Nurse Shares Her Story Of Typical and Atypical Postpartum Behavior

When I was writing my book, Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum a Disorders, I believed it was crucial to include personal stories shared by my patients. Naturally, names were changed, but I was certain real-life accounts would resonate more with readers than an academic overview of the condition.

My intuition was correct, as many women have told me that these true stories gave them the courage to disclose to their families the severe difficulties they were facing after the baby’s birth. And, my message of positive growth, transformation and healing showed there could be a brighter future at the end of their struggle.

For that reason, I was impressed with this recent article written by a postpartum nurse that appeared in the Huffington Post. My immediate reaction was to admire her bravery in her willingness to disclose her own experience of suffering for 18 years. She did this, she says, in the hope that others who are afflicted with similar experiences, will rush to get help.

As I’ve often said, and this nurse seconds, the illness should not go untreated for years, as did hers. And, she emphasizes the importance of getting help from a mental health professional that specializes in perinatal emotional illness. With good treatment, women can recover fully and oftentimes positive outcomes and transformations will result.

Here are a few examples of what the nurse says are normal, and not normal behaviors following childbirth:

-Postpartum blues is normal. You can usually shake it off with a shower or a coffee date. With PPD, you may not even care to shower or get out of bed.

-Days, week, and months in which you are physically and mentally exhausted are normal. But if six, eight, ten, or eighteen months later, you are waking up every single morning with a feeling of gloom and dread at the day ahead, it is is not normal.

-Becoming frustrated when your child has been crying for 13 hours in a row is normal. But muttering over and over, “I don’t like this baby I don’t like this baby I don’t like this baby,” is not normal.

-Wishing you had never had a child, and immediately regretting the wish, is normal. But picturing yourself throwing your baby against the wall is not normal.

-Going out for milk by yourself so you can have a “mommy break” is normal. However, contemplating driving past your house after you’ve picked up the milk, in order to speed your minivan into a brick wall is not normal.


~ by ppdsus on August 7, 2014.

2 Responses to “Nurse Shares Her Story Of Typical and Atypical Postpartum Behavior”

  1. Fabulous post from a postpartum nurse. Wish she had been mine. At my discharge while my husband was getting the car, I was obviously having an anxiety attack. The nurse told me to get over it. I was going home and I had a baby to take care of. I didn’t put this in direct quotes because I don’t remember the actual words. But that was the takeaway.

  2. Thanks for your comments and personal experience. I wish she had been your nurse too.. sorry there’s still health care professionals who would say such a thing as “get over it.”

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