Monday, May 2, 2011

On Moms and Mental Health

As the title might suggest, this post has mention of possibly triggering things like post partum depression (PPD), suicidal thoughts, and the like. Read carefully, friends.

Because I can't get this twisted around the way I want without upsetting myself, and being upset (a) makes my blood pressure go up, and (b) has already once led to the subject of whether or not I need anti-depressants, I'm going to skip trying to make it elegant, and just write.


Saturday was a rough day, emotionally speaking. There is no plan; no agreement on whether or not I go home (much less on what I'd need to do to get there or what would be required to stay there) - there's not even agreement on how my labs look, since I've been told both that they're completely normal, and that they're not.

Saturday marked the longest I've ever been away from  Acorn, and my husband brought him in to visit. As you know, we're cautious of exposing him to medical situations, but this room is pretty low key.

Sunday morning, the OB doing rounds approached me about my mental health. Because, you know, the nurse had reported that I was upset, and they didn't want that, and they could prescribe anti-depressants if I was having trouble coping.

Yup, you heard that right. They're diagnosing and treating depression based on one rough afternoon.

Trust me - I know depression, at least mine. There's a huge difference between a crying jag and a depressive episode. 

Now, to be fair, if they went through my charts back at the office, they'd see that they had prescribed anti-depressants after Acorn's birth....less than 24 hours after his birth, for the post-partum depression they assumed I'd have.

Not that I didn't eventually have PPD, mind you...but the script was given before I'd even had time to find my bearings and process what the situation was....before I'd had time to grieve.

I hadn't even seen my baby at that point.

And not that I didn't fail the PPD screening test miserably (though that was a week after I'd been started on meds) - they asked questions like "was your pregnancy complicated?" and "was your baby born with any health concerns?" - and even if Acorn had been a normal full-term baby, I'd've failed, because they asked if you'd ever had depression or been suicidal. I think there were 8 or 9 questions, and I easily answered 5 or 6 with "yes" - so as far as they were concerned, I was super duper high risk.


I think the whole thing is that I'm angered by this assumption that normal emotional responses to stressful situations are unacceptable. That it's not ok to cry, not ok to be sad, not ok to be angry or unhappy. That we mothers have to be cheerful. All. The. Time. No matter what the situation. That we're so fragile that we can't be trusted with our own emotions.

Because if there's anything that the nearly 3 years of Acorn's life has taught me, it's that feelings are ok, and I am much harder to break than I thought


  1. This!

    And I speak as one in the midst of PPD *and* regular depression.

    I wish I could magick your situation into being insta-normal.

  2. I went through this too. I had twins at 24 weeks weighing 1 lb 2 oz and 1 lb 8 oz. I thought everyone else was crazy for expecting me not to feel sad. How can you be happy and cheerful that you delivered twins 16 weeks early? Your words were my exact thoughts at that time.

  3. This!

    And I speak as one in the midst of PPD *and* regular depression.

    I wish I could magick your situation into being insta-normal.