Rachel

Speaker: Just to get us started, why donít you give me your name, your age, um, kind of what you do, if youíre married, like, just the general information on you. Weíll start with that.

Rachel: OK, OK. My name is Rachel McKibben. Iím 37 years old and, almost, and I Ö now Iím struggling because Iím not looking at your face Ö sorry.

Speaker: No, itís OK.

Rachel: OK, Iím having a problem, like, looking down.

Speaker: You can look down, you know, natural, just not at, directly at me.

Rachel: At the camera, OK. So Iím Rachel McKibben. Iím 37 years old. Iím a program director at a church. I, Iforget what else you asked.

Speaker: Are you married? How many kids do you have?

Rachel: OK, I am, do you want me to say all of the stuff all over again?

Speaker: No, you can Ö

Rachel: Oh, OK. Iím married. I have two children. I have a 7-year-old and a 4-year-old and, um, Iíve been married for 11 years and, um, I donít know what else to say.

Speaker: No, thatís perfect. Thatís perfect. I just like to Ö

Rachel: OK, biographical stuff, Iím not great at because I feel like itís like an address.

Speaker: No, I just like to get that general info in case we decide to use any of that so Iíll just go right into the questions, all right?

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: When did you first hear the term postpartum depression and, in your own words, what does it mean?

Rachel: The first time I heard postpartum depression was I think pretty much after I sort of was in the storm of, of having some issues. Um, I knew there was baby blues out there but I didnít pay a whole lot of attention to postpartum. I never suffered from any type of anxiety or depression disorders or really had anyone in my life that had. So it was really a first-time thing. As I was experiencing it, I was learning about it.

And when I think about postpartum depression now, itís a little bit different. But then, if I thought about postpartum, I would think of someone that was incapacitated, you know, which does happen, and had the inability to sort of be OK with coping with a baby, coping with life, you know, that type of thing. So, you know, Iíve been much more educated now on some of the things because itís not always depression that happens with postpartum.

Speaker: OK. All right, you covered the whole history thing so I wonít Ö

Rachel: Oh, Iím sorry.

Speaker: No, no, that was perfect. I want it to be natural so itís fine. I know you have two children. So, why donít you just briefly tell me about Trevor?

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: Did you have a normal pregnancy with Trevor?

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: Did you have a birth plan? Just kind of take me through what that experience was like your first time around?

Rachel: OK, OK. I was so excited for the idea of being a mom with my son, I have two children, I was really excited the first time being a mom. I had a perfect delivery, I had a perfect postpartum period. My son and I had great bonding, great experience, you know, it was being a first-time mom, I didnít really have a lot of pitfalls or roadblocks.

So I feel like I had those memories when we were starting to plan for Paige. We were really anxious to try and we had a hard time, it took us about a year to get pregnant. And uh, when we got pregnant, I was looking forward to all those blissful moments that I had with my son.

The pregnancy itself started to deteriorate and I think that thatís, you know, when things started to happen. Am I going too far ahead?

Speaker: That was perfect.

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: So why donít you Ö

Rachel: Iím sometimes a runaway train, Iím sorry.

Speaker: No, no. But it works because, thatís fine. We want you to speak as naturally as possible.

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: I just get into real specifics with the questions because, some people, you have to like pull it out.

Rachel: Yeah, I could keep going, yeah. I just donít want to go so far ahead that youíre like, where is she going with all of this?

Speaker: No, itís fine.

Rachel: OK.

Speaker: OK, so, you already mentioned the, you know, you were looking forward to having a second baby, so why donít you just talk a little bit about when you found out you were pregnant with Paige and what the pregnancy was like?

Rachel: OK, we actually, I had a feeling I was pregnant with Paige about, before I even took a pregnancy test, before I even got my period. I had that feeling and I told my husband. I actually took a pregnancy test and it was negative. And I said to my husband, I donít understand, I know Iím pregnant. And so six hours later. I picked it up out of the trash and I hadnít waited the long enough period of time so it was positive.

It was great. I was excited. It was April so I got pregnant in March. I was excited and it was a good time to be pregnant because you donít have to be, you can wear flowing clothes when youíre hot and all that stuff. So it was, it was just terrific.

