Lina Newman, who grew up in Bergen County, settled in North Carolina after getting married. She came from a supportive, loving family, and they were there for her as she battled postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. She had always been a worrier and suffered from some depression and anxiety years before her pregnancy.
Aside from a few dizzy spells and mild anxiety about caring for her first baby, Lina’s pregnancy was normal. In June 2008, she gave birth to her son by emergency C-section. The hospital in North Carolina did ask Lina to complete a PPD questionnaire before her release, but because she was on multiple pain medications none of the questions was sinking in at the time. The idea of motherhood hadn’t even begun to set in yet.
Lina’s mother came to help her with the baby for the first month. Though she was fine when she initially left the hospital, about two weeks later she began to notice a change; she was more anxious and was crying every day. Those close to her kept telling her it was normal, that it was just baby blues.
Her condition worsened after her mother left. She began to feel overwhelmed, tired and distracted. She told her husband that “something wasn’t right.” She loved her son. She was happy that he was in her life, but she was disconnected and knew her feelings were not ‘normal.’
Lina’s parents became concerned and both returned to North Carolina to see her. After much debate, they decided to bring her and their grandson to their home. Back in New Jersey, Lina became more depressed. The separation from her working husband made her feel worse.
“I could not concentrate on anything, not even the simplest tasks, nor could I hold a long conversation and my memory was terrible. I had an extreme mental fog,” she said. “I was extremely withdrawn.”
While her family was supportive and doing all they could to help her, she felt alone. “Unless someone goes through this, they really have no idea …. My heart goes out to women who go through this. Their families are there for them, but they don’t go through it. There’s a very big difference,” she said.
Lina had intrusive thoughts. She even thought of giving her baby up for adoption out of fear that she would never recover. Her husband and family began to suspect that it was more serious than just “baby blues” and admitted Lina to Hackensack Hospital.
It wasn’t until she was admitted that she realized that her condition was critical and would require medication. She remained in the hospital for a week.
Once doctors at the hospital diagnosed her with PPD and explained the illness, her husband and parents did further research to find out exactly what was happening to Lina.
The road to recovery had begun but it was difficult. A family friend recommended she make an appointment to see Susan Stone and she began therapy sessions twice a week, along with seeing a psychiatrist. With the help of these two professionals, Lina began to make progress toward regaining her life.
“I could not imagine in my wildest dreams that it would be so difficult and it's hard to imagine that you will ever get better. You really have to take it one day at a time,” she stated.
Lina felt those months were the longest ones of her life because she felt robbed of her life. Her mom took over the daily tasks of taking care of her son, as Lina slowly began to take control again.
In January 2009, after months of hard work and therapy she felt it was time to move back to North Carolina. Once she returned home, she began to feel the healing process grow stronger as she started to settle back in to her home and daily routine.
By April 2009, Lina felt like herself again and took complete ownership over her life and for the first time in a long time she felt like her old self.
“I finally beat it and here I am today. It was what seemed to be a long and bumpy road with no end in sight. But I am alive, healthy, well and want to share my story to help other women, to let them know that they do not need to suffer in silence and to show them I am a survivor and they will beat it too,” she said.