6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

Too many mothers with postpartum depression or anxiety put off seeking help or getting the care they need.  One reason for this is because they just don’t know where to go or who to talk to.  And even if they did know, the idea of leaving the house for appointments can be both inconvenient and terrifying.

The good news is that, thanks to modern technology, there are many ways for a mother to get online help for postpartum depression from the comfort of her own home.  Not only is it convenient, but it makes it easier to find the right person to speak to.  Instead of having to rely on resources available locally, women now have access to an international panel of experts.

Here are some ways that mothers can access online help for postpartum depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression *This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Try Online Therapy

One of the best ways for moms to get help for postpartum depression is by speaking to a therapist.  But it’s also something that many women avoid doing for several reasons:

It’s tough to arrange for childcare during appointments, especially with a brand new or exclusively breastfed baby. 

There is a lot of stigma around “going to therapy” that may deter a mother from choosing to do it in public.  

With so many horror stories of mothers being treated like criminals, they may avoid speaking to someone without knowing how that person will react first.

Finding the right therapist can be difficult.  It sometimes requires a referral from a doctor, which can delay the process.

Having to make phone calls to set up appointments, get dressed to go out, interact with others socially and feel judged by everyone along the way is an exhausting task for mothers with postpartum depression.

Mothers don’t always feel at their worst between 9 – 5, Monday to Friday.  Some therapists might offer an emergency number to call but that would mean inconveniencing someone and mothers aren’t usually down for doing that, no matter how bad it gets.

Signing up for online therapy can solve so many of these problems.  On sites such as Online-Therapy.com, you have a better chance of being matched with a therapist that is right for you.  You have the ability to speak to your therapist through a live chat or e-mail, which makes it much more convenient.  You can even purchase sessions for just one week at a time, so there’s no huge commitment if you find it’s not for you.

With online therapy you also get a variety of other tools and resources at your disposal, 24/7.  You can access an online forum for therapy members, yoga and meditation videos, workbooks and more.  You get so much more than just a therapy session, and you can do it all right from home.

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Make a Phone Call

Sometimes, when you are having a really bad day, you just need to talk to someone who understands.  A helpline is designed specifically for that purpose.  While not technically considered online help for postpartum depression, it’s still something that you can do from the comfort of your own home and have access to 24/7.

If you are having suicidal thoughts and need to speak to someone urgently:

In the US: 

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8225

In Canada: 

Call the National Crisis Services Canada Number 1-833-456-4566 and you will be connected with the closest provincial crisis center to your location.

Internationally:

On the Befrienders Worldwide website, you can search for suicide helplines by country.  The website is also available in different languages and provides resources and information about mental health.

For general information, support and resources:

Call the Postpartum Support International’s Helpline 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) It’s a messaging system so you would have to leave a message and then someone would get back to you as soon as possible.  It is NOT meant for emergencies, but rather, to find out where and how to get help.

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Send a Text Message

Texting is a newer way that moms can get online help for postpartum depression and many support groups are making this an option.  It is so much easier for a mother battling a mental illness to send a text message when she’s overwhelmed with thoughts and feelings, rather than speak to someone over the phone or face to face.

In the US:

Text HOME to 741741 for any type of crisis and a trained counselor from the Crisis Text Line will respond 24/7.

In Canada:

Text HOME to 686868 to access the Crisis Text Line in Canada.  This text line is managed by volunteers and is a division of the Kids Help Phone.

Text Crisis Services Canada at 45645 anytime between 5 pm and 1 am and get a response from someone at the crisis center.  A live chat option is also available on their website (also between 5 pm and 1 am).

You can also text the Postpartum Support International’s Warmline at 503-894-9453 for information and to get support and resources close to where you live.

Many local support groups also offer their own text line, so make sure to find out what they are and store them in your phone for emergencies.

Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Join a Facebook Support Group

Facebook support groups are a great way to get online help for postpartum depression.  Not only will you be able to find some posts that you relate to, but you’ll see that you’re not alone in your struggles.

If you’re not big on communicating with strangers, it helps just to read some of the posts and comments.  If you have a particular question, you can search for it in the group and see if someone else has already asked about it.  It’s a great resource to get peer support and advice for postpartum depression and anxiety.

Some of the groups that I’m in and would recommend:

Postpartum Support International – Group Size: Large (8,000 + Members).

If you have a question about treatment options, symptoms, previous experiences – this is the place to go to get your questions answered.  PSI’s support group is a mix of health care professionals, therapists, sufferers and survivors.  If you have a question about anything related to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, you will find it here.

Momma’s Postpartum Depression Support Group – Group Size: Medium (4,000 + Members).

This group is a very supportive one and the perfect place to go and vent about what you’re feeling.  If you just need someone to talk to or share your story with someone who will understand, then the women in this group are here for you.

Postpartum Depression & Anxiety Support Group – Group Size: Small (3,000 + Members).

What I love about this smaller group is that you really get the chance to connect with other members.  If you’re seeking more than just a sounding board, and hoping to make friends and build a support system to help you through this difficult time, then consider joining this group.

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Hire a Postpartum Doula

A postpartum doula is someone who comes to your house after you have a baby specifically to help you out.  They are not like a nanny, in that, they are there to support you and not simply to take care of the baby and the house.  They are trained to recognize the early symptoms of a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder and can direct you where to get help.  Most can be hired to work a night shift so that you can get the sleep you desperately need.  I consider this a form of online help for postpartum depression because searching various websites is generally the best way to find the right doula for you.

There are several websites you can use to find a doula in your area:

DONA International

One of the most widely recognized doula certification organizations – you can search their database for a postpartum doula near you!

ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association)

A non-profit organization that supports doulas and other professional childbirth educators.  Their list includes both certified and non-certified doulas.