Going into the summer, we took a three-week vacation with our son. We figured that was probably the last time weíd be able to take a real long trip, and uh, we did that. We went to my husbandís brotherís wedding and had a wonderful time.

And then we came home and things started to deteriorate. I got, I was gaining a lot of weight. I just, she was really heavy. By the time I was 30 weeksí pregnant she was already six-and-a-half pounds and I still had 10 more, you know, nine-and-a-half more weeks to go. And then things really began to deteriorate when I, I got shingles, which was in November. That was a month before I delivered her.

With the shingles, I got Bellís palsy, which is a facial paralysis and they treated me but at the time, that was my first time I ever had a panic attack because I thought we were having a stroke. I was driving in the car with my husband and I had, had, lost, facial paralysis. I had facial paralysis and I had numbing and we thought that I was having a stroke. So we ended up going to the hospital to find out that it was shingles and Bellís palsy, which thank God, that it wasnít anything more serious.

But, so the pregnancy itself, was OK in the beginning and then it slowly began to deteriorate. Plus, added to that, we were living with Chrisí mom and we had moved seven days before I delivered her. We had finally found a place, it took us a long time, and we had moved. And I think that that transition also was really hard for me, being so pregnant and just not being, and then also having the complication of the health issues.

So thatís, you know, pretty much, at the end of the pregnancy, you know, towards when I was ready to deliver Paige, I was not in a good place.

Speaker: When you found out about the shingles and the Bellís palsy, were you concerned about how that might affect the pregnancy? What were you ... ? Were you feeling ... ? Obviously, you were feeling a lot of anxiety, tell me a little bit about what you were going through emotionally.

Rachel: Sure. What happened was is that, once they figured out that I had shingles, they put me in touch with the director of infectious disease at Monmouth Medical and they had said you need to talk to that person because I was gonna be quarantined. You canít be on a floor with newborns that have not had vaccination or exposure to chicken pox, because shingles is a virus of the chicken pox, because otherwise it causes a lot of issues, health issues.

So it became a doctors, doctors after doctors, whether it was phone calls or visits and it kind of stirred up a lot of anxiety for me, thinking here Iím going to be in isolation, this is not the, this is not the way I delivered my son, you know, just a real, a lot of negative things that were going on for me. And then once we got a handle on, if they put me on medication that actually kills the virus itself and dries out, because once you dry out all the marks, then youíre not contagious anymore. I still had marks, they had to still check my marks when I was in the hospital. And thank God they were dried out. But it still was very anxiety-provoking, even to the day that I walked in to deliver, they werenít sure where I was because I was still in what they call active shingles at the time.

So it was difficult because here I went from having this normal pregnancy to having all these, you know, kind of roadblocks. And then, itís, I think it would be anxiety-provoking for anyone, let alone being told youíre gonna have to be in an isolation- area. Youíre not going to be able to be with your daughter. And then my daughter was born, and then I had to worry about her being exposed to that, the chicken pox, you know, me giving her something that could affect her, you know, adversely.

So it was, it was tough. It was a really tough time to sort of sort through all that and kind of keep my cool.

Speaker: When you did go in to deliver, I want to kind of talk about that experience. And what, how did you deliver and what was that experience like?

Rachel: OK. Um, I delivered, I prayed to have a snow day the day I delivered because I love snow, not as excessively as weíve had, but I do love snow. And the morning that I woke up, it dusted. So I was totally excited. I thought, OK, maybe this is my small, bright spot. Maybe this is gonna be the thing thatís gonna make things a little bit different and todayís gonna be a new day. I tend to be very optimistic.

So I went into the hospital. I was being scheduled to deliver via C-section at around 7 in the morning. We went in, we checked in, everything was, you know, fairly normal procedure as far as checking in for a scheduled delivery.

And I was put in the, they put you in, like, a holding area before you go in and I was OK there but as soon as they took me into the OR and they laid me down to do the anesthesia, after the anesthesia, I felt like something had changed. You know, during the whole procedure of them taking her out, and I donít know, I canít explain it but something totally changed. And I almost felt like I wasnít really there.I could hear the echoes and the sounds of what was going on. It was really kind of daunting to me. And I just shut down.

