Friday, September 5, 2008

Letting Go of the Pills, Postpartum Depression (part 3)

After I recognized my depression and sought treatment, things started getting much better. I took my medication as prescribed and did not stop just because I "felt better". About two weeks after my initial appointment, a nurse from the Women's Group called me to see how I was doing. And I was really happy to report that I already felt more "stable", more grounded.

My nurse practitioner advocated staying on an antidepressant for a PPD diagnosis for at least twelve months. Additionally, since my twelve months would "expire" during the wintertime, she wanted me to stick with it for another three months so that we were well into Spring. Apparently, women who are prone to PPD can also be susceptible to SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

For fifteen months, I took that tiny blue pill faithfully. I didn't have any horrible side effects, though I did put on about 15-20 pounds- not enough to even make me "overweight", but enough that I felt out-of-shape and dissatisfied. Still, I kept with it and stayed busy parenting two under two.

The Spring after my daughter turned one, my prescription was about to run out. I met with my doctor and we formulated a "weaning" plan where I would take a half pill for the last week and then stop the medication. I was under strict orders to call right away if I started feeling at all strange or "off".

I never did. I felt great. I bought a treadmill and got back in great shape. Those extra pounds fell off quickly. I felt healthy and strong and ready to face anything.

Looking back, I am so thankful for all the people who stepped in to help me. I'm thankful for my supportive husband. Thankful for my family who were always there to listen. Thankful for the nurses in the NICU who helped make the appointment at the Women's Center. And thankful to the NP who diagnosed me.

Mostly, I am thankful for all the women and health professionals who paved the way before me. The ones who spread the word about this condition and the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment.

If you're currently struggling with these feelings, I encourage you to talk to someone. Make sure you seek help, whether through medication, therapy, or some combination. If you've dealt with PPD in your past, I would love to hear from you in the comments. Your words could be just the encouragement another mother needs...


Kacie said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm glad you had a happy ending!

I'm 23 weeks pregnant with my first child.

I live far from friends and family and I'm slightly concerned this could put me at a higher risk for PPD. I will be talking with my health care provider so she'll keep a close eye on me in the time after my delivery.

It's good to know that if I do develop PPD (hoping not!) that there are solutions available.

JessieLeigh said...

Kacie- I, too, was far from friends and family and living in quite an isolated area. I certainly wouldn't say that those things "caused" by PPD, but it certainly didn't help to be missing that "support system" either.

Have a happy, healthy pregnancy and enjoy it! Try not to worry too much, but you're wise to be aware of the signs. Good luck!

Dan and Natalie said...

you have a wonderful blog, I wish I would have found it in March. My water broke at 22 weeks with my 4th baby and I stayed in hospital for 10 weeks an delivered 4lb 4oz baby.It was actually the best experience.As I left my other 3 children(all under 5) at home with grandma and daddy.My daughter is healthy and happy now 14 weeks old, women will need support like you're offering and I think you're a huge blessing.
God Bless you and your miracle