Google+ Hangout for May Support Groups

PPD Support HI is embracing technology and leaping in to the cyberworld via “Hangouts” with Google+.  This is like talking with others on Skype, but you can have up to ten people in a Hangout, chatting at one time.

First you need Google +  Do this.  https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=oz&continue=https://plus.google.com/?gpcaz%3Dcf69c78e&hl=en

Then you need the Hangouts application.  Here’s a video explaining how to get it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkMBrY2pBiw&feature=related

With the app installed, you are ready to join a Hangout.  See how it works, here.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5kdr7N6nPg&feature=channel

We’re giving it a shot on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of May from 9:00 pm., that way you may be able to get the baby down for the evening so you can video chat.

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Promoting Positive Attachment Training 3-16-12

Aloha all,

Sorry to add this after the fact.  I know, I know, it’s like the local news showing all the great things you missed out on today, instead of telling you ahead of the event.

This engaging and informative training was developed by Same Small Boat Productions, LLC, Global Rights Reserved.  Written, Directed, and Produced by: Lynn B. Wilson, PhD, Sharon Taba, MEd.  You can see their video, aimed at those who work with children 0-3 and their families, over on YouTube.  Promoting Positive Attachment Video

Those attending included providers from PATCH, PACT,  Care Hawaii, Child & Family Services and programs from around the state.  What was delightful and unusual about the training was how the answers were drawn out of the participants–the people who were there to learn.  It felt very empowering.

Many aspects of “PPD”came up, along side positive attachment and lack thereof.  As more and more poster-sized papers were attached to the wall–with more and more descriptions of what one might see in a parent with “PPD”–the queasier my stomach felt.  My co-speaker/PPD survivor and I would go on next, to talk about our own experiences.  MY perception was of needing to clear away cobwebs before anyone could see us.  –two individuals who experienced some aspects of some of the things people brought up.  I find my reaction weird, as I normally easily volunteer my story, symptoms, my perceived causes, treatment…

I never felt tv-commercial-depressed, with that down and worn out kind of energy.  I was super anxious and had little ability to sleep.  My co-speaker and I both had “going to sleep anxiety” after a bit–because our sleep had been so disrupted, attempting to go to sleep tonight brought back last night’s unsuccessful attempt.  The night before’s attempt.  It was like sleep PTSD…post traumatic sleeplessness disturbance.

I didn’t cry much.  Didn’t feel sad.  I just worried.  As the sleep deprivation continued, I tried to control stuff.  Until my postpartum anxiety, I consider myself very competent.  Instead, I became an extreme worrier,  considering all the “what ifs” any new parent can imagine.  The scary thoughts known as PPD w/ocd.

To hear from other parents about their experiences, check out the Postpartum Support International video, Healthy Mom, Happy FamilyThe Fathers Respond video comes on after the moms, and they share what it’s like to support someone through this challenging period.  The moms’ experiences reflect mine to various degrees, and they each “ring true” from what I have heard from moms over the past 11 years, talking/replying with over a thousand moms personally.

Their experiences are well represented, as is mine, on a terrific graphic from the Pacific Post Partum Support Society, in Vancouver, BC.  Titled A Multidimensional Explanation of Postpartum Depression, it was eagerly devoured at one of the recent PPD Support HI support group meetings.  The parents felt the graphic captured their experiences accurately.  The general categories included:

  1. general losses or changes
  2. physiological
  3. psychodynamic
  4. anthropological
  5. psychosocial
  6. personality

Under those six general categories there are 30 possibilities.   A couple I see/hear frequently are having very high standards for oneself and/or some degree of perfectionism.  <waves hand>  Beyond those, there is a broad net cast as to “why” someone might develop a prenatal or postpartum mood challenge.  While the list of 30 possibilities is not comprehensive, it’s the best I’ve seen.  It feels like it came up from a group of survivors.

All this, and I have to say, I’m impressed with the breadth of knowledge the attendees.  This training style will definitely impact the trainings that PPD Support HI plans in the future, in a positive way.

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Check your birth control!

If you and/or your doctor think you may have postpartum something (depression, anxiety, ocd, panic…stress etc.), well, have a full blood work panel done, with T-3 & T-4 thyroid tests as well. 

If all that comes back normal, doublecheck your birth control!  Yes, your birth control. (hormones…)

Perhaps you’ve given birth and have decided not to rely on breastfeeding as your birth control, or you’re not nursing, or you’re done.  You start birth control.  Soon after (days later, or maybe longer), you start to feel moody, angry and other things that might be seen as “PPD”.