Doula Match 

You can search a database of over 10,000 doulas in Canada and the US and the best part is that you can enter the dates when you would need their services to make sure that they are available before contacting them.

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Download an App

There are so many apps available to help with almost any kind of problem you’re experiencing.  Online help for postpartum depression in the form of an app is so convenient and always at your fingertips.  Instead of scrolling through social media on your phone, download a meditation or self care app to use regularly instead.

PPD ACT

This is part of an important research study but also provides resources for women with postpartum depression.  Read more about it on the Pact For The Cure website.

MGHPDS (Massachusetts General Hospital Perinatal Depression Scale)

This is a good one for new moms who are concerned about developing postpartum depression or anxiety.  It contains questionnaires to assess your mood and stress level and will remind you to take them again every few weeks so that you can document any changes.  The questions are similar to those used by medical professionals to check for maternal mood disorders.

Virtual Hope Box 

This app was originally designed by the military to help patients coping with PTSD.  It’s recommended by therapists as a supplement to treatment for stress and anxiety disorders, but it can be a great tool for a mother battling postpartum depression.  You have the ability to add happy photos or video memories, favorite songs and quotes and access tools for coping with stress and anxiety.

Headspace 

Practicing meditation and mindfulness are great ways to help with postpartum depression and anxiety. This popular meditation app is easy to use and has sessions ranging from 1 minute up to 10 minutes.  It’s perfect for a busy mom with only a few minutes to spare.

SleepBot or SleepCycle

Sleep problems are a big component of postpartum depression and anxiety.  An app that tracks your sleeping patterns can help you avoid some of the nasty side effects of sleep deprivation.

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Online help for postpartum depression should never be a replacement for help from a medical professional.  Always make sure that your doctor knows what you are feeling.

But also, get educated.  Know who to call and how to take care of yourself.

When my battle with postpartum depression began, 6 years ago, I didn’t even have a smartphone.  Aside from a few brochures that I was given in my doctor’s office, I had very little information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  Now, almost anyone can access online help for postpartum depression.  There is so much more information for struggling mothers, that it would be a shame to let it all go to waste.

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression 6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression

The Truth About Scary and Intrusive Thoughts

Scary and intrusive thoughts are a common symptom of postpartum depression.

Intrusive thoughts lead many women to believe that they are terrible people, unfit mothers or a danger to their children.  While many women experience them in some form, they don’t always recognize that they are intrusive or involuntary.  Instead, they believe that the thoughts are how they truly feel, or what they are thinking subconsciously.  They don’t talk about them for fear of what others will think of them.

It’s important to speak up about intrusive thoughts, but before a woman can do that – she needs to understand what they are, where they come from and what they mean.  This is the only way she will be able to accept that the thoughts she is having are not who she has become, but rather, a side effect of her mental illness.

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Intrusive thoughts are an idea or image that come to your mind involuntarily.  The thoughts may be extremely out-of-character and can be shocking when they happen.  They are almost exactly the same as the thoughts and images that you normally have, except that they are not created nor welcomed by you.  Intrusive thoughts are a sign of mental illness and prove that your mind is playing tricks on you.


What are NOT Intrusive Thoughts?

They are not hallucinations.

They are not third party voices in your head.

They are not an indication of postpartum psychosis.

They are not subconscious thoughts or images.

They are not part of your normal train of thought.

They are not how you truly feel deep down inside.

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Types of Intrusive Thoughts

The most common type of intrusive thoughts or images are of doing something bad to the baby.  They can be “what if…” type of thoughts such as “what if I drop my baby down the stairs” or “what if I stab my baby with a knife.”  They can also be images such as watching the baby drown in the bathtub or crashing the car with the baby in the backseat.

Intrusive thoughts can also be about harming yourself.  Many women experience suicidal thoughts but have no actual desire to commit suicide.  Postpartum depression can cause women to experience thoughts of running away, jumping out of a moving car or falling asleep and never waking up again.  Intrusive thoughts often make a woman believe she is unfit to be a mother and that her children would be better off without her.

Another type of intrusive thought includes harming a spouse or another loved one.  It’s normal to complain about the annoying things a spouse does and imagine doing something bad to them, but when it affects your relationship or comes out of nowhere it could be an intrusive thought.  Postpartum depression, and especially postpartum rage, are often misdirected towards spouses and partners – making a woman believe that she really does hate her husband.  Add in intrusive thoughts like running them over with the car and it’s a relationship nightmare…

Some intrusive thoughts are inappropriate and violent.  Many can be sexual in nature or include things like harming animals or setting the house on fire.

Basically, any thought or image that enters your head and feels scary and unnatural is an unwanted or intrusive thought.
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The Danger of Intrusive Thoughts

Thoughts and images alone are not dangerous.  But intrusive thoughts can cause several unwanted side effects that can become dangerous both physically and mentally.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Intrusive thoughts can cause a woman to develop postpartum OCD and become obsessed with certain thoughts and images.  If she imagines the baby dying in their sleep, she may stop sleeping in order to check on baby several times through the night.

Stress and Anxiety. Knowing that intrusive thoughts are a possibility is a big source of stress and anxiety, which can worsen symptoms of postpartum depression.  For a woman suffering from postpartum anxiety, scary thoughts can cause panic attacks and other symptoms.

Acting on Intrusive Thoughts.  It’s rare that a woman would go so far as to act on her intrusive thoughts but the danger that she might still exists.  Intrusive thoughts can even lead a woman to feel suicidal.

Stigmatizing.  Intrusive thoughts play a major role in the stigma of postpartum depression.  Many mothers who try to open up about them are treated like crazy people or seen as dangerous and suicidal.  If intrusive thoughts are confessed to a person (even a medical professional) without enough knowledge about them, the consequences could be dangerous.  Its important to find a safe place to discuss intrusive thoughts.

