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Understanding PTSD and Postpartum Mood Disorders

Updated: Apr 23, 2018

I cannot believe how many women I have spoke to over the last three years who have all admitted they had some version of Postpartum Anxiety, Depression, or OCD and how the traumatic first year has made them feel like survivors of PTSD. These are women I know personally and random women I meet who I just start speaking with about their experience.

There are some underlying themes I find with the women I have spoken to:

Many are incredibly accomplished in their professional lives and tend to be driven with a tendency to overcompensate to be perfect. Could they have been diagnosed with anxiety prior to having a child ....maybe but some of the most successful people I know live on the stress of doing well and overworking (not saying I am a fan of that but I used to be in that boat..before the PTSD Postpartum rocked my world.) It seems as if this group struggles the most with "I have zero control of my life now and I feel like I am failing."

The second theme I see is a real lack of social support (which aligns with most of the research). Not having a close system in place such as helpful friends and family to come assist during the adjustment period can really be isolating and overwhelming. Even if we have someone to come stay with us, they eventually have to go home and we are left trying to figure out how we are going to manage to keep our baby alive and ourselves as well.

Think of this: how do they interrogate POWs? They do not them have any consistent sleep, they do not give them food, they even have had babies crying on audios which play over and over. We accept that these POWs have PTSD and yet - how is that any different from becoming a first time mom. While Postpartum mood disorders can affect any woman with any birth, not just the first, it seems many moms of only children to whom I have spoken all have the same thought - I cannot go through it again. As if asking a veteran to go back to the frontlines.

Thoughts? I would love to hear any feedback you might have on the topic!

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