On being a postpartum depression survivor who had another baby

02/13/2012 at 9:16 pm | Posted in PPD | 7 Comments

When Lily was about three weeks old, I bombed the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I was scared, incredibly sleep-deprived (with insomnia on top of the baby waking every hour of the night) and feeling profoundly hopeless.

Suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety.

And trying to hide it.

About six weeks later, I finally sought out the help I needed. And I healed. But I sure wish I’d discovered then the wonderful online community of survivor moms that I’m part of today, led by the fearless Katherine Stone of Postpartum Progress.

Because the second time around, these women I’ve never met in real life played a huge role in my survival of the newborn experience. Amber Koter-Puline, who authors Beyond Postpartum and was pregnant at the same time I was carrying Sophie, corraled a handful of us moms preparing for more children after having survived a perinatal mood disorder. Many of us were pregnant, and each one of those babies born in the past year is a sign of hope. And progress.

I leaned heavily on this group. Especially during those endless hours in the nursery, rocking and rocking and rocking Sophie with my phone as my only connection to the outside world. I wrote the group for advice on medications, breastfeeding, going back to work, everything. And I tried to respond to others’ needs as best I could.

We held each other up, shared photos of our kids and rejoiced in each birth or piece of adoption news.

And now, a year after our group formed, we’re taking our conversations public.

All this week on Postpartum Progress, we’re sharing our stories, our collective wisdom and advice to other survivor moms who might be hoping for another child. Here’s the first installment. Each day we’ll discuss a different topic, and toward the end of the week you’ll see an unedited email exchange from this past fall when we rallied around Grace, who had just given birth.

I’m proud to be part of this little group of amazing women. And I really hope that our words and experiences can bring hope to others.

Having a second baby after surviving postpartum depression was a terrifying proposition for me, to risk that degree of suffering again.

But I took the leap, and I’m fine, thanks in no small part to these women.

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7 Comments »

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  1. It’s amazing what a good support network can do!

  2. Wish I had known about you, or Postpartum Progress, when I first had my daughter. Not sure if I had full-blown PPD, but the first four months were beyond nightmarish. I finally made myself go to see a therapist — just the simple act of talking with her lifted so much weight from my shoulders! I’m loving motherhood now, but it’s scary to think about the possibility of another child and how I’ll handle it while still being a good parent to my first.

  3. What a great thing you ladies are doing! I’m sure you’re helping more women than you can even know.

  4. I’m so proud of you sis. You’re such a strong and brave woman. I can’t think of a better role model…actually, hero!…for Lily and Sophie to have as a mom. You rock!

  5. Thanks for sharing this, and will look forwardvto reading the series! Definitely something I’m interested in and concerned about if we go for number two…

  6. Proud of you my Baby After PPD survivor sister! xoxo

    • Thanks, friend. Proud of you too! Big time. xo!


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