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The Truth About Intrusive Thoughts

The truth is, they are not real.  They may stem from the feelings of inadequacy or overwhelm caused by postpartum depression but they are not part of the subconscious mind.  They are a figment of your imagination and a by-product of mental illness.  In order to eliminate them, and avoid having them control your life, you need to accept that they are coming from somewhere else, and not from what’s within your heart.

How to Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts

As long as a woman is suffering from a mental illness, the intrusive thoughts will always be a possibility.  So the only way to eliminate them altogether is to treat the underlying condition.  There are still several things a person can do to keep intrusive thoughts from affecting their lives.

Document Them.  Writing down scary thoughts as they happen can help make them less frightening.  You can write them on paper, in a journal or workbook, on your phone or use an app.  If you really want to take a stand against intrusive thoughts and connect with other women who are having them, you could even consider blogging about them.

Release Them.  Intrusive thoughts are perhaps one of the hardest things to speak out loud when battling postpartum depression.  Many people are not nearly as informed about intrusive thoughts as they should be, and this makes talking openly about them risky.  The best place to express the scary thoughts you’re having is to find a safe and positive space, such as a support group. The Postpartum Stress Center offers a safe place online for women to anonymously #SpeaktheSecret.  It helps to read some of the thoughts other women have had, and even submit your own to release them from your mind.

Online Therapy.  Speaking to a mental health professional is always a good course of action for women battling intrusive thoughts.  With online therapy, you have the option to chat with your therapist anytime throughout the day, as opposed to waiting for a scheduled appointment.  This is a great option to be able to discuss scary thoughts as they occur.  (If this is an option you’d like to explore, you can get 20% off of online therapy using my affiliate link: http://runningintriangles.com/OnlineTherapy).

Meditation.  Clearing the mind on a daily basis can help reduce the instances of intrusive thoughts.  Meditation can also help to create mindfulness in general, making you feel a little bit more in control of the thoughts and images in your own head.  Meditation, either alone or while doing yoga, should become an important part of your self-care routine for battling postpartum depression and intrusive thoughts.

Positive Imagery.  Surround yourself with sights that make you feel happy.  You can put together a photo album of some of your happiest photos and look at it regularly.  Or keep flowers and plants in your home.  Hang motivational posters or family photos on the walls.  Subconsciously, your mind will soak up all the beauty around you and be a happier place.

Get Enough Sleep.  Sleep deprivation is known for causing all kinds of problems in new mothers.  From postpartum depression to anxiety and rage, a lack of sleep is like leaving the door wide open for intrusive thoughts.  If you need to, invest in a better mattress and look into other ways to fight off insomnia.

Distraction.  Keeping the mind distracted will allow less time for scary thoughts to creep in.  Music is an excellent way to keep the mind distracted.  Try playing music in the background while you’re home, call or visit with a friend, read a book or put on the television.  Maintaining a proper self-care routine can also help keep intrusive thoughts away.

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The most important factor in dealing with intrusive thoughts is to know the difference between your actual thoughts and the unwanted ones.  Having intrusive thoughts may make you feel like a bad mother with the potential to do something harmful but it’s not the truth.  Focus on the positive thoughts and try your best to ignore the ones that make you feel anything but joy.  Accept that they are a side effect of postpartum depression and not who you have become.  It may take a while for the thoughts and images to go away, but as long as you remember that you are still you inside, you can defeat them.

Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Jordan’s Postpartum Depression Story”

Battling Endometriosis while Suffering From Postpartum Depression

Endometriosis is a condition that plagues nearly 10% of women but is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.  Like postpartum depression, endometriosis is something that isn’t talked about enough.  It causes a considerable amount of pain but so many women learn to live with it and don’t seek the proper treatment.  And those who do seek help, are often told it’s nothing, because endometriosis doesn’t show up on ultrasounds or x-rays or ct scans.

While there is no link between endometriosis and postpartum depression, they do have a lot in common:
  • They are affected by hormones
  • They affect women in their childbearing years
  • They are under-diagnosed conditions
  • They are invisible diseases
  • They are stigmatized and need more awareness

Every women’s struggle with endometriosis is different, just like postpartum depression.  Here is MY story…

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


It was a mere coincidence that both my endometriosis and postpartum depression were diagnosed at the same time, because the two conditions are not exactly linked to each other.  But ever since that diagnosis, they have been intertwined throughout my journey of highs and lows.

It all began when my daughter was 5 months old.  Actually, the postpartum depression symptoms had been going on for a few months already but I was still in denial. 

We took a family trip to Disney World (both kids were still free to get in, so we thought we’d take advantage)!  Despite exclusively breastfeeding, I got my first postpartum period – right there in the Magic Kingdom.  

I was disappointed and annoyed but what else could I do, on this trip of a lifetime, but suck it up and waddle around in blood-soaked pants for the rest of the day?

The next day, we planned to go to Cocoa Beach.  When you’re from the Canadian Prairies, trips to the ocean are few and far between, so I was definitely NOT missing out on it.  I bought the biggest box of tampons I could find and tried my best to enjoy the day.

But the cramping was worse than labor pains and the bleeding was relentless.

I made it through that vacation but the following month was even worse.  I probably wouldn’t have said anything to my doctor, except that it happened to fall on the same day as my daughter’s 6 month checkup.

I was lucky enough to have a great doctor with whom I already had a close relationship, and it was in that appointment that I broke down crying – overcome by the pain of the menstrual cramps and the dark place my mind had been in for the last 6 months.

Based solely on my symptoms, he figured it was endometriosis that was causing the pain and heavy bleeding.  It was the first time I had ever heard the word.  When he told me that it can cause infertility, I actually felt relieved because I had zero desire to have another baby.  He gave me some samples of birth control pills and advised me to take them continuously in an effort to “skip” my periods.