They brought me, Paige was delivered, thank God, very healthfully, you know, 10 pounds, 7 ounces. And, uh, she was a big girl. They said she was so healthy. The nurse tried to give her to me. After you deliver, they give you the baby and I wanted nothing to do with her. I sent her away.

And from that point, Chris, my husband, handled going to the nursery and, and following up with, you know, she had a bath and measurements and all that stuff. But it was difficult because, at the time, now I look at it and say, wow, I was really, here are some major signs that I was having that there were some significant issues. But my hospital visit didnít stop with just the bad experience in the OR. Everything seemed to snowball into a problem.

I had, I was starting to get panic attacks. I left Paige in the hallway when I was, you know, they encourage you to walk around the unit to, because youíre a Caesarean, they want your muscles to try to rework. And I would leave her in the hallway, and have panic attacks and leave her.

And I wouldn't, I just remember being angry with her at night when I was laying there because I was just, I was really having a tremendous amount of anxiety and she just seemed to be provoking the anxiety. And, um, so it was difficult. It was really hard.

It was so different from my first experience with my son, I mean, I, oh, that boy, I loved and, you know, it was just a wonderful experience. And here I had this daughter that I wanted and I pined for and it was so not what I expected in the hospital, so Ö

Speaker: When you were in the hospital, do you remember getting screened or did any of the nurses or anything pick up on any of the symptoms you were exhibiting?

Rachel: One night, I had, after I had two days of panic attacks, because youíre there for five, well I was there for five days with the Caesarean. There was no screening, I was not screened for postpartum, but a nurse came to me, she was ending her shift at 7, she came to me and said, I think that you might be having symptoms of postpartum depression and weíd like to start you on medication. And I said, I donít understand, you know, it was, you know, I was kind of a little bit combative about it. I felt like, why are you picking on me? You know, Iím just trying to adjust here. I just had a baby. I had a very large baby. And, you know, I was very against it.

So then another woman came, a nurse came in the middle of the night and said we understand that youíre denying the medication. If you donít take this medication, itís gonna take six weeks to kick in. Again, I, you know, I was just chalking it up to, you donít know what youíre talking about, you need to leave my room. And I did not take medication. And I said, I will talk to my OB/GYN. So I said, I did not, you know, I talked to my OB the next morning and I said, look theyíre trying to push medication on me. And my OB said to me, oh, you have nothing wrong, youíre nervous because youíre in the hospital. Donít listen, you know, you listen to me, everything will be fine.

And so I did that. I sort of, every time that I may have come up to another panic attack or unusual anxiety or Iíd freak out about something in the room, I just kept saying, oh, itís because Iím here in the hospital, my husband wasnít with me, my son was at home. There was a whole bunch of things that I kind of made excuses for. But they did attempt, there was no screening, I donít even know if there was screening at the time, but they definitely did, two women definitely did attempt to try to, to do something because I think I was visibly having a problem.

Speaker: OK. When you were discharged from the hospital, tell me what it was like when you first brought Paige home. How were you feeling and, kind of, what was going on?

Rachel: Um, the first, I donít remember the very first day I brought her home but I do remember the first couple of days that I brought her home, it was sort of like I was very mechanical. I did my job as far as changing her diaper. I had, I had gotten a urinary tract infection and so they had put me on a medication and then that medication didnít work and so they had tried a couple different and I started to get spun out by why the medication werenít working. Any little thing would trigger my anxiety. So I became very robotic and mechanical to make sure, it was almost like a checks and balance system for me, made sure her diaper was done, made sure her bottle was done. I was pumping because I couldnít tolerate sitting there and breastfeeding because it was, there was too much of an unknown, which was very different than my son, Trevor.

So I was doing checks and balances, like, OK, her diaperís done, her bottleís done, sheís put down in her bassinet. And I, you know, pretty much very standard with her. I donít remember a whole lot of, you know, integration with, you know, touching or cooing, or I donít remember Trevor really, Chris may have done more interacting, my husband, may have done more interacting with Trevor and Paige, you know as far as relationship, sort of bonding. I definitely did not. So the first couple of days, I would say and then the panic attacks were every single night. So the first couple of days that I was home, I would say that I definitely was different, it was almost industrial.

