Post Partum Depression

Discussion in 'Women's Issues' started by Nienna, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. Nienna

    Nienna New Member

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    As many of you know I have recently becom an Auntie ( Yay :) )

    But I am becoming increasingly worried about my sister in law.

    She is an older mom; being in her mid-late 30's. Now this woman isn't a kid or baby person. She never has been ( by her own words). She never baby sat in highschool like many girls usually do, didn't have any cousins 1 brother (adopted) and never took part in my childrens early years, (even though we live fairly close in the same city). During her whole pregnancy and this past week or so after the babe has arrived she has always reffered to "the books" Now as every mom out there knows Nothing is ever completely by the book.

    Anyhow. After watching her interact (or lack of it I should say) with thier baby, I am worried that she is starting to exhibit Post partum depression symptoms.

    Her husband asked me to come over for a few days to help out, wich I did. What I saw was a mom of a newborn who doesn't care to play or talk or cuddle with her baby. As soon as I arrived there she immediately handed him over to me and said don't bring him back unless its feeding time. Now I love my little nephew and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him and am happy to help out so she can rest for a while. But it seems to me that she wants nothing to do with her baby unless she has to feed him. and even then she isn't "bonding" with him, She holds him far away and holds her breast to him. no cuddleing or anything. and as soon as he's done eating she lays him down and expects him to sleep, no talking to him or anything that new moms usually do. And if he happens to stay awake for a while she keeps trying to get him to sleep, and doesn't take the time to just let him look at his surroundings or babble or anything. Now when I was a new mom, my babies didn't leave the same room as me for the first six weeks and I always cuddled and talked with them........to me this is odd behavior.

    I tried to encourage different postitons for feeding to try and make her more comfortable, I have tried giving her advice on how to help him sleep longer at night and get into a routine because they are getting NO sleep. She's not sleeping, not eating well, She has been complaining of some discomforts (constipation) and she vehemently disagreed with our advice (metamucil) because its not what the BOOK says, and her doctor didn't mention it. Even though her husband and mine were sitting there and agreed that some things (metamucil) might help her feel better etc ( and yes metamucil is safe when your breatfeeding as it is all natural, and I was told to take it three times a day after I had my kids to prevent my stiches from tearing with the force of a BM after delivery).... She is very moody (wich yes I know is part of the wonderful thing we call hormones) but more so than usual. I worry that she is going into depression and her husband doesn't see it.

    She also has a history of depression not baby related.

    Any advice???
     
  2. madame_zora

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    Wow, Nienna that's some tough stuff. I especially feel sorry for the baby who won't be getting that bonding that is so very helpful early on. I wonder what "the books" say about that? It sounds to me like you've done what you could, I never had post-partum depression or really knew anyone who did, so I'm not really of much use. I just wanted to offer my support here since there aren't that many of us women.

    If she already has a history of depression that is not baby related, here is my shot-in-the-dark guess. Depression is the naturally occuring symptom of too much self-focus. We obsess about some things in our life that are not perfect and we allow them to mushroom in our minds into overwhelming atrocities. Now, I'm not talking about the deep sadness one feels after a real tragedy, but the "depression" that is most usually clinically diagnosed. Likewise, post-partum depression has it's roots on more focus being given to the baby than the mother. While pregnant, the women is the center of attention, people come up and want to feel her belly, ask her how she's feeling, tell her she looks beautiful, has she picked out names, if she knows the gender, on and on. Immediately afterward, all the focus goes directly to the baby which can leave the woman feeling abandoned. The result is, she resents the baby for making her feel neglected. I would encourage you to talk to her husband, if you have that kind of relationship with them, and suggest that they leave the baby with a trusted relative for an evening and go have a nice night out, dinner or something, where he can just spend time with her and tell her how proud he is of her for bringing their baby into the world and making them a family. I know this sounds dorky to get a guy to say anything close to that, but if she feels like a desired and capable woman, it may help assuage the feeling of hopelessness she is probably feeling.
     
  3. Knight

    Knight New Member

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    Is Post Partum Depression the same as Post Natal Depression?

    I don't know what you could do, that's a tough situation...maybe talk your sister in law's husband? Arranging a date is a good idea like Mme Z said. Good luck :D

    Hopefully she can get over it that way but if she doesn't and is still depressed try taking her to the doctors?
     
