New Mom loses secret battle with Postpartum Depression

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Holy Hormones Journal:

I am posting this just as I am preparing to depart for Philadelphia to speak at the National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder  (NAPMDD)conference. We are losing too many women to severe depressive disorders that result in suicide. This is not something that a drug can fix. but the drug companies are trying to. Postpartum depression (PPD) has been referred to “postpartum psychosis,” and the latest reference is “maternal mental illness.”  And once there is a label – a drug soon follows. And a few years back Good Morning America reported on using Xanax for new moms to become better mommies. What a horrible feeling it must be bring a baby into the world – wanting to experience the joy of motherhood (since it is expected) – while feeling shamed over a losing battle with depression.

The sad part is that each generation is born with a smaller nutrient reserve – as our food sources have changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. Mother Nature;s grand engineering design for bringing life into the world – is that the fetal body depends on the micronutrients in the maternal body – vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids – for optimal health during pregnancy. If that reserve is not there – there could be health issues for both mother and baby.  The mother is left with whatever nutritional reserve is in her body post-pregnancy and if the reserve is lacking severe depression can set in.

The other thing that needs to be taken into consideration is the high levels of estrogen that we have all been exposed to through our environment. That really skews that estrogen/progesterone ratio in the body. Most of us are estrogen dominant. Meaning that we have too little progesterone and estrogen goes unchecked. During pregnancy progesterone levels rise 10-fold to prevent miscarriage. Progesterone is also known as a “feel-good” hormone and when the pregnancy is over – levels can take a nose-dive – again causing a spiraling down the rabbit hole with no way out.

I am amazed at how many women of child-bearing age develop PMDD post-pregnancy. And many other women take their lives – who are not even pregnant. This is why we are gathering with doctors, researchers and educators in Philadelphia. We need to understand the mechanism identify women at risk – and work on intervention and prevention.

New Mom Takes Her Own Life After Silent Battle With Postpartum Depression: Why All Of Us Must Share Her Friend’s Plea

her View from Home
by Julie Anne Waterfield
September 2, 2016

Allison was a beautiful ray of sunshine in my life.  The life of an Army wife can get lonely at times – moving around so much, searching for new friends, and trying to make a strange house and new town feel like home.  A mil-spouse herself, Allison knew the struggle, and reached out to my husband the very first weekend we moved a few houses down from her in Montgomery, Alabama.  She invited us on a blind friend date with her and her husband, Justin.  It wasn’t long into our first dinner together that I knew we hit the friend and neighbor jackpot.  It was easy to be drawn to Allison.  She was incredibly witty and had an amazing ability to make everyone around her feel welcome, included, and loved.  I knew we would be lifelong friends.

With both of us expecting our first child, Allison due a few months before me, we had a lot of similar experiences that year in Montgomery.  We shared pregnancy together, eating cupcakes regularly, waddling around the neighborhood, and alternating as the designated driver so our husbands could enjoy drinking for two on the weekends.  Allison’s career as an early childhood educator, coupled with adoration for her niece and nephews, portrayed her love and experience with little ones.  I trusted her baby sense, and copied everything she did.  I chose the same OB group, the same stroller and car seat, even the same nursing tanks and nipple shields.  I wanted to be just like her.  She was adorable, healthy, smart, funny, loyal, supportive, and oh so sweet.  Every time she greeted me with my giant belly, she said, “You look beautiful!”  Of course I didn’t think so when I looked in the mirror, but she made me feel so good.  Allison was a great friend.  She handled pregnancy and motherhood beautifully…on the outside.

On the inside, less than 200 feet away from me every day, Allison was silently struggling with Postpartum Depression.  I had NO idea.  I inquired about her postpartum hormones after baby Ainslee was born.  I bluntly asked her, “Do you feel crazy? Do you cry a lot?”  I wanted to know for myself and prepare for what I would soon be experiencing with the birth of our baby.  She responded that she cries some, but mostly happy tears about Ainslee gaining weight and the appearance of little chunky baby rolls, about how precious she is to her, and what a good father Justin is.  Why didn’t I dig further?  I regret every day that I accepted her answer.

My beautiful would-be life-long friend lost her hidden battle with Postpartum depression on June 28th, 2016.  She left behind a loving husband, a precious 4.5 month-old baby girl, and countless family and friends who adored her.  I miss her every day, and I’m not even her family.  The depth of their pain…I cannot fathom.  Her family’s hope, as well as mine, is that PPD is de-stigmatized, and that other struggling mothers may hear her story and seek help.  The truth can be so hard to speak, especially when you feel your truth is shameful.  There is nothing shameful about PPD.  The adjustment to a new way of life as a mother, added to the raging hormones, can be a brutal weight to bear.  It is a weight that never should be carried alone.


Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.