Or maybe you already were diagnosed with postpartum something, already on medication and were feeling okay, but recently? ….not so much.  Did you just start birth control?  One of my cyber axe-murderer ppd friends started the bc patch.  A few days later she felt like she was wigging out.  She thought it might be her patch, so she removed it.  …just as quickly as she started feeling “off”, she was as quickly back to where she’d been.  Feeling pretty good again.  “On” again.

The usual suspects are apparently the progesterone-only types of birth control.  The mini-pill, the patch (Ortho Evra), Implanon, the Mirena IUD, Depo-Provera (“the shot”).

At least with the patch you can take it off.  The mini-pill you can stop taking.  But “the shot” has to wear off, in 12 to 14 potentially miserable weeks.  Removing the Implanon or Mirena is something your doctor would do. 

Some of these don’t mention depression as a potential side effect.  “Your mileage may vary,” meaning, just because depression is listed as a potential side effect doesn’t mean it will effect you.  Or if depression isn’t listed, it doesn’t mean the birth control isn’t doing something that has you feeling depressed.  It might be doing it anyway, regardless of what the patient information sheet says.

Bottom line is, you know yourself and your body best.  Listen closely.  Then talk with your doctor.

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There’s a Variety of Flavors under the PPD Umbrella: Thriving after PPD w/anxiety & OCD?

By Diane Ashton, LSW

Chances are, when someone mentions postpartum depression, images of antidepressant television ads come to mind, with a woman talking about how she can’t get out of bed, how she feels sad and that depression hurts.  Or perhaps horrible news stories flash to mind.  It’s understandable that it’s the rare mother who would want to be associated with that stigma.

Fortunately, the variety of pregnancy and postpartum disorders are more and more recognized, and with that, the stigma diminishes.  Here’s the quick list:

  • Pregnancy and/or Postpartum Depression
  • Pregnancy and/or Postpartum Anxiety
  • Pregnancy and/or Postpartum Panic
  • Pregnancy and/or Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (scary thoughts)
  • Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Postpartum Psychosis (rare [1 or 2 per 1000 births], but serious)

As someone who experienced postpartum anxiety with OCD, I didn’t find the proper name for that difficult time until about 5 years afterwards.  Oprah had Marie Osmond on her show, and they were talking about some book Marie wrote, “Behind the Smile; My Journey out of Postpartum Depression.”  Five minutes later I was on the internet in a discussion forum reading stuff from women who said things about their experiences that resonated with mine.  Oprah “diagnosed” me. I was thrilled!  It had a name!

So far here in Hawaii, women are usually diagnosed with “PPD”.  At the PPD Support Hawaii support group though, women identify with the other flavors too–anxiety, panic, OCD and PTSD.  Actually, the majority seems to have one of the anxiety types, and/or PTSD versus the cant’-get-out-of-bed depression.  In fact, the name, “PPD” makes it harder to find help when one doesn’t feel down or depressed.

One of the latest varieties under the umbrella to finally be recognized officially is postpartum PTSD.  PTSD is most-often associated with war and the trauma of facing battle.  But anytime a person perceives a threat to their own life or that of a loved one, PTSD can be an appropriate fit.

Many women who end up with an emergency Caesarian section get PTSD.  It may be all the rush-rush-rush and hush-hush-hush of a white-faced medical team racing down the hallway with mom-to-be on a gurney or a stern-sounding statement from the doctor saying something about the cord being around baby’s neck and “we could lose him/her” that pushes mom’s brain over the edge into a nightmare.  Maybe during the c-section she lost a ton of blood and the doctors scared her about her own life and survival (who will raise my baby!!!).  Or even, something about baby seems drastically wrong.  The cord.  Being blue. Not responding and breathing right away.  There are so many things that can sound horrendously scary when one is so vulnerably stuck on a rolling bed with white coat-wearing professionals all around.  Perhaps the woman opted to bypass an epidural, gets an emergency c-section but has no memory of the actual birth—just the rush down the hall and flurry of stressed out doctors.  Did she actually have the baby yet?  Is that really her baby?  How can she know?  What happened?  WHY?

From the women I’ve talked with, who have endured birth-related PTSD, many seem to have a stuck moment in time that they cannot easily get away from.  It’s a glaring, frozen time period, so bright that it’s hard to look at closely, at all really, especially for any length of time.

Tiny peeks back at what happened, over time, in a safe and validating environment can help alleviate the “charge” that some unexpected reminder, or trigger, can elicit.  A trigger could be something as simple as driving past the hospital where the birth took place.  It could be the smells experienced at the birth, the noise, or any number of things somehow tied to the event that triggers flashes of the violent or traumatic memory.  As long as it was perceived as such, that is the woman’s truth.