Speaker: So were you sleeping at all?

Rachel: No, I was having panic attacks all throughout the night. Every time I fell asleep I would have a panic attack and it would make me get up and I would run past my husband to the door and he would be like, what is going on? And I would say, Iím having a panic attack and I would walk out on the porch and then I would come back and I would try to go back to bed but then I was panicking because I was having panic attacks because I hadnít had it before. So then I became, you know, obsessive with calling the Riverview Mental Health Crisis Hotline. And then every single day I spent my days trying to find someone to help me with the postpartum depression hotline. They had, they had just established the hotline. And I even called someone in California.

I mean, I was just trying to get someone to help me. So it was just, it was just a cycle after a cycle that I was, every night, every day was the same thing. So it was, it was really bad.

Speaker: You were clearly acting very opposite from your normal. So, did your husband notice, did family members notice and, if so, did they approach you? Kind of, what were people on the outside, how were they responding to you? Do you remember?

Rachel: I know that my sisterís younger than me. And at the time, she had no kids. I know that she knew I was off in the hospital. Weíve shared those stories, you know, over the years that I was off. But I donít think anyone really knew what to do. And Iím so good at being a fixer that I think what I did was, I convinced myself and those around me, that, oh, yes I am having some issues but Iíve got it under control because Iím reaching out to all these different numbers and Iím calling all these different places and Iím trying to get help anywhere I possibly can and I think what ended up happening was is that I was collapsing inside, looking on the exterior like everything was OK and things were not OK.

Speaker: OK, so obviously you had established and you knew something was clearly wrong Ö

Rachel: Oh yeah.

Speaker: Ö because you had something to compare it to from your first pregnancy. So why donít you, how long, would you say, it doesnít have to be precise, but if you can estimate how long was it that you were having the panic attacks, I know since you had brought Paige home, but at what point did you Ö

Rachel: Seek help?

Speaker: Ö kind of like really kind of just starting saying, no I really need to get some help? How long was it after?

Rachel: I would say it was probably about three weeks. I went into my OB, because I had gone in for an incision check at two weeks and I had said to him, you know, Iím kind of having some anxiety. He said, oh, baby blues is typical. You know, your hormones are still settling down. If it doesnít get better in a week, come back. And I did. I went back in a week and he had given me an antidepressant, exfexor or something.

And I went home and I Googled all the side effects and all the things that canít happen because thereís a big black box on these, these antidepressants that say, in the first couple weeks you may have feelings of suicidal thoughts, tell someone. And of course, that panicked me, so I ended up not taking the medication. But the good thing was is that I definitely, at that point, sort of surrendered to the fact that I needed to do something other than myself because I couldnít do it. So after I had met with him and I decided against the antidepressant, my primary care doctor was involved the whole time. She, herself, is a postpartum survivor. So it was sort of helpful. I didnít know that at the time but she was sort of tracking me because I was calling her with all these really whacked-out questions about health things. And I called her about the symptoms of the antidepressant and she was like, you need to do something.

So at that point, someone pointed me and I really donít remember who but someone pointed me in the direction of getting, there was a grant for women who had postpartum at CPC, which is the counseling center in our local town and I went, I made a phone call and I got hooked up with a counselor and I went in and I said, I donít know if I belong here but these are my issues. And then all of a sudden it went like a tornado from the counselor, immediately she put me in with a psychiatrist and I went home with medication that I didnít take.

So, again, I went and did the therapy, I had the medication but I was really panicked about the medication.

So when I finally got to the point where I was starting to have delusional thinking and just repetitive, negative thoughts, not being able to feel comfortable by myself because I was afraid I might do something. I was really not taking care of Paige the way I should have been. There was a whole host of things that sort of led up to it, I made the decision that I was not safe to be alone and I tried to start the medication.

And that was probably on a Monday and then by that Friday, medication doesnít work quickly, so by that Friday, Chris actually made the phone call to the counseling center and they said, you need to bring her to the Riverview Hospital and she needs to be evaluated. And that was when I was psychiatrically hospitalized for five days.

