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A Fit Pregnancy
editor experiences, and recovers from, postpartum depression after the birth of her first baby. > By KIM ACOSTA
her daughte kre
, ep you feeling
our weeks into my new role as “mother,” i had a ter-rifying thought. it dawned on me that i might never emerge from the tearful, confused, sleep-deprived state i had been in
Kim Acosta, Overland Park, kan.
since we brought our newborn daughter, Hope, home from
kim’s tips for dealing with postpartum depression:
the hospital. i couldn’t shake the crushing feeling that my baby might not survive because of my sheer ineptitude.
>> Read Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and
Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression
those first few weeks home, i spent every day feeling lost. i
S. Bennett, Ph.D. (Moodswings Press). It will help you and
couldn’t eat, i couldn’t sleep, and i cried a lot, which is unlike
loved ones better grasp what you’re going through.
me. i constantly had a pit in my stomach; i felt like Hope wasn’t [>> Have the courage to tell someone—your
mother or doctor—how you’re real y feeling. You to blame, and you are not alone.
>> Believe that things will improve. There are saf
treatments for postpartum depression. For more fitpregnancy.com/lifeafterbirth and postpar
getting what she needed from me because she would cry. the idea
of giving both of us time to get acquainted or simply accepting that sometimes babies cry was not on my radar.
Despite my inner turmoil, on the outside i acted as if every-
thing was normal. Around me, people would discuss their day,
movies, politics—regular topics of conversation—and i couldn’t believe they were talking about such mundane things. i wondered why no one could see that i was in crisis. At the same time, i tried to ignore how i was feeling and kept everything inside.
eventually, however, i told my mother-in-law what i was going
to get help finding my way back to “me” again. About five months
through. Because my depression seemed pretty severe to her, she
later, when my daily life felt manageable and with my doctor’s
recommended i talk to my doctor and/or a therapist.
consent, i weaned myself off the lexapro.
Her words were hard for me to hear, but i took her advice
on April 10, 2007, my husband rich, Hope (then 20 months)
and called a therapist recommended by my pediatrician. i started
and i welcomed the newest addition to our family, Gabriel Bruce.
going to weekly talk therapy sessions, taking the antidepressant
i didn’t expect to get PPD again, but when Gabe was about 3
lexapro and getting three-plus hours of uninterrupted sleep
months old, some of the symptoms returned. taking care of both
at a time. i also opened up to friends who were new mothers;
Gabriel’s and Hope’s needs overwhelmed me. i cried a lot, and
although none of them had postpartum depression, or PPD, it
dreaded the days without help from my mom or mother-in-law.
was helpful to share stories with them. After about two months,
i called my doctor, got back on medication, and started seeing
the idea of caring for Hope no longer terrified me, and finally i
a counselor who specializes in postpartum issues. i am also going
started feeling like myself again. the therapist helped me see the
to a PPD support group this time. Gabe is 10 months old and i’m
immense pressure i had put on myself and Hope.
feeling much better and am able to enjoy both of my children more.
the day Hope giggled for the first time, i understood what
the combination of the medication, therapy and the support group
all the new-baby fuss was about. i could almost feel my heart
all help. it’s a long process, but getting it out in the open and taking
expanding with joy. i felt thankful that i had found the courage
care of yourself is essential to taking care of your family. mb
MOM&BABY SPRING/SUMMER 2008 www.fitpregnancy.com
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