Originally published in the In Jerusalem, January 13, 2017
I would not have admitted to ANYONE what I was going through. I wore my “great mother” face publicly. I admitted to being tired, a bit overwhelmed, but nothing I did not perceive as “normal with a small baby.” The only times I used the phrase postpartum depression was to my therapists and to Google….if you admit to wanting to harm your baby or yourself, people judge you. When you say you’re overwhelmed, people understand that… They don’t get that you feel like you are drowning and can’t see the way out. They don’t get that you literally feel suffocated and are grasping to hang on.
–Naomi 40, on her experience with PPD
It often takes a tragedy to raise public awareness of many people suffering in silence. The shocking murder suicide of a mother and her children in Jerusalem brought the words postpartum psychosis and postpartum depression to the headlines across the country.
Approximately one in eight women experience PPD, but the public knows little about it. Like other mental illnesses, few want to discuss it.
To break the taboos and open the conversation, I turned to some experts to understand what to look out for and what to do if someone seems to need help.
Ahava Winston, the director of NITZA, dedicated solely to helping women suffering prenatal and postpartum reactions, explains, “Postpartum psychosis and postpartum depression are only two of the numerous potential reactions related to pregnancy and birth. The most common is Postpartum Blues, which affects 80-90% of women… and usually resolves on its own within the first two weeks….it can however, become PP Adjustment Disorder, which affects one in five women, where a woman functions outwardly, but feels anxiety and self-doubt. With support, PPAD can resolve without professional intervention. However, without emotional and instrumental support, it may deteriorate into the more serious clinical reaction, Postpartum Depression. Continue reading