does not mean that your PPD magically goes away or turns into something else. If you were struggling with PPD when your baby was 11 months, 3 weeks, and 6 days old, you're probably still struggling with it after their first birthday.

I can't stress how important it is for everyone to educate themselves about PostPartum Depression. If you have a family member or friend who is expecting or has had a baby, know the symptoms. There's a great list at PostPartum Progress (yes, again, can you tell she's my favorite PPD blogger?). Know the symptoms and if you think someone you know/love is suffering, push them to get help and don't take no for an answer... but make sure they still know you love them.

There's still far too much stigma and ignorance surrounding PPD and the way to combat that is through education and discussion. A HUGE thanks to Rose for doing just that! :)



  1. Thanks so much for educating me so much about this. What a great and informative post! I'm so sorry that PPD even exists and that so many (1.3 million) women have to deal with it every year. I hate the stigmas that are around mental health in general. Thus, I think what you're doing to educate others is wonderful.

    I'm sorry it's been so stressful around your birthday - at least you got the Internet and your washer showed up, and who doesn't love cake and ice cream! YUM!

    Awesome blog and thanks so much for playing along =)

    1. crud, i thought i left this comment a long time ago - that captcha snuck up on me. sorry about that!