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Welcome to the Mom & Mind Podcast!

This podcast focuses on the Maternal Mental Health struggles related to becoming pregnant, being pregnant, birth and early parenthood. We talk about all of the stuff that you wish someone would have told you BEFORE you tried to be pregnant or have a baby. Postpartum depression is only part of the story.

The goal of this podcast to put all of this info out in the open. There’s no need to hide these very human experiences…so many people deal with these struggles. So, the podcast provides real life stories of moms, dads and family AND we will talk with experts, leaders and advocates in the field of maternal mental health and maternal health. You deserve to be informed!!!!

For more information and resources, go to www.momandmind.com

Jun 4, 2018

You’ve heard of postpartum depression, but have you heard of postpartum psychosis? Do you know the difference and how to recognize the signs and symptoms? We are talking about a very difficult mental condition that can wreak havoc on a new mother, her baby, and her family. Fortunately, there are signs to look for and ways you can help if someone you know might be experiencing this rare condition.

In this episode, we are hearing from Tarah, a woman who experienced postpartum psychosis after the birth of her twins. Tarah’s mother, Julie, joins this chat, which is the first mother-daughter duo we’ve had on the show to talk about the postpartum experience. One or two out of 1000 women will experience a postpartum psychosis, and while it’s very rare, it is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment. Most people have been misled to think that postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are synonymous, but they are not. Psychosis is a break from shared reality and is an emergency situation that looks very different from postpartum depression.

Tarah and Julie want people to hear their story so they know what can happen and what to look for. Having them both share their perspectives gives us insight and deepens our understanding of what can happen in a family, what the new mother might experience, and what a family member on the outside might notice. The main point is that information and a strong support system are vitally important in surviving this potentially traumatic experience.

Please note that Tarah’s story may be sensitive for some listeners and is not necessarily what all moms with postpartum psychosis experience. Resources for support are available and listed below.   

Show Highlights:

  • Tarah married in 2007 and began trying to have a baby in 2009. After Clomid and two miscarriages, she experienced a textbook pregnancy with her twins
  • The twins were born almost 4 weeks early and the postpartum depression began immediately
  • Julie noticed how Tarah didn’t want to hold the babies a lot and seemed disconnected and anxious
  • Three days after the twins were born, Julie noticed that Tarah was not acting normal and took her to the hospital
  • The hospital gave Tarah Xanax and an antidepressant and sent her home, but the symptoms snowballed into psychotic fears and extreme anxiety
  • Two days later, Julie took Tarah for the 2nd visit to the ER and they admitted her to treat her exhaustion
  • Two hours after Julie went home to rest, the hospital called to say Tarah had jumped through a window to escape (she was later found, bleeding, wandering around the parking lot)
  • How one doctor nailed the diagnosis and saved Tarah’s life
  • Tarah was transported to a behavioral health hospital because she thought people were out to hurt her
  • Julie was given the job of strapping her down to the gurney because they thought she would accept it better and not fight against it
  • The next day, discussions began about ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) and heavy medications
  • While Tarah did have ECT as treatment, this is not always used. Everyone's treatment plan looks different.
  • For Julie, these were some of the darkest days of her life
  • Postpartum psychosis happens to 1-2 in 1000 women: 95% of these women manifest symptoms like Tarah did, but about 5% do infanticide while in a psychotic state.  
  • Tarah’s support system to help her and care for the twins
  • The treatment approach of 3 different medications and ECT 3x/week
  • Problems in the hospital unit that prompted Tarah’s move to the senior citizen unit
  • How Tarah was “out of it” for almost 2 weeks, not asking about her babies
  • After about 3 weeks, Tarah finally felt that she was returning to normal
  • After her release, Julie stayed with her for 6 months and Tarah was never left alone with the babies. It took about a year to wean her off the high-powered medications
  • How Tarah’s husband was heartbroken but then relieved to get her back
  • Tarah’s feelings of self-blame, but she knew her situation was out of her control
  • Tarah's story is an example of why we need more Postpartum Mother-Baby hospital units. Mothers need specialized care.
  • Support from parents, in-laws, grandparents, friends, and other family members
  • What Tarah and Julie want you to know:
    • This is a real condition and not made-up
    • Someone you know may need help and not even know it
    • People are not aware of postpartum psychosis as something to look for

There are some risk factors that can help you know if you are susceptible to a postpartum psychosis or postpartum bipolar onset. Learn more here... 

Resources:

If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, please reach out to a local organization that supports postpartum women or reach out to Postpartum Support International (PSI) for information

Postpartum Support International (PSI)  www.postpartum.net

If you feel that your family member is experiencing some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis, please take them to medical care immediately.

 

PSI also has a specialized support coordinator, providing non-emergency support to women and families dealing with postpartum psychosis: Michele Davidson, PhD, CNM, CFN, RN--703-298-3247 or michelerdavidson@gmail.com   

 

Mom and Mind Connection FB Group