Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My "vacation" into postpartum depression

Last week I had the privilege of attending the annual conference held by Postpartum Support International. It was an amazing experience to talk with authors of the books that helped me, laugh with the founder of the organization, and meet many women who had gone through what I had and were doing something about it. It was inspiring at times, but also angered me at times. ONE in FIVE women will be diagnosed (ideally she will be diagnosed) with a perinatal mood disorder - yet OB's, mental health professionals, pediatricians and the like are not educated on such a marriage-shaking, joy-stealing, crazy-making, potentially life threatening illness... How is it that a beautiful, intelligent attorney can take herself to the hospital with typical PPD OCD symptoms (intrusive thoughts of harming your baby) - and be admitted into a mental insitution?? Someone knowledgeable on just the basics of PPD would know that OCD thoughts are generally horrifying, but not usually something the mother wants to act on. What that woman needed was to talk to a therapist, and probably get on some medication. Instead, she spent three weeks away from her newborn and ended up becoming borderline psychotic in the process (due to her surroundings).

Why is it so hard to find help? I am now the northern California coordinator for PSI. This means that when someone from northern California finds the site and is looking for resources, she (or he) can find my email and number and contact me. Once they do, it is then that my work begins. I will spend about an hour trying to find a therapist or support group that is experienced with perinatal mood disorders (PMD) (side note: A PMD just means that it can happen during or after pregnancy). It shouldn't be so hard finding help for these ladies, but it is. PMD's are a different animal than basic depression, and can't be treated as such. I am not the only woman to meet with a number of therapists before finding one that understood what I was going through. That is the norm.

Being in my first trimester, I was tired... TIRED! So I never really left the hotel and went straight up to bed after our meetings. However, I have to say that the hotel was beautiful, the food was good, the bed was cozy, and the time spent educating myself and building out the new and improved "Kim" - was wonderful. I can't wait to finish my proposal chapters on the book I'm writing, and to get it into the hands of all the women and churches who need it. Cornerstone Fellowship, attendance 5,000, is working with me on starting a support group and educating the staff and surrounding area on this illness. I can only pray that it works and reaches this hurting part of the population.

While I was away Darren took fabulous care of Noah... He played in the water, went out to eat, and even got a haircut! Darren also played with his new toy - a new digital SLR (camera). He is already taking great pics. We also had the opportunity to video chat via our laptops on most days which was so good for my heart.

Anyhow - that was my week - what a blessing. I will leave you with a pic that Dar took while I was gone.

PS: 11 weeks today!


Kellyry said...

It is always so encouraging to spend time with likeminded folks who share your passion. Since talking with you when I was up there, I want to make sure that my education over the next 5 years allows me opportunities to become much more knowledgeable about PPD. While that may not become my speciality, I want to know enough to be able to recognize it in clients so that I can then point them in the right direction to get them the specific help they need, not wasting time with incorrect diagnoses. Thanks for sharing your heart for this.

(So...what kind of camera did you guys get?! Lenses?)

Danaly said...

Almost 12 weeks, hooray!! Love that picture of Noah.

Kori said...

That is awesome Kim!!
So cool that you can see a need and do something about it...Educate yourself, find support and then offer that to others.