Tanya is an actress and producer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter. Tanya produced When The Bough Breaks, a feature length documentary about postpartum depression (PPD) and perinatal mood disorders.
Question: What made you decide to make this film?
Question: You bring up so many good points, postpartum depressions is under-diagnosed and there is such a misconception about what it is and how many women-mothers suffer … sadly alone. In my practice I often see Mom’s who suffer from postpartum, which is the term most often used. There are actually several forms of illness that women may experience. Can you share a little bit about the different types? It important to note that women who have had a baby within the last twelve months are at risk for postpartum.
- Feeling Overwhelmed. Like "I can't do this and why did I become a mother".
- Guilt for not handling this better. Fear of the baby feeling your guilt or sadness or lack of connection. You may wonder if the baby is better off without you.
- You don't feel bonded to your baby.
- Confused and scared about being a new mom.
- Feeling irritated, angry or no patience. Feelings of rage.
- Feelings of sadness to the depths of your soul. You can't stop crying.
- Feelings of hopelessness, feeling like a failure or disconnected from everyone.
- Can't really eat or sleep, even when the baby sleeps.
- Feelings of wanting to run away or that the baby/family would be better off without you.
- You know something is wrong. That you're no longer yourself and this will never shift.
- Afraid if you reach out for help, you will be judged or your baby will be taken from you.
- You can't quiet your mind, settle down or relax.
- Feel like you have to be doing something all the time i.e. Cleaning bottles, cleaning clothes, cleaning the house, checking on the baby constantly.
- Worried about everything from sleep, eating, somethings wrong with the baby, somethings wrong with me, etc.
- Disturbing thoughts. Thoughts of physically harming the baby or yourself.
- Afraid to be alone with the baby because of the scary thoughts. Afraid of objects that could harm the baby i.e. Scissors, knives, etc.
- Need to constantly recheck what you've already done. i.e. Check the baby, is the baby breathing, is the oven really off, etc.
- Panic attacks, nausea, headaches, no appetite, can't sleep, etc.
- Afraid of the nighttime coming and that you will never sleep.
- You know something is wrong with you and this is your new reality.
- Afraid to reach out for help for fear of being judged or having the baby taken from you.
- You have more energy then you've ever had in your life. Nothing like you've ever experienced. Or you are beyond exhausted and want to sleep but your mind won't let you.
- You feel like you have a NEW understanding of everything that no one else can relate to.
- You keep hearing/seeing things that no one else does. You may have voices in your head that won't stop no matter what you do.
- You feel you can't trust anyone including people you've always trusted prior to this. You may also feel like people are going to harm you or your baby.
- You may feel like you are being controlled by some outside source. This source is telling you to do harmful things to yourself or your baby.
- You may have the sensation that things are crawling on you.
- You are getting into conflicts with everyone around you with the feeling that no one understands you.
- You feel the best thing for everyone is to kill your baby or yourself.
- You feel like you will never get better. You may even feel the only way to get out of this or to protect the ones who love is to commit suicide or abandon your family.
Thank you Michelle for helping families and women understand the difference between baby blues and different forms of postpartum along with what signs to look for, that will be so helpful. Most women don't even realize there are different forms of postpartum.
Question: Yes, that is very true. Most are not aware there are many forms of postpartum. In my practice I often work with women who have postpartum or are anxious. Those suffering from Postpartum Anxiety have difficulty being consistent in a sleep program and therefore they don't make progress or improvements in the baby's sleep, as the anxiety makes Mom question her every decision. The anxiety can lead to a great deal of inconsistency and for sleep learning to be a success, consistency is a must.
I often talk with families about the warning signs of postpartum depression and encourage them to seek out a professional or a loved one, so that they can get help and support. Do you have other resources that we can direct these families to?
I had advanced training on postpartum from Dr. Shoshana S. Bennett. "Dr. Shosh" has several books and also a private practice which specializes in postpartum depression and perinatal mood disorders. All of these resources can be found on her website. http://drshosh.com/private-consultations/
- Postpartum Depression for Dummies by Shoshana S. Bennett PhD and Mary Jo Codey
- Beyond the Blues: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression & Anxiety by Shoshana S. Bennett PhD and Pec Indman EdD MFT