  4. naughty

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    jana,

    I always love your conquering spirit, but post partum depression though it can be very disturbing is often hormonally driven and the person going through it in the best of all worlds would not wish it on their worst enemy. I used to have so much to say about depression until I developed it from a chemical imbalance and found it was nothing that I expected. I even felt quite ashamed that I had been so harsh to others. I know it looks to all the world like selfish laziness and in some cases I am not ruling that out .But there are always exceptions.

    naughty
     
  5. Nienna

    Nienna New Member

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    Madame Z thanks for your awesome support (as usual) and thanks to Knight and Naughty as well.

    Madame Z the part about the woman being the center of attention beforehand and baby afterwards is exactly what I think started her mood swings etc. Before she even got pregnant (and I've known her for a longtime) she was the type that ALWAYS had to be the center of attention, and I mean ALWAYS. Now that the baby is here the focus is on baby, and I think that is what started the whole this ball of wax in the first place. I think those feelings led her to disengage from her baby and not want to listen to anyone's advice on what might make life easier for them. Seeing as how they have been together for 10 years and not used to being a family, I know her husband is feeling "cabin feverish" because he can't leave the house (she doesn't want to be alone with the baby). My husband and I went there the other day so that the guys could get some fresh air and stuff and I could visit with her and help out with baby but all she did was hand the baby to me and go take a bath and make phone calls and watch tv. As I said before I totally don't mind helping out, but a new mom who doesn't want anything to do with her baby strikes me as a bit off.

    My mother in law was worried about this before she had the baby, and so she is concerned as well. But seeing as how they aren't close she doesn't get to see as much first hand as I have. I don't want to upset anyone and make her feel like i'm accuseing her of any wrong-doing, but I do think if she goes much further like this that poor baby is going to feel a litlle lonely. I'm not worried about "neglect" as in malnurishment and abuse etc, but I do feel they should be spending more time getting to know thier baby and enjoying this time.

    This woman is also the type that likes to think she knows everything and talks down to everyone(yes even the mother and father in laws). Wich I also think is part of the problem. She thought she knew everything from reading a book (what to expect when your expecting) and then (what to expect the first year) I tried telling them that yes they have good ideas and are good for a guidline, but they aren't nessarily the Be all and end all of advice and information. I said every baby is different and that they need to get to know thier baby in order to understand his needs and wants. I tried to explain that they are good guidline, but don't worry if thier baby isn't totally the same as "the book". She thought it would be easy, like playing House... and now that Jr is here and it isn't as easy as she thought, its causeing problems.

    I just really feel for that baby, I have two children and I know how important it is for mother to bond with thier babies. Now maybe my mommy instinct is kicking into overdrive here ( I don't know) but I just want to be able to fix it and make sure he feels safe, secure and loved.
     
  6. naughty

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    Nienna,

    I have a question... did she want children or did she get pregnant for her hsuband or was it unplanned? IF it wasnt something she wanted perhaps she is holding rage and hostility about feeling trapped. I know it sounds selfish but then you have already confimed that about her.

    Naughty
     
  7. Nienna

    Nienna New Member

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    funny you should ask.

    She is the one that has wanted kids for a while. She used to ( don't know if she still does) hold a grudge against me because I was the first to bring grandchildren into the family ( how childish and selfish I know). When My hubby and I told her I was pregnant she looked at us and said " is this a good thing?" she made some really rude comments to me through out my whole pregnancy and then for a while afterwards. but thats niether here nor there. Her husband didn't want any kids, but she talked him into it over the years.

    I think ( and so does the rest of the family) that she thought having a baby was going to be just like playing house. To her its like he is a trophy; and I'm not saying it to be mean, but thats how everyone in the family feels she is.
     
  8. Imported

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    BigBowser: Hello everyone, I'm Niennas husband, and yup this is my first post on the board.

    Like my wife said, depression has been something my sister-in-law has delt with for most of her life...I see her mother at fault for that(I'm sure a book could be written about it). I've known my sister in law longer than I've known my wife, and I can actually say I am surprised they had a child. I always thought they would live without kids in thier household, as a child would "cramp" thier style. I'm concerned that perhaps they had the baby to make them feel more accepted into our family, or some nonsense like that.