Then we discussed the postpartum depression and came up with a treatment plan.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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I was supposed to follow up with him in a few months to see how things were going.  But by then, we had relocated for my husband’s job – a 9 hour drive away.

For a while, things were alright…

My mind was distracted by the move and I remembered to take my birth control pills everyday, avoiding the painful cramping that accompanied my periods.

Until I ran out of samples.

Trying to find a good doctor in a new town where I didn’t know anyone was tougher than I thought.  So I chose to suffer instead.  I loaded up on painkillers and wore adult diapers to soak up the extreme amounts of blood and just dealt with it.

With each month that passed, the pain got worse and worse.  The cramping started earlier and lasted longer until I was only pain-free for one week each month.  I turned to essential oils for help with the pain, but even their magic wasn’t strong enough.

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The chronic pelvic pain exacerbated my postpartum depression symptoms.

I felt defeated by the pain.  I didn’t feel like being strong or fighting through the pain – I hoped and prayed it would just kill me.  I thought about how my daughter might someday experience this kind of pain, and I felt responsible for that.  I felt like all I did was inflict pain on those around me, because I was also in pain.  And I was certain that everyone would be happier, myself included, if I was just gone.

When my year of maternity leave was over, things got better.

I found a job that I loved and began to make friends.  The daycare we chose for the kids was wonderful and they settled into it without any problems.  I appreciated my children more because I cherished the short amount of time we had together each day instead of dreading the long hours of nothingness.

Finally, I was happy!  I pushed through the endometriosis pain every month because I didn’t want anything to destroy my happiness.

But after a year of being happy and ignoring the pain – the pain pushed back.

I couldn’t ignore it anymore and eventually wound up in the emergency room.  Much to everyone’s surprise – I was pregnant!  I guess endometriosis doesn’t always cause infertility…

The anxiety began almost immediately.  I didn’t want to go through another HG pregnancy and I definitely worried about dealing with the postpartum depression all over again.  Plus we had just moved again, and hadn’t even bought a house yet.

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Despite the exciting news, the pain was still there… worse even.

The doctors suspected a possible ectopic pregnancy and rushed me into emergency surgery.

When I woke up, I had mixed feelings about losing the baby.  Part of me was relieved to avoid another tough pregnancy, but another part of me felt disappointed that I didn’t get another chance to make things right.

The next day, I found out I was still pregnant.  The pregnancy was a healthy one, and there was nothing they could tell me about the endometriosis because they didn’t want to do anything to disturb the pregnancy.

And so I had my third child.  I suffered from the worst case of hyperemesis gravidarum of all three pregnancies, but for a while, I didn’t have to worry about the menstrual pain.  This time I did everything in my power to prepare myself for postpartum depression again but thankfully was spared from it.  I was given a second chance!  I immediately felt a bond with this baby and she made our family complete.

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I had a good, solid 8 months of bliss with my happy baby before my first postpartum period arrived.

And, in true dream-crushing fashion, it came back on Christmas Eve so I spent most of that night hopped up on painkillers and hovering around the bathroom door in order to change my tampon every 30 minutes.

After another steady 8 months of pill popping, I missed another period.  Oh no, not another pregnancy.  It can’t be.  I can’t do it again.  But the tests were all negative…

My menstrual cycle finally had a nervous breakdown.

It would skip months for no reason and then come every other week.  The pelvic pain got worse and it was no longer limited to my menstrual cycle – it was there 24/7.  I ended up in the emergency room regularly looking for something to help with the pain.  Nothing ever showed up on any of the tests, and I’m certain everyone thought I was a hypochondriac.  Even though I was in an intense amount of pain, I started to wonder if they were right.

The pain triggered the postpartum depression again.

It didn’t help that I was now a stay-at-home-mom, living in a city with no friends or relatives to help me out.  Between the darkness of postpartum depression and the pain of endometriosis, life was very bleak for nearly a full year.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Living with Endometriosis
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I finally met with a specialist.

He instantly validated everything I was feeling and scheduled me for a diagnostic laparoscopy to find out what was going on inside of me.  Since he wasn’t sure what he would find, he asked me to sign a form that stated he could perform a hysterectomy if he deemed it medically necessary.  This way, I wouldn’t have to undergo two separate surgeries if I did need one.

We discussed the fact that a hysterectomy would be the worst-case scenario, and I signed the form without hesitation.

In the 6 weeks leading up to my surgery date, I bled continuously.  I should have known then, that more was wrong under the surface than I wanted to admit.  If I had, perhaps I would have been more prepared for what was ahead.

The surgery was supposed to be a laparoscopic day surgery on a Friday.  My husband, kids and I made the 2 hour drive into the city, expecting to stay with family for the weekend and be back home by Monday.

But when I woke up from the surgery, I was told I would not be going home that day.

My doctor came in to see me, head hung, disappointment in his eyes.  He rested his hand on mine and told me that this was the first time he’s ever had to convert from a laparoscopic surgery to an abdominal incision (minimally invasive surgery was his specialty).

And then he filled me in on what happened in surgery.

He had to remove my uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes, and left ovary.  He left the right ovary so that I would not go into menopause but everything else was stuck together with adhesions and needed to go.  My reproductive organs were attached to the pelvic wall, bladder and bowels which he successfully separated, but there would be scar tissue remaining.  The adhesions had re-routed my blood vessels and so he cut into one while attempting to perform the hysterectomy, causing me to lose nearly 4 units of blood and require a transfusion.

It was the “worst case scenario,” and I felt completely blindsided by what had just happened.  

I ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days.  Losing so much blood left me feeling weak and dizzy and moving around was almost impossible.  Once I did get home to my own bed, I couldn’t leave.  Walking up and down stairs was difficult and living in a 4 level split meant I was practically bedridden.  Long after the scar healed, the pain inside my pelvis was excruciating.  I was told to expect to be out of commission for a full 6 weeks but it took more like 8.

Dealing with the sudden loss of my uterus was difficult.  Although I knew I didn’t want to have more children, I liked knowing that it was an option.  I spent a lot of time thinking about my pregnancies and how the place where I grew my children and felt them move and kick was no longer there.

But once I recovered from the surgery, the constant pelvic pain that plagued me for years was finally gone.  It was hard to believe that it was no longer there, I kept poking at it to see if it hurt but no – no more pain!  And I never had to wear another giant tampon or adult diaper ever again.

Most days I forget that I no longer have a uterus.  I still get some symptoms of PMS when my lonely ovary ovulates but it’s nearly impossible to track it without a menstrual cycle.  The fluctuating hormones do still affect my postpartum depression symptoms and I have to take extra care of myself on those days, but otherwise, it’s no longer triggered by constant pain.

Postpartum Depression Resources in Canada
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I’ve been told that a hysterectomy is not a cure for endometriosis and there is still a chance that the endometrial tissue could grow back.

So while my battle with endometriosis, as well as my battle with postpartum depression, is over for now – they have changed who I am as a person.

They have both taken things away from me that I can never get back.  They have killed a part of me inside and remain there, dormant, waiting for another opportunity to strike. I will do my best to take care of myself,  to help others who are suffering, and to raise awareness about these two important issues, so that if and when they ever do decide to rear their ugly heads again – I will be ready to fight back.


Endometriosis Resources

Endometriosis.org
WebMD Endometriosis Health Center
Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education Facebook Group
Endometriosis Support Group on Facebook
Hystersisters.com

10 Things Mothers with Postpartum Depression Want You To Know

Postpartum depression, as common as it might be, is widely misunderstood.  No one knows for certain exactly why mothers get postpartum depression and many aren’t even aware of the symptoms.

If there was less stigma and more mothers felt comfortable enough to speak up about their postpartum depression, perhaps the rest of the world would know about it and find ways to help.

In an effort to help others understand more about postpartum depression – here’s a list of 10 things that mothers with postpartum depression want you to know.


A List of 10 Things a Mother with Postpartum Depression Wants You to Know

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. We Are Not Bad Mothers

Mothers with postpartum depression are not prone to hurting their babies.  While there have been cases that ended in tragedy – those mothers were likely suffering from postpartum psychosis, which is much more serious.

We might be seen as “bad” mothers because we didn’t bond with our babies right away, or we seem withdrawn from them or avoid holding them.  These are common symptoms of postpartum depression but it does not mean that we want to harm our child or that we don’t love them as much.

If anything, postpartum depression makes us stronger mothers because we have to fight harder to build a mother-child relationship.

You don’t need to take our babies away from us or be concerned about leaving us alone with them.  If we come to you for help and admit what we are feeling – that makes us a better mother, not a bad one. 

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2. It’s Not In Our Head

Postpartum depression is not just a psychological issue – it’s physical pain, it’s chemical imbalances, it’s uncontrollable hormones.  It’s a total body experience and not just something we imagine.

Positive thinking alone will not get rid of postpartum depression.  It’s important to stay positive to help reduce stress which is a big trigger for symptoms, but there is so much more to it than that.

Many women suffer from disruptions in sleep and appetite, headaches and back pains from stress and tension, nausea and debilitating fatigue.  So the pain is never just “in our head.”

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3. Nothing We Did Caused This

Postpartum depression is NOT our fault.  We didn’t get it because of a traumatic labor or breastfeeding problems or because we didn’t have a good enough support system.

It’s natural to want to find an explanation for what we’re going through and it’s easy to look back on our pregnancies and deliveries and find something to blame for the mess.

While there are several different risk factors that can increase your chances of having postpartum depression, the truth is – even a women with the happiest of pregnancies, easiest of deliveries and biggest support system could still be diagnosed with postpartum depression.  It does not discriminate.

There are studies being conducted to try to determine the cause of postpartum depression but for now – it’s still a mystery as to why some women get it and others do not.

Running in Triangles Postpartum Depression Survival Guide
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4. There Is No Cure

There are plenty of treatment options and ways to control the symptoms but we will never be the same person we were before postpartum depression.

Anti-depressants, therapy, self-care, yoga and meditation, etc., are all important for helping with the symptoms but they will not make postpartum depression go away permanently.  Some women can control their symptoms better than others, but no matter what, we will all have to live with the darkness inside of us for the rest of our lives.

If we’re not careful about following our treatment plans, we could suffer a relapse.

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5. It Can Be Invisible

Just because we don’t seem depressed doesn’t mean we’re not suffering inside.  Postpartum depression can be an invisible disease, which means we don’t have a giant scar or walk with a limp but we are in just as much pain.

Mothers with postpartum depression have gotten very good at putting on a smile to hide the pain and avoid the awkward questions.

Thanks to the stigma around postpartum depression, many mothers won’t even admit to having it for fear of what the world will think of them.

Organizations like 2020Mom and The Blue Dot Project are helping to break down the stigma through campaigns like Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week but they will only be successful if mothers with postpartum depression are willing to let the world know that they exist.  

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6. It’s Not The Same As Postpartum Psychosis

Anytime I hear a story about a new mother taking her life and/or her child’s life, the question arises as to whether or not it’s postpartum psychosis.  While postpartum depression can cause mothers to feel suicidal, postpartum psychosis can cause hallucinations during which a mother isn’t even herself. They are two different diseases and psychosis is a severe medical emergency.

