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While working as a pediatric nurse for the past nine years, Kellie had heard about postpartum depression (PPD) in school, from other nurses and even her friends, but she never knew much about the disorder until the birth of her now 13-month-old son.
Besides bad episodes of morning sickness, Kellie had a successful, planned pregnancy and delivered her son John in March 2009 without complication. She and her husband were excited and looking forward to caring for their first child.
Before she left the hospital, Kellie recalls a nurse asking questions about how she was feeling. She scored low on the PPD screening questionnaire so she was not considered at risk for developing a perinatal mood disorder. She was tired from the delivery and was looking forward to taking baby John home.
In the weeks following her delivery, Kellie began noticing that she did not feel quite like herself. At every pediatric checkup, Kellie completed the same screening questionnaire and her score steadily increased. She struggled to figure out why her baby had crying spells that would go on for hours. After planning her pregnancy and being so excited about her son, she felt withdrawn and distant from him. Sleeping became very difficult; she experienced high anxiety and worried constantly about the baby.
Kellie began to ask herself if becoming a mom was a mistake. She could not comprehend what was happening to her. She recalls wishing she never became a mom and wanting to just run away. She was certain that her feelings were not normal and she was in trouble.
During her six-week post-delivery checkup, Kellieís doctor noticed the change in her mood and recommended she talk to a counselor after she scored high on the PPD questionnaire. The doctor supplied her with books, pamphlets, names of counselors and even offered to prescribe medication, but Kellie was in denial. She thought she could get over the feelings on her own. She thought she just needed to rest but it was clear baby John was very sick and things continued to get worse.
Soon after, Kellie found out that her two-month-old son had a severe allergy to milk and soy formula and that this was the cause of his crying spells. Kellie felt like she failed as a mother because she had no idea that what she was feeding him was making him sick.
A few days after her baby had surgery to help with his illness, Kellie reached her breaking point. She pulled out the PPD packet her doctor had given her and she immediately dialed the toll-free helpline. The operator helped her calm down and spoke to her for almost an hour. She asked Kellie questions about her feelings and what was going on in her life. Before ending the call, she gave Kellie a list of local therapists and insisted she call her OBGYN.
Kellie began therapy and returned for weekly sessions. She started on medication and began opening up to her mom and husband who had been very supportive throughout the previous months. Her mom, who is also a nurse, would leave work at a momentís notice and babysit so she and her husband could have a break. Her husband also stayed home from work whenever she asked and got up at night with the baby.
By July, Kellie began enjoying watching baby John giggle, laugh and play. He was recovering well and she realized he was the cute, cuddly baby she had always hoped for. He had become her little angel.
In September, with the help of therapy, medication, her family, and seeing a big change in Johnís behavior, Kellie began to feel that things were getting better. She found a new job, which happens to be at the same daycare that her son attends. Her mom helped her find a great babysitter to give her time to re-energize and face the challenges of being a working mom and wife.
Kellie had a great time planning and enjoyed celebrating baby Johnís first birthday this year. She has finally gained the bond that PPD had stolen from her.
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Last Modified: Thursday, 12-Jul-12 11:44:44