Since this is a safe space, I want to share with you all a little bit about my week. I got a "bee in my bonnet" because I read another postpartum depression article from a very popular "mommy blog" in which the writer specifically pointed out she didn't have "harming" thoughts, but some women do. She then urged women with those thoughts to quickly bring their children to a safe place and go to a hospital to get help. Umm, the "fear" approach is not helpful. Since I feel very "mama bear" over women who are scared to get help, let me explain my issue with this.
Women who have thoughts about harming their children that are fueled by anxiety develop OCD. Their brain (body) is having an extreme reaction to a thought that they feel threatened by. All people have scary/inappropriate thoughts (yes, I'm implying that people who point out they've never had a "harming" thought probably have, they were just able to dismiss it because they realized the thought was not a true threat.) Women with OCD are very scared by their thoughts and DO NOT hurt their children. I've done much research on this, though you can never say never, the chance of an OCD mom hurting her children is pretty much 0. (Anxious girls, don't let yourself think you could be the "exception" to that rule. You aren't.)
"But some women DO hurt their children." ...Turn off the news, mamas! There are rare (and highly publicized) incidents where mothers do hurt their children. These are examples of postpartum psychosis. These women are experiencing something other than reality and do need help, just like the rest of us. Women who hurt their children during psychosis do not realize their thoughts are bad, therefore the thought won't give them anxiety. (If right now you're worried about if the "bad" thought gives you anxiety, it does. You're reading this blog because you're worrying about it.)
I hope you can all now see my issue. A mom who has anxiety that is told to "put the kids in a safe place and run to the hospital" will probably close off more and never tell a soul. That's why I'm here, I'm going to point you in the right direction! Girls, I'm NOT saying you don't need to reach out for help, you most certainly do. You don't need to do it in FEAR though. Please, please don't be scared. I get it. I've been there. You don't need help because you're dangerous, you need help because you DESERVE to be well and your child(ren) deserve a mommy who is healthy!
The boy who changed it all, Easton, 2.5 years old : )
Why is this SO important to me? Because last night I slept in my 2 year old's bed and woke up with my face in his hands. Two years ago I could not even be in the same room with him without fearing him. Being with him now soothes me. Seeing his sweetness is healing. I was convinced I would never be better. I didn't know how, but I was sure this would kill me. It didn't. I clawed my way out of the pit. I fought for me. I fought for us. I'm going to help you fight too!
So, I've spent the week doing research, dialing digits, and taking names. If you are in Minnesota, you can call the Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota helpline number at 612-787-7776 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To get in contact with the Mother Baby program at HCMC that I went to, you can call 612-873-MAMA (6262). You can also call to speak with a Mother-Baby staff member for support or other resources, this is the Mother-Baby HopeLine at 612-873-HOPE (4673). I also want to add, my insurance did completely cover the Mother Baby Program (though I would have paid any amount out of pocket by that point).
Some therapists will be able to refer you to a psychiatrist or primary care doctor that you can talk to about medication. Sometimes you are able to find ones who work together, which is super nice. I ended up getting medication from a psychiatrist because I never really had a developed relationship with my doctor, but if you have an awesome doctor that you trust, I'd say stick with them for medication. Psychiatry appointments can take a while to get, so you may even want to make an appointment with one, then get medicine to "hold you over" from a primary care doctor until you can be seen.