    When i became a parent, I was very scared that I might break the baby, or something bad might happen to the baby(I'm still like that, parenting is fun that way ;) ) But I was still excited, and it was THE only thing on my mind. My brother it seems to be a little more ditant from my nephew from what I remember myself being. He's told me he feels a little jelous that he has to share time with his wife, and that he didnt expect not having he freedoms he used to. I cant honetly say I wasnt the least bit jelous of sharing time, in fact I found it a good way to get closer to my wife.

    Now, the questions for the guys. Is jelousy towards the new baby a common thing for guys, or is it a rare thing? The other question, how many of you guys felt like you lost all the freedom in the world when you became a parent?

    I remember the whole tihng as being the best experience of my life, as far as I know I didnt have those feelings my brother has, but then again, what people remember and what really happened are sometimes 2 different things.

    Now, I'll let my wife have her thread back, hehe :)
     
  9. madame_zora

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    BigBowser, welcome to the board! It's cool to see both husband and wife participating, I hope you won't be a stranger.

    In my experience with friends and myself, jealousy from the husband is completely normal, almost expected, especially with the first child. Since your brother and his wife had ten years of marriage, they had some pretty strong daily patterns interrupted with the birth of their first child, I would have been surprised if he hadn't been jealous! Not only does a baby detract from his time with his wife, their sex life, their alone time, but it also detracts from his personal free time which he may be quite reticent to give up. These are the things I wish people would think about before electing to have children, because now the babe is here and no one wants to nurture him. It's very sad, actually.
    People are selfish creatures, we all know this, but babies are just complete little balls of needs. They can't do anything for themselves, they need constant care. It gets easier as time goes on but that first year of bonding is crucial, left undone it will have lasting effects on his ability to trust, learn, make discernments and a myriad of critical thinking skills. Yes, children have a way of overcoming their parents and I hope this will be the case, but it's a shame when people bring a child into the world for window dressing, not because they seriously want one or are willing to put in the hours.



    Naughty, I hope my post did not sound condemning toward this woman, but I stand behind what I said. It is my express belief that depression is chiefly a symptom of an unbalanced view of the self. You must remember that I am an alcoholic, and that that is a symptom of the same imbalance. Yes, there are drugs unscrupulous doctors try to pander to the sick, when we really need emotional healing. I am not unsympathetic to the reality of depression, but I do vehemently object to it's misdiagnosis and shoving the needs of the individual under the rug. If we are emotionally sick we need an emotional cure. Yes, it's a chemical imbalance and it causes us to view the world innacurately, but correcting our view is the proper treatment, not taking drugs and continuing to think irrationally! Of course, we will all believe what the path of our lives has proven to us, so it is quite understandable that different people view things differently, but I wanted to assure you that I was not taking a slam at her or calling her a bad person, I was just saying that she needed to readjust her thinking, probably with the help of a counsellor who would give her some direction, if she was going to get well. I doubt any drug on earth will make her love her baby or make her want to hold him more.
     
  10. Nienna

    Nienna New Member

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    Madame Z can we hire you for an intervention? :)


    It turns out that my in laws, bought a swing for the babe and my brother in law is gushing about how much he loves it (the babe that is). "As long as he gets to see the TV" he says.

    Now to me this is a few things rolled into one. Both of course being very sad. One it is the parents being to self absorbed to spend time with Baby and taking the "easy" way out. And Two that babe likes the noise of the tv because he actaully has some interaction (not that the babe can discern the difference).

    It just kills me to see this and be so helpless. We all knew why she wanted a baby (for a "trophy") And we all had hoped that "motherhood" might change her, but so far it seems as if nothing has changed except that the poor baby, who never asked to be here, is now caught in the middle.

    I don't know if it is my mother instinct kicking into overdrive or what, but it is so hard for me to NOT go over there and "take over" and give that little guy some attention and love.

    On the other hand I know completely well that they NEED to learn to be parents and they need to learn how to deal. And noone can tell them that, they have to realize that on thier own. I just hope they do it SOON.

    I am more than willing to be suportive and do what I have to make sure that the baby is given what he needs. But at the same time, seeing as how this situation is so complex, I don't want to "step on toes" and have things blow up to the point where I don't get to see my nephew at all. Which I can TOTALLY see happening.

