May 6, 2008

Atlanta Mom asks me about how to prevent postpartum depression

Yesterday I heard from Atlanta Mom who also blogs about her PPD experience and tries to reach out to help new moms. She asked me how I overcame PPD with my subsequent pregnancy. Even though I've written about how I prevented experiencing PPD a second time, it's been a while, so I want to share what I wrote back to her.

Here's an excerpt from my e-mail to her:

I was determined not to go through PPD again at all costs, and began researching ways to avoid it. I came upwith a list of options/resources and spent much of the pregnancy planning on what I wanted my postpartum tobe like.

One thing I did was to hire a postpartum doula. That was absolutely the best money that I've ever spent!

I also enlisted my neighbors and close friends to help -- I told them my PPD story, if I hadn't already shared it with them, and asked if they would help with different areas that they felt like they could help with (ie: preparing meals, having my two older kids over for play dates, going to the grocery store for me, etc.). I got my friends to commit to certain things, and they were so happy to help out -- they were awesome. (It's so hard to ask for help,but once you do, you find that your close friends are so relieved to know what they can do that will truly help you.)

I also hired a neighborhood teenager to come over to my house nearly every afternoon just for a couple of hours or so toplay actively with my older kids, to give them really solid attention. My husband saved up his vacation time andwas able to take a full 3 weeks off after the birth, and he was great around the house and supervising everything.

I also started on an anti-depressant within minutes after giving birth, and also had a psychologist on call in case I experienced any PPD symptoms so that I could quickly get in to see her or have a phone consultation if I needed it.

So, basically I was very focused on creating a really strong support system, not only helping me with just about everything but also helping me monitor any PPD symptoms should they arise. Happily, I never even experienced a single symptom!! It was a wonderful postpartum and I was relatively rested even after having had a C-section. The doula helped me immensely with getting the baby on a schedule while juggling my older kids. I only needed her help for the first three weeks. I stayed on the anti-depressant for about 9 months or so just to make sure I was doing okay, and then I gradually weaned off of it and did great. PPD is totally preventable. That's my big message. The big thing is overcoming the fear of going through it again, facing that fear and then preparing/educating yourself on how to avoid it. Everyone should be able to experience a happy postpartum!!


The Muser said...

Thanks for this. I've been thinking about having another baby, but had both prenatal and postpartum depression, so the prospect of another baby is scary. I feel really hopeful that all the work I've done in the last couple of years will help me to avoid it again, but it's so helpful to have a concrete list like this to draw from. Thank you!

Kristin said...

Hi, Muser!

I'm so glad you stopped by, and thrilled that my list might help you a little. At least it's a good starting point, and it sure helped me to be organized ahead of time.

PPD can be prevented, so don't lose hope!! You can avoid it, it's mainly just a matter of being in tune to your symptoms and being prepared for them with various resources that will give you the power to overcome them. YOU will be in charge, not the PPD.

I love your blog by the way and have put a link on my site under my friends section as the "beautiful PPD and spirituality blog."

Warm regards,

kare Anderson said...

Thank you for your bravery in sharing, your making so many people around you a part of your solution so they were "touched" by the experience and thus may be more aware of others who are facing the same darkness.

I also admire your spotlighting the other mother in Atlanta

Remember the many compartments of the heart,
the seed of what is possible. So much of who we are is defined
by the places we hold for each other. For it is not our ingenuity that
sets us apart, but our capacity for love, the possibility our way will be lit
by grace. Our hearts prisms, chiseling out the
colors of pure light.

Kristin said...

Hi, Kare!

Thanks so much for your sweet comment. I really appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog. Please stop by again some time! Also, I work for an awesome women's health web site: and we tackle every health issue that impacts women. I wish you all the best,