Postpartum psychosis leads a mother to have hallucinations and hear voices in their heads.  They are often a danger to themselves and those around them, including their children, because of their unpredictable behavior.  They are not aware of what they are doing, and if left untreated – can end in tragedy.

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis and know the difference.  This article from Postpartum Progress does the best job at explaining it.

Here’s an article from Huffingtonpost with regards to the movie “Tully” portraying a woman diagnosed with postpartum depression when really, she suffers from postpartum psychosis.

What to Do When Postpartum Depression Makes You Suicidal .


7. Don’t Take Things Personally

Postpartum depression can manifest itself in different ways.  Fits of uncontrollable rage is a lesser known symptom and can cause a lot of strain on relationships.

When we are riding the emotional roller coaster that is postpartum depression, it’s easy to lose control and lash out.  But until our symptoms are under control with a proper treatment plan, it’s best not to take the things we say and do personally.

The urge to push people away and withdraw into ourselves is strong with postpartum depression, but that doesn’t mean it’s what we actually want.

In fact, a support system is something we need now more than ever.

9 Reasons Why Moms Don't Talk About Postpartum Depression
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8. It’s easier to talk to strangers

Please don’t feel offended if we don’t want to talk to you about what we’re going through.  It’s much easier to talk to strangers who have been through it before, such as a therapist or online support group.

They understand what we mean and won’t judge us.  We know you don’t mean to judge us, but unless you know what it feels like to be inside the head of a crazy person, you couldn’t possibly understand.

Some of the best “strangers” to talk to are available through the PSI Helpline (call or text!)

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9. We Need Your Help

Even if we don’t want to talk to you, we still need your help to get through this.  Postpartum depression is a tough fight and it’s even harder to fight alone.  There are so many ways that you can help us, but it’s very hard for us to tell you what they are.

The biggest way that you can help us is by trying to understand what we’re going through.  And even if you don’t understand, stand by us and support us no matter what.

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10. Please Don’t Abandon Us

Mothers with postpartum depression make for some of the worst company.  We’re weepy and emotional.  We rarely smile or laugh.  We’re tired all the time, or angry and annoyed.  We dodge your phone calls and cancel dinner plans.  We don’t blame you for not wanting to hang out with us…

Withdrawing from society is a major symptom of postpartum depression and it’s out of our control.

But we hope that, when we do finally feel better, you will still be there waiting for us on the other side of the darkness.

Gift ideas for the mother with postpartum depression
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10 Things Moms with Postpartum Depression Want You to Know
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Katey’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Katey’s Postpartum Depression Story”

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

Many women with postpartum depression report struggling to breastfeed, or at least feeling that extra pressure to do so.

It’s hard to know for certain whether breastfeeding problems cause postpartum depression symptoms or if symptoms of postpartum depression are making it difficult to breastfeed.  It could be a combination of both.

Either way, breastfeeding takes some work.  For a mother with postpartum depression, it’s just another aspect of motherhood that can contribute to more stress, added pressure, and self-doubt.

Here are some tips for mothers who are, or who might be, concerned about breastfeeding with postpartum depression.

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Do Your Research

Don’t expect breastfeeding to come naturally to you and baby.  Sometimes it does, but don’t expect it to.  Breastfeeding may have come naturally to our ancestors hundreds of years ago when life was simpler, but if we want to be successful at it now, then we need to do some research.

The best time to do that research is while still pregnant, since the first few days of breastfeeding are the toughest.  If you’ve enrolled in a birthing class, it’s likely they will cover breastfeeding as well.  Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you can think of and take detailed notes.  You never know which aspect of breastfeeding you might struggle with.

Being prepared for any breastfeeding setbacks can help you handle problems better if you end up suffering from postpartum depression.

If you’re already breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s never too late to research ways to improve your experience.  There are plenty of resources available to help you.

A postpartum doula is a great option to consider if you’re worried about breastfeeding.  They are trained to help mothers breastfeed successfully and can help you get enough rest and proper nutrition after giving birth, which is important for milk production.

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Recommended Resources:

Milkologyan online breastfeeding class that offers tons of information for all the different stages of breastfeeding.

Mom Smart Not Hard this site has some really specific breastfeeding articles.  I also recommend taking their Free 5 Day Breastfeeding Course and downloading the Breastfeeding Handbook to use as a reference when you’re offline.

KellyMomthe ultimate online breastfeeding resource.  You can find articles about basically every single breastfeeding situation and/or question you could possibly have.

ABCKidsinc– a great collection of articles about all things breastfeeding.  Includes common questions about health, diet, medications and products.

The Womanly Art of BreastfeedingThis book from the La Leche League is a breastfeeding bestseller for a reason.  You can read it while pregnant and keep it on hand as a quick resource when and if situations arise.

For more resources, check out this post from The Merry Momma – An Epic List of Breastfeeding Tips and Resources


Learn About D-MER

Also known as Dysphoric Milk Ejection ReflexD-MER is a newer breastfeeding condition that often gets confused as a symptom of postpartum depression.  It is characterized by feelings of anxiety, sadness, panic, dread or loneliness that are brought on during letdown.

It is important to note that D-MER is NOT a symptom of postpartum depression, although it is triggered by a change in hormone levels.  The “dysphoric” state that it causes is purely a physiological response to the sudden drop in dopamine levels required to increase milk-producing prolactin.  In other words – a chemical imbalance.

Women with D-MER can also suffer from postpartum depression, which can add to the confusion and increase aversion to breastfeeding.  Simply recognizing the unpleasant feelings as a physiological response, as opposed to a psychological condition, can make a huge difference.

[Related Reading: A Condition Called D-MER: When Breastfeeding Makes You Feel Sad]

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Start Off Right

There is one epic moment after you have a baby that opens the door for breastfeeding success.  What you do in this moment will set the pace for your breastfeeding journey.  I’m talking about when your milk comes in.