    Edit: As for the husband being jealous, I remember BB being obsessed with my comfort/health and the baby's safety. We spent alot of time together after baby was born, he had taken a few weeks off work to be home with us. In all truth I think it was the most peaceful time we had together as a family. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter hubby. Anything we needed he provided, and then some. I don't think he was jealous of missing sex until a while had passed. One of the many advantages of having hubby in the birthing room now a days is that they see what happens during delivery and are to scared to ask for sex until you make the first move LOL. I think we adjusted well, once kids were/are in bed its "our" time together, it has always has been like that. That way we still get our time, yet it doesn't take away from the needs of the children. And yes sometimes we say we need to get out, and we do, we have lots of family that are awesome at babysitting so we can have a night out here and there.
     
  11. madame_zora

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    Nienna, I think you, your husband and your children are lucky to have each other! I wish it were so more often, but I think loving families like yours don't grow on trees.
    My sister had a child that she is raising poorly and I can tell you how much it pains me to know that, but she made it clear from the beginning that she thought I was a bad influence and my opinions were not welcome. It's hard when it's your own family, but I realise that I only have power over my own life (much as I'd like to control the world!) and must satisfy myself with that. My sister and I are not in contact, and I can only wish the best for my niece, I hope we can be friends as adults but somehow it seems doubtful. Your story of your child's birth warmed my heart, you restoreth my faith in humanity! Thank you. I think if that had been my experience, I would still be married today.
     
  12. Imported

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    mkhonto: Howzit!
    This may be a long-ish post.
    Nice to see some sensitivity going on here! Bowser & Nienna sound like really kind caring ppl, and all I can say is that you are in the very best care with (Honorary Dr) Mme Z.
    Bowser asked about men being disenfranchised/emasculated/shut out or something like that? I guess all guys feel a little like that. Mrs Mkhonto and I have had a very interesting experience recently which confirmed my feelings: I am not alone. We have just done a marriage-refresher course with a number of other couples who have ranged from several like us (30-somethings with assorted kids) to 60-somethings with grandkids. A lot of frankness came out of it, and the upshot is that WE ALL FEEL LEFT OUT IN THE EARLY STAGES OF HAVING KIDS, AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S THE FIRST, SECOND OR THIRD ONE- THE EXPERIENCE JUST GETS TO BE MORE FAMILIAR! Shouting over. The most important thing thing a husband/father can do is idolise his new-look family unit, and reassure his wife that she is still wonderful/[insert adjective here] to him. I had to support Mrs Mkhonto's mental health through two pregnancies, and I can tell you that PPD is terrifying. But it is beatable. Dads suffer the most hideous mental mutilation through it, though, and that's often overlooked. I think that the main stress comes as a result of the forced change. Enough people write about refugee stress and combat stress and all those nasty things, but what these things all share is the effect of forced change. People all (Nienna & BB's family too) survive if they can adjust to the stress of new environmental factors.
    So what to do?
    One of the best things to help, we found, is to make the new pygmy fit in with our lives. We don't leave kids in kennels when we go on family outings, so why are we so afraid of babies? In Africa, kids are traditionally tied onto mummy's back like a papoose and they jolly well get on with it. Okay, so they can't go anywhere alone yet!
    But get along with your lives and the kid adapts. Another thing that helps is if there is a strong peer support-group. Just people to share experiences with in the same social circle. Our ante-natal group provided Mrs M with much of the validation she needed, but helped me buggerall. And just before I pin this up, another thing that was wonderful was having a group of friends come over to our place and abuse our hospitality. Seriously, they had a BYO barbecue at our place and did absolutely everything, even the washing-up. It was like old times, and Mrs M and I didn't feel like lepers on an island for the whole afternoon. That scores big in my book.
    Mrs M and I will compare notes if you like and I will find out what helped her.
     
  13. Nienna

    Nienna New Member

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    I admit I am lucky, and I do know that happy families don't grow on trees....I was married once before and that was one bad apple of a marriage.

    As for your niece and being friends when your older, I wish you the best. I didn't get to know half my family on my fathers side until I was in my late teens because he and my mom split before I was even born.
     
  14. naughty

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    Jana,
    I am not offended in the least. I really didnt know that situation and you are very correct that she probably does need some form of cognitive therapy. Her brother in law did confirm that she has suffered with depression all of her life. Quite oftem when someone has depression and they then have children they devlp what is called double depression which takes them even further down into the valley.I know it is probably exasperating for the families of those that suffer from it and does also seem selfish but telling them to just get over it or snap out of it really isnt going to help either. It is easy for me to make judgements though and not be involved in the situation. What ever is going on I wish them all the best.

    naughty
     
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