Overcoming Postpartum Depression: My Journey From Darkness to Light
The Invisible Threat
Did you know that postpartum depression is the most common complication of childbirth?
According to the CDC, approximately 600,000 women experience postpartum depression (PPD) each year in the United States—and this figure only includes live births. Women who miscarry or whose babies are stillborn are also prone to postpartum depression. This figure is based on self-reported estimates, and given the negative stigma associated with PPD, it is likely that the actual number of cases is much higher. Add the number of women who will face other perinatal mood or anxiety disorders, and the annual estimate may be as high as 1 million women.
PPD affects not only the mom, but the entire family. Left untreated, women, children, and their families are at risk, but not just in the short term. Research indicates that postpartum depression can have a negative effect on a child’s development over the long term, too.
Becoming a Statistic
I knew these statistics. And I knew I was one of these statistics. And this only made the anxiety and fear I experienced worse.
Everybody told me, “Take care of yourself, now,” and they would use the "oxygen mask in a plane" analogy as a way to warn me to take care of myself, first. They meant well, and of course the concept made sense, but the advice didn’t really help. I mean, if it was as easy as putting a mask on my face, I would have already done it. I still didn't know what to do.
And so I did what any desperate mama had to do. I want on a quest to find "the solution." Only, I never found a "one-size-fits-all" answer, and nothing I found "worked" all on its own.
PPD was much more complex than I'd thought. Each tool I found dealt with a different core root. I had to treat the issue from a holistic point of view, meaning that there were physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual roots that all contributed to the "dis-ease" I was experiencing.
I used each tool, one by one, until I finally felt it no longer controlled my life. I built up a treasure chest of knowledge, tools, and strategies along the way—and am ready to share what I've learned.
Have you ever suffered from depression or anxiety? Which of the following gave you the BEST relief?
More About My Journey
This article is part of a larger reflection of my experience with postpartum depression. The next article in the series is: What Postpartum Depression Feels Like: The Invisible Thief.
This information is not intended to replace medical advice, and I am not claiming to have found “a cure.” I do hope, however, that this series will help you to know that you are not alone and will assist you in finding tools that will serve as "oxygen masks" to help you through your own journey from darkness to light.