Up until your milk comes in, baby has just been “suckling” and they haven’t really been “feeding” on much other than colustrum (still super important, though).  And then one morning, you wake up with boulders on your chest, pain up to your armpits and a soaked t-shirt and have more milk than you know what to do with.

How, When & Why to Do Breast Compression
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The most important things to focus on when your milk comes in are:

Proper Latching

It will be difficult to latch a baby onto an extremely full breast.  The nipple can flatten or invert, and squeezing the breast to get it into baby’s mouth can be incredibly painful.  Using breast shells was a lifesaver for me during engorgement.

Here’s a helpful infographic about getting the right latch from The Milk Memoirs.

Hind Milk

With extremely full breasts, there is a lot of watery fore milk at the front, and the rich, fattier hind milk at the back of the breast.  You want to make sure that baby is getting enough of the fattier hind milk before they get full.  Otherwise, you can end up with greenish poops and red bums, along with other problems.  The breast compression technique is the best way to ensure baby is getting the good stuff.

[Related Reading: How, When, and Why to Do Breast Compression]

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Clogged Milk Ducts

The name says it all and the last thing you want to end up with is a swollen, red clogged milk duct.  If left untreated, it can lead to mastitis.  Thankfully there are lots of easy remedies to help loosen up a blocked duct.

Regulating Milk Supply

It might be tempting to pump out all that extra milk, but the best thing you can do is just feed, feed, feed.  Baby may go through a cluster feeding phase when your milk comes in so just lay in bed and feed baby all day long if you need to.  Feeding on demand will help to regulate your milk supply so that your body will learn to produce exactly the right amount of milk for your baby’s needs.

Nursing Positions

Once you have an adequate supply of milk, you should start experimenting with different nursing positions.  A football hold is great for managing those XL sized engorged breasts.  Lying back can be helpful if you have a forceful letdown.  Side-Lying is always a popular option for night feedings or to get through cluster feeding sessions.

[Related Reading: The Ultimate Guide to Breastfeeding Positions]

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Reduce Stress While Nursing

Stress is the number one killer of a good milk supply.  Stressing out about whether or not you’re producing enough milk is the last thing you should do.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression or anxiety and feel like it is impacting your milk supply, try to find ways to calm yourself down during feedings.

For more advice on handling and reducing stress, you can find a variety of articles on Better Help – https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/stress/

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Some Suggestions:

Listen to musicput on your favorite playlist.

Aromatherapydiffuse some essential oils, check out Plant Therapy’s starter kits!

Practice Deep Breathingyoga and meditation can help you to clear your mind completely.  Try to use slow, deep breaths while you feed baby.

Nurse while in the bathnursing your baby (or pumping) while sitting in a warm bath can help your body and mind relax enough to let the milk flow effortlessly.

Watch TVdistract yourself with a good show or movie.

Read a Book or Magazineor use an e-reader or tablet.

Look at old picturesMake an album filled with pictures of happier times and loved ones. (I love these customizable photo albums from Mixbook)

Get Comfortablefind the most comfortable spot in your home to nurse baby and make sure everything you need are within arms reach.  If you’re out in public, do whatever makes you most comfortable – whether it’s nursing with or without a nursing cover.  

Cry it Outcrying is a way to release stress and built-up tension, not always a sign of despair.

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Support vs. Pressure

Women with postpartum depression are extra sensitive to criticism, because they already feel like failures themselves.  They often mistake breastfeeding support as pressure to breastfeed.  I have heard many women with postpartum depression say they felt they would let their partner down if they could not breastfeed.

The truth is, your partner likely doesn’t care as much about breastfeeding as you do.  They want what’s best for the baby, and if they’ve done as much research as you have, they also feel the pressure for breastfeeding to succeed.  But they don’t feel the emotional urge like you do.  They don’t understand what a total body experience it is.

What they do care about most, is you.  They don’t want you to be miserable and in pain simply to breastfeeding.  They will never think of you as a failure for not being able to breastfeed.

If they truly support you, then they will stand by you no matter what decision you make.  And if your partner’s opinions about breastfeeding are causing you unwanted stress, it’s important to tell them, because they may not realize how much it’s affecting you.

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Treatment Options While Breastfeeding

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.  I wasn’t given the option to take anti-depressants while I was breastfeeding, but I’ve heard that there are several safe options now.  Prescription anti-depressants are not the only option, either.

Therapy is a great option for breastfeeding with postpartum depression.  There are different types of therapy available, including cognitive behavior therapy, support groups or couples therapy.  Online counseling is available through BetterHelp.com.

There are several different herbs, supplements, vitamins, and minerals that have been known to improve symptoms of depression.  If you’re not sure where to begin, I recommend this e-book and treatment plan to learn more about which ones are best for you.

Acupuncture has also been known to help with symptoms of postpartum depression, but make sure to indicate that you are also breastfeeding.

Don’t feel like treatment is out of the question for you if you are breastfeeding with postpartum depression, it’s important to know all your options. 

6 Ways to Get Online Help for Postpartum Depression
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Giving Up IS An Option

Choosing to stop breastfeeding will NOT make you a bad mother.  Yes, we know that breast is best, and that there are so many benefits to breastfeeding.  But at what cost?

When we weigh out the risks vs. the benefits, your mental health is one hundred times more important than the benefits of breastfeeding. 

There are so many advanced options for formula feeding that your baby will never be at a disadvantage.  In fact, they’ll grow up into junk food addicts just like every other kid.  One day, you will watch your toddler eat dirt in the backyard and wonder why you ever stressed out about breastfeeding.