Recognition of the condition as a birth-related event can help, and can help for finding appropriate treatment.  While postpartum PTSD is under the umbrella of PPD, finding a PTSD therapist who understands birth trauma can be yet another challenge.  Sometimes talking to peers with similar feelings can be a good option, or “as good as it gets.”  A prescription for an antidepressant, while appropriate in many other situations, isn’t necessarily the treatment for PTSD related to child-birth.

To find out more about any of the mentioned conditions or talk with someone who understands, see the links below.  PPD Support Hawaii offers a warm line (call you back within 24 hours), as does Postpartum Support International (PSI).  PSI also has a free Wednesday “Chat with an Expert” for women every week.  There’s also men’s chat on Mondays—the first Monday of the month.  http://www.postpartum.net/Get-Help/PSI-Chat-with-an-Expert.aspx

There is just no reason to suffer.  All of the varieties under the PPD umbrella are very treatable.  You’re not alone, you didn’t cause your condition, and with help you will be well again.

Resources:

www.PPDsupportHI.wordpress.com PPD Support Hawaii

www.Postpartum.net Postpartum Support International

www.PostpartumProgress.com Most widely read blog on postpartum mood issues.

www.tabs.org.nz Trauma and Birth Stress

originally posted at The Birth Lounge, 8/28/11. Mahalo!
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Oahu Preg & Postpartum Distress group

…held the 1st & 3rd Mondays, from 7-8:30 pm in the Kapolei area. For more information: Contact Us.

Whether you’re having a rough pregnancy or the baby has arrived, things just aren’t going as expected… join other new/expecting moms for support, understanding, information and resources.

De-stress your distress. The topic (PPD) isn’t happy, but we do have some laughter and enjoyment, along with relief and hope.

Infants (in car seats/strollers) welcome. We also have Family Nights quarterly, to lend support, understanding, information and resources to spouses/partners and family.

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There is No PPD w/ocd in Hawaii…

…okay, well, I mean there IS, but you rarely, if ever, hear someone refer to it.

A mom called me recently and said she’d been diagnosed with PP ocd.  I was surprised, to say the least.  “Really?  PPD w/ocd?  Were you diagnosed in Hawaii?” Well, no, it turns out she had talked to someone on the mainland.

I know what it is.  I lived it.  I’d learned about PPD w/ocd (PP ocd) on national discussion boards, when I logged on to a Postpartum Depression board in 2001.  It was all very hush hush at the time.  Shameful even.  –the nature of the obsessions (thoughts) from ocd is generally harmful/scary. It’s as if one’s mama bear protection instinct is on overdrive, and throwing up these thoughts/images of all the things a new mom has to look out for, to protect their little one.  The “what if’s” playing out in worst case scenario. …you’re prepping dinner, cutting up chicken… “What if….?”

Not generally something you want to talk about over lunch with your new mommy friends, or even bring up with your own doctor.

The awareness of PPD w/ocd has gotten better, but still isn’t well-known in Hawaii.  To find out more, Get the Facts here.  Print out some information and take it with you to your doctor.  The condition is very treatable, and it doesn’t mean you want to hurt anyone.

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She said, “Women who get depressed after childbirth…

should stop having babies, because obviously they feel overwhelmed or sad or they lost their freedom…  If having a baby depresses them then, stop having them,” all in a well-modulated and apparently caring tone of voice.  She does care that the children deserve more than a depressed mother.  So does the husband, she pointed out.  She even mentioned the mom herself.  And I believe she was sincere.

She is probably not alone in her thinking.  At first glance, it makes sense, right?  Babies make you depressed, so stop having them.  Like…, eating shrimp makes you break out in hives, so stop eating shrimp.  Even if you love eating shrimp, you break out in hives.  So stop.

Oh wait.  You love your children?  Even though you tend to get depressed (that’s Depression, not “depressed”) during the perinatal period, you love your children.  …so..stop having them???

Fortunately, it’s not that simple, and there are things you can do if you do find yourself experiencing depression (or anxious, or having scary thoughts, or panicking, etc.).  But that’s another post. (It’s all the other on topic posts here, and the very reason we exist.)

So what is flawed with this woman’s line of thinking?

Part of it is that the women she is talking about (the ones with postpartum depression) aren’t having a moment of “I wish I didn’t have this child” or “I’m having a crappy day with the kids” kind of depression.  Maybe it’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had the experience.  All the women I know who have had “PPD” and have talked to over the past decade have loved their children immensely.  Some tried for years to have them, and yet when they finally did have that long anticipated baby, they became (D)epressed and/or Anxious.

Anyway, I hope she has a nice Mother’s Day tomorrow.

Shrimp, anyone?

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