Speaker: OK. All right, now I just want to back up a little bit. When the first psychiatrist saw you and they did prescribe medication, were you diag-, did they give you a diagnosis then? If so, what was it?

Rachel: Postpartum panic and anxiety disorder.

Speaker: OK. And when, after you saw that psychiatrist, did you go back and do any therapy with them?

Rachel: Yes.

Speaker: You did?

Rachel: Yes, well because it was all within a weekís span. I mean, I saw, I saw the therapist on a, on a Friday, I think. I didnít take the medication and then on Monday, over the weekend it got weirder for me. I did start taking the medication on that Monday so a couple days later, not that long. And then by that Friday, Chris had called the counseling center, they had gotten me in.

When I got discharged, as a part of my discharge plan, I saw, I had a whole series of things that I had to do. I went to therapy three times a week. I saw a psychiatrist once a month. And I was in a support group every week.

I even tried to get myself out there as far as going to places like Monmouth Medical. They had a womenís, they just had a new momsí support group. It was not a postpartum at all, but it was just a new momsí group. And there were some gals there and I figured, well if I went, put myself in an arena with moms, maybe Iíd snap out of this. You know? And that was the thing that I think was so troubling for me. Why wasnít I snapping out of it? Here I am with 15 other moms that are having such a good time with their child and Iím still trying to figure out, and I never shared with anyone what was going on with me at home. I mean, it was, it was awful for me. And I was afraid to tell someone that I was having a problem. And Iím a really outgoing, you know, very optimistic, positive person thatís very extroverted and I was scared to death to tell people that I was having issues because I didnít want people to judge me. Why didnít I connect with my kid the way everyone else did? Or why didnít I feel, you know, that bonding that they describe in books, which doesnít always happen? But at the time I felt a lot of pressure about that.

So, you know, once I was psychiatrically hospitalized, I had a course of, of treatment planned that included lots of therapy, lots of support group and the psychiatrist for every month.

Speaker: OK. Letís, I do want to go into what happened. So I know you were in the hospital for the five days.

Rachel: Yup.

Speaker: When you were discharged, go ahead and talk about, if you can, exactly what the plan was and what you did to follow it. You did mention it, but Ö

Rachel: Do you want me to talk about my experience at the hospital too or just discharge after?

Speaker: You can, yeah, you can talk about your experience at the hospital and what led up to you being discharged.

Rachel: OK. Basically, I got admitted to a psychiatric hospital in South Jersey. It was about an hour from here. And they put me in a hospital where there were no other women that were moms or had any kind of mood disorders. And they didnít have any real specific care plan or treatment for me. They were sort of treating me as the standard. I mean, it was a pretty significant, the place had some significant mental health issues there.

And so it was sort of like I was dropped off and left. And they had no one checking my incision, it was just, I was, my breasts were engorged with milk. It was a lot of issues. And so, when I was there, the beat on the street, you learn, that if you act too anxious to get out of a psychiatric hospital, they think that youíre going home to kill yourself. So I tried to play it cool. My father is a licensed social worker and so we called my father in Maine and my father started to make calls to try to get me, quote unquote, out of the hospital so that way we could come home and there could be a care plan in place.

And so I was released from, discharged from the hospital, with the idea that my dad created a care plan for me which included therapy, psychiatric hosp-, excuse me, psychiatrist visits, therapy, psychiatrist visits, a postpartum doula, which is a woman that comes into your home and takes care of the baby or light housekeeping, or whatever you need them to do. And then I went to support groups and that type of stuff. So all this had to be put in place before they would allow me to leave. And I got discharged on a Tuesday and it was satisfactory that, to them, because, you know, we had a lot of people that were aggressively trying to make things work for me so that way I could get out of the hospital.

I donít know necessarily if it was a good thing. Chris and I have talked about that. Maybe I should have stayed there a little longer. Because when I got home, when I got home, it wasnít better.

Speaker: Right because Iím sure you had to come home Ö

Rachel: Oh yeah.

Speaker: Ö and you still had Trevor.

Rachel: Oh yeah and I was catatonic, totally catatonic. I mean, I, you know, Chris will talk about that with you. I was 100 percent in bed, staring at a wall for weeks. And so it just went from sort of bad to worse. But then it did get better. I mean, you know, here I am. So it definitely gets better.

