Now that Enzo is almost a year old, I’ve been flooded with so many emotions about what I experienced and went through almost a year ago. It can be crippling to take myself back to those dark places that I was in and it can be hard to remember those times. But it always reminds me to be thankful for where God has taken me and my family since then. Last night I had the honor to see a screening of a documentary titled “The Dark Side of the Full Moon.” It’s about perinatal mood disorders (postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, etc.) and the lack of support and training in the medical world for these disorders.
If you have a chance to view this film, I highly recommend it. Even if you have never dealt with this issue personally, I think it’s great for people to see and take the stigma away from these postpartum issues. By educating people about the reality of these issues, it will allow women to seek the help they need without fear of being judged, being told they are crazy, or being told that they just need to “suck it up” because they chose to have a baby. It can also relieve the fear that many new moms with these issues may feel because they are scared if they say anything or seek help, that their baby may get taken away.
According to the film, 1 in 5 new moms will experience perinatal mood disorders and that’s huge. I had no idea how big of a problem it was or what postpartum depression/anxiety even looked like until I experienced it myself. Without God, a supportive husband and the right connections, my symptoms could have lasted much, much longer than the four months that they did. After seeing this film and seeing how many suicides and deaths can happen because of these postpartum issues, it has made me beyond thankful that God never allowed me to get to the point where I wanted to harm myself or my child. It breaks my heart to see those women who struggled in silence and took their life or their child’s life when they could have been given help. If treated properly, these mood disorders will go away. They don’t last forever, it’s not the new normal. But in the midst of those feelings it is so difficult to recognize that.
I just started volunteering with the Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas (PPHA) which is non-profit dedicated to ensuring that all families in the greater Austin area receive the support they need during pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period and the transition to parenthood. Their website provides resources for new moms, families and providers in order to allow people suffering with this to get the help they need. I’m so excited to be a part of something that can truly make a difference for moms and their families.
Perinatal mood disorders, according to the film, are the number one complication of childbirth. The fact that there are so few resources for moms dealing with this, breaks my heart. Postpartum depression needs more than a prescription for Xanax. It needs support, follow up, sleep, nutrition, methods for coping with the negative thoughts and feelings and other moms to talk to. I’m hoping through this organization I can use my story to make a difference in someone else’s life.
To read more about my past experience, you can read my old post here.