Saturday, December 29, 2007

Other Pieces of my Healing Journey from PPD


- When I could, I journaled and got feelings out on paper. When I couldn’t sleep at night, I stayed up and communicated with “real people” via email (ICAN and friends). Sometimes, I wrote emails to my husband and sent them in the middle of the night because, honestly, he’d probably read the email before we’d have a chance to talk it over anyway. This worked for me because I’m a writer and writing helps me be 100% honest, and release what’s inside of me. Creating this blog has been very helpful, especially when I read responses from other women who have found my posts. Very, very helpful.

- I went to the library and tried to find helpful books. Most of them seemed so “surface level” and unhelpful and unreal. Brooke Shield’s book was great, in that it spoke the truth about how awful PPD can be, but her reality (hiring a baby nurse, and having so many financial resources at her disposal) simply didn’t resonate. Plus, I didn’t want to take drugs, so I couldn’t really identify with her treatment choice. The book “Rebounding from Childbirth” by Lynn Madsen was a godsend. This was the book I’d been waiting for, particularly in the way it addressed the PTSD from my C-section. It was focused more on birth than motherhood, so is more helpful from a PTSD standpoint, than PPD. I posted more on PPD books in another post on this blog. Mostly helpful.

- I even tried cooking my placenta – but I didn’t know how to do it. Not sure if I did it right, so I was nervous to take the pills. I finally took some about 15 months after my son was born… I wish I’d had someone to prepare it for me, and I wish I’d taken it right away after the C-section. That probably would have helped tremendously. ???

- Writing my birth stories out and posting them on my blog and sending them to ICAN – making them public. Very helpful.

- Watching my birth video to see what really happened. Helpful.

- Exercise really helped boost my mood, and it made me feel like I had control of something again. It was something just for me, and something that made me feel like I was reclaiming the old, strong parts of me. Having personal trainer help me get on track was a lifesaver, particularly because she helped me with exercises I could do with Evan around, and particularly because she came to my house. Very helpful.

- Eating well played a huge role for me. What helped was making sure I was taking cod liver oil (for the EFAs), getting enough vitamins/minerals, protein (to feel strong), and vegetables. Minimizing sugar, avoiding caffeine and alcohol like the plague. Very helpful.

- I had to use hypnosis/relaxation tapes to help me get to sleep at night, because I had flashbacks. It was really hard to sleep for a long time, but I finally figured out that if my husband told me stories that he made up himself, his voice and the mundane-ness of the stories would lull me to sleep. Helpful.

- I joined a Postpartum Depression Task Force that had just started up in my area (the North Shore of Boston) – I was the only member of the task force who had been through PPD, and so sharing my story and keeping the Task Force honest around the realities of PPD has been very helpful. Also, setting boundaries for myself with the Task Force (I attend meetings, but don’t do much in-between work) has been good for my “keep life simple” mind. Also, knowing 40+ new people who could support me if I got PPD again has been a relief. I’m creating a community that could one day support me, if I need it. It’s good to see how far I’ve come, and it’s great to be in a setting where I can use my mind and leadership skills to help create change. Helpful.

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