Speaker: Why donít you talk about what happened at, you know, you did mention when you got home, but I know, how did you start to follow your care plan? I know youíve mentioned to me that the doula was here and thankfully she was taking care of Paige Ö

Rachel: Yes, yes.

Speaker: Ö and making sure she was straight.

Rachel: Yes.

Speaker: Kind of, what was going on after you, in the weeks that you were discharged from the hospital?

Rachel: As far as my mental health status?

Speaker: Your mental health status and also, like you know, who was taking, looking after the kids and ...?

Rachel: Chris was home. He had a job that he could work hours from home so he made it a point to be home with me. And we also had a doula. Paige had colic. So every single night at 6 oíclock, literally on the money, she would scream for four hours. And she screamed. So the doula came in at 6 oíclock and the doula stayed with me every night from 6 to 10. And Chris would attend to Trevor and I went to bed. And the doula took care of the baby.

So, during the day, there were very rare times where I was alone, especially after I was discharged. I mean, especially after it was, you know, identified that I had a problem. I was not left alone very much. I, you know, I couldnít even drive without having a panic attack so I was really limited on what I could do. I got into the habit of taking walks and stuff. But the panic attacks continued. It took a long time for the medication to, to sort of work.

But the delusional thoughts, the thinking of suicide, suicidal thoughts, the thinking of wanting to harm myself or the thinking of just wanting to, being at that bottomless pit sort of ended, thank God, in probably, I would say two or three weeks after I was discharged and then things started to get a little bit lighter, which was helpful. But, if it wasnít for the fact that I had the doula, if it wasnít for the fact that I had the therapy and I was on the medication, those things were very critical to my, you have, you kind of have to surrender yourself to a care plan in order for it to work.

Speaker: About how long after would you, when do you remember starting to feel better? Like really feeling Ö

Rachel: Like me?

Speaker: ... more like yourself? Yeah.

Rachel: It took a long time. I was on med - , they keep you, itís a standard on medication for a year. I would say, after I was, you know, really anxious, I mean I started to feel good by the summer because the medication was in full force and I did start to feel good. But I didnít feel like myself. I would say after I came off the medication in December, that spring when Paige was a little over a year old, she was about 15 months old, I started to feel really connected with her. I had a good time with her. I enjoyed being home with her. I enjoyed our time. You know, Trevor was in elementary school so itís nice because I was only home with her. But I would say, really up Ďtil that point, I donít think I was me. I bounced back, I would say, in probably about 15 months after I had her.

Speaker: Looking back, how has PPD affected your life?

Rachel: Well, I think itís made me a stronger person. I think itís made me someone that tries to be realistic with, you know, what you have, as far as, you know, we all have struggles, but sort of not being the fixer for all the problems. Because I think that we can get caught in that, especially being moms, we always want to be on top of making sure weíre doing all the right things. I think itís also led me to believe that, that you canít be held up in a stereotype that being a new mom is always going to be blissful and wonderful. I try to be very supportive with others, especially my friends who have children. I like being an advocate for postpartum. I tell anyone about it because I think that itís, it's there and people suffer in silence all the time. And itís unnecessary. Thereís so much out there that people can get support for and you can survive it. I mean, my life is 100 percent different than it was and Iím cured. Itís not something that youíre going to be plagued with forever. You know, thank God, itís one of those problems that exist in our life that can be fixed. And I think that thatís something that is really important, continuing to put that message out there.

Speaker: How would you say the illness has affected your relationship with your children and your husband?

Rachel: It was very stressful on our marriage. I was, you know, after I survived and I was going through my treatments, there was quite a bit of difference, distance between Chris and I. And I think the distance existed because I was going through something that he just couldnít understand. And I sort of barricaded myself around people that could understand with all the support that I had. You know, I had a built-in arsenal of support that focused on Rachel and so that, I think, strained our marriage a bit. But I think, you know, over the years, weíve kind of come full circle with sometimes talking about it or at least acknowledging that these things happen. And now, being cured, I think that it makes it a lot different because Iím sort of back to the normal person I used to be.