It’s alright to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, but there are so many other ways to bond with, and provide for, your baby.  You will only be able to do those things if you focus on your mental health so that you can be there for them completely.

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My own personal experience of breastfeeding with postpartum depression was actually a pleasant one.  Knowing that my daughter needed me for her survival was what kept me going.  As much as I despised doing it at the time, especially the night time feedings, I realize now that it’s what saved me from detaching from her completely.

No matter what your experience is like, or what choices you make for your baby, remember that your mental health and physical well-being are just as important as theirs.

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

How to Ensure Successful Breastfeeding with Postpartum Depression

Recovering from a Precipitous Labor

If you’re not familiar with the term precipitous labor, it basically means a labor that lasts less than 3 hours from the start of the first contraction until the baby is born.

It is sometimes referred to as a precipitate birth or delivery, rapid labor, fast labor or a plain, old speedy delivery!

Many women experience a precipitous labor for their second or subsequent deliveries, but having one with a first child is pretty rare (like 3% rare!)

While many women who have NOT experienced a precipitous labor might think this sounds like a blessing, it’s not all it’s chalked up to be.  For more information on that, you can read my post Precipitous Labor: The Traumatic Truth About a Speedy Delivery.

But in this post, I’m going to focus on recovering from a precipitous labor.

What You Need to Know About Recovering from a Precipitous Labor

What You Need to Know About Recovering from a Precipitous Labor

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.  **Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


Recovering from a precipitous labor is… 

well…

precipitous.

That’s right, a fast labor usually means a fast recovery as well.  But don’t start hating on us precipitous laborers just yet…

While laboring quickly generally means less physical trauma and fatigue, it’s not without it’s own set of dangers as well.

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Example 1: Tearing

The whole point of moving slowly through the different phases of labor is to help our bodies stretch and prepare for the giant watermelon we’re about to push out of it.

But with a precipitous labor, our body has less time to warm up for the big push and can result in some pretty bad tearing. Usually there isn’t time (or need) for an episiotomy, so the degree and direction of tearing can be unpredictable.

Stitches down below make for a very uncomfortable postpartum recovery period.  There are several different home remedies available, but ice will become your best friend.

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial from Swaddles n’ Bottles for DIY “padsicles to help reduce swelling and pain.

Swaddles n’ Bottles

Example 2: Overdoing it

We’re all supermoms and the faster we can get out of bed after giving birth and back to our regular routine – the stronger we are, right?

Not necessarily…

While we may feel GREAT immediately after a 3 hour (or less) labor, it doesn’t mean that our bodies have completely healed.  The first few hours, days, even weeks after giving birth are essential to the healing process and should never be rushed.


There are several parts of the postpartum recovery period that do NOT occur precipitously.

The Uterus

The uterus needs to shrink back down to it’s normal size and that process can take up to 6 weeks or more.

As the uterus contracts back to it’s normal size, some women experience cramping (similar to menstrual cramps), especially while breastfeeding.

However, some women do not feel any cramping or discomfort at all.

Everyone experiences it differently, but for me, it was severely worse than the labor pains itself and got more intense after each delivery.

I was given drugs for the pain, but since I was breastfeeding, I turned to essential oils and heat (both heat bags and stick-on heat pads) to help me get through it instead.

Whether you feel it or not, the uterus is still contracting and will need plenty of time to shrink back down.

Skin to Skin Contact

Stay in bed with that baby!

It might be tempting to get up and do things because you feel great but the skin to skin contact in the first 36-48 hours is essential to bonding and breastfeeding success!

Regardless of where you spend those first few hours after birth, whether its a hospital or birth center or in your own home, just stay in the bed and hold that baby for as long as you can.

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Blood Pressure

Roughly 24 hours after giving birth to my second child, I experienced something I had NEVER experienced before in my entire life – high blood pressure.

I had resumed all my normal activities less than 12 hours after giving birth to her and because of that, my body didn’t have time to heal.  In addition to the high blood pressure, I developed a fever, severe headache, nausea, swollen hands and feet, blurred vision and dizzy spells.

It’s called postpartum preeclampsia and it’s rare for women who did not experience preeclampsia while pregnant.  Thankfully, some rest helped my blood pressure regulate and I didn’t develop any further complications or need medication but it can become quite serious if left untreated.

The Baby Blues

Those hormones will be in full swing after giving birth.  For months your body has been working hard to maintain two humans and now it has to adjust back down to one.  The baby blues affect nearly 80% of all mothers postpartum, so it’s something to prepare for after giving birth, whether or not you’ve had a precipitous labor.

Hormonal imbalances, unfortunately, don’t often work themselves out precipitously…

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Postpartum Depression

Ahhhh… my favorite topic.  Let me be clear when I say that there is no known link between precipitous labor and postpartum depression.  Many believe that a traumatic labor can lead to postpartum depression but precipitous labor is not always a traumatic experience.  In fact, many women who have one really DO feel lucky and blessed that they were spared a long labor and delivery.

Prenatal & Postpartum Depression - Vanessa's Story
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However, since postpartum depression seems to have no pattern whatsoever of who it chooses as it’s victims, it’s best to be prepared.

In my own, personal postpartum depression story, I talk about how I rushed through my recovery with my second child and eventually wound up getting postpartum depression.  I can’t say for certain that it had anything at all to do with my mental state, but I DO regret rushing my postpartum recovery period.

Postpartum Depression Resources


Everything happens so quickly when it comes to having kids.

There are moments and memories that we can hold onto and savor each second of – and there are some that we have no control over.  While we may not be able to choose whether or not we have a precipitous labor, we CAN choose not to rush our recovery.

What You Need to Know About Recovering from a Precipitous Labor
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Sara’s Postpartum Depression Story

Continue reading “Sara’s Postpartum Depression Story”