I think that it stressed the family out. I think my son was, you know, took a big hit. I think that he, himself, at the time, had the stable environment that really got turned upside down for probably a good, solid five months. And I think that that, you know, heís over it, but I think at the time it was very turbulent.

And with my daughter, I have a wonderful relationship with her. But sometimes I do, if I really allow myself, I do get regretful about the fact that I didnít have those moments with her. I canít remember what her first bath was like. I have no idea what it was like to get her dressed in a dress on a Sunday. I donít know those things. And if we ever have a discussion about it, Iíll never be able to share that with her. So thatís the only stuff that I, it doesnít make me who I am as a person, but itís tough because this is, you know Ö of course, it happens to my daughter whoís gonna be interested in that information, you know? So thatís the thing thatís tough.

Speaker: I want you to share what your advice would be to a woman out there who might be suffering with PPD or another perinatal mood disorder.

Rachel: I think surrendering to the idea that youíve got to put yourself out there. I think allowing yourself to, to really be out there and say, you know what, acknowledge that this is happening to me and itís OK. And there are things that I can do to make it better. I think getting away from the idea of everything always has to be perfect. You know, I use an analogy all the time, I have a couple girlfriends that I talk to about this, and I say, donít allow yourself to get on that train. Because I think that train of emotions and that train of anxiety can take you all over the place. What if Iím doing it wrong? What if this happens? What if?

And I think if you try to, to compartmentalize whatís going on and realize, yeah, you might be suffering from a postpartum issue or, or baby blues, but sort through it in a way of doing it proactively and reaching out to people and saying, you know, I think I might be having a problem but Iím not too sure. I think that the biggest danger that we all suffer from is, is, is suffering in silence, not talking about it, not saying Iím having a problem, trying to act like everything should be perfect because a lot of times, itís not perfect. And I found that getting out there and speaking to women, I find nine times out of 10, every single woman had some kind of experience, maybe not dramatic experience, that they had a moment of insecurity or a moment of feeling like, wow, I really wish I would have done that better. Or wow, I really felt like I was a failure because I wasnít a good breastfeeder or I didnít know how to put the carseat together or whatever. So I think building together and sort of talking with other people and not, and seeking out whatís available. Nowadays, everything is available and I think itís wonderful.

But, just not allowing yourself, if you see yourself going down that road of isolation, pulling yourself out and saying, you know what? Maybe I should talk to my neighbor, maybe I should talk to a friend, maybe I should go to my local, you know, community, or my local church and talk to someone. Because I think thatís really helpful and I think that thatís something that I tried to do and it was a fatal mistake, is that I tried, very hard, to fix myself and you canít, you canít fix yourself. Youíve got all sorts of things happening and you need to reach out to someone and say, you know what? Iím really having a problem and I really need someone to kind of step up and help me.

Because everyone, I donít know a person that would ever say that theyíre willing to seek help, has ever been denied help. So, you know, if you get yourself out there and really try, I think it would be, you know, worthwhile.

Speaker: OK. Is there anything else that you want to share on your video? Anything that, you know, you might have had a thought that you think is important? I think that you did a great job. And you covered, covered everything really well but I was just curious.

Rachel: I donít know, do you think I should, do you, did I?

Speaker: I think you got it all.

Rachel: Look at my husband. Thanks. You think I got it all? OK.

Speaker: I think so. I love that end part. That was good advice.

Rachel: Well, I have a friend thatís actually suffering right now. And sheís on the fence, what should she do? And Iím like, visualize a train. As soon as you start to get on that train, you gotta, you gotta step off of it and realize, because I think thatís what happens. We all are like, getting, like, oh what happens if, oh, sheís not eating right or sheís not sleeping right? What happens if all these things happen? And the reality is, yeah, all sorts of things happen but if you could do what if about your life, youíd end up really spinning yourself out. You know? And I think just being able to just say, and I love it, she texts me all the time, hey, Iíve got a problem. Good. Keep texting someone. Who cares who it is? Someone will answer you. Send it to everyone in your cell phone. Someoneís bound to say, are you OK? Do you need a cup of coffee? Can I get you a piece of cake? Which I happen to love so Ö!

Speaker: That was good. That was very, very good. I want to say thank you for sharing.

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