Looking through the news a name came up I hadn’t thought of in years.
The woman who drowned her five children, was convicted of murder, and then her conviction was overturned and later she was sent to a mental health facility.
The crime gripped the nation as all of us who had little to no experience with mental health issues threw stones at anyone even remotely close to her and sat stupefied at such horror. Those who knew loved ones that battled mental health kept quiet. They knew all too well the silent fears that gripped them concerning their loved ones whose sanity could be called into question at any moment.
While I have never had postpartum depression, I have been gripped by a sadness of short duration after having a baby and my heart always breaks for mothers who can’t swim their way out of the tears and fears gripping their hearts and minds.
I have had good friends who (thankfully) reached out for help when their depression turned into psychosis and truthfully they feared for their life and the life of their child. And an acquaintance of mine lost her twin sister, Jenny, to postpartum psychosis after her sister took the life of her baby and herself in the family backyard.
Postpartum is a very real and overwhelming issue for plenty of new moms and the only good thing to come out of horrific situations like Andrea Yates and that of my friend’s sister is that it sheds light on the need for awareness and REAL support.
[bctt tweet=”#Postpartum is a very real and overwhelming issue for plenty of new moms.” username=”lyettereback”]
Dealing with mental health issues can be the most disarming and frightening of all. Cancer cells we can target chemotherapy at and test the blood cells and see improvement… A broken arm we can cast and see the x-ray where healing has occurred… But a mental health issue involves the person who is suffering relaying their better or worse of feelings to a counselor or doctor that the family has chosen that may or may not be the right doctor for the challenge. How do we ever really know the mental health or stability of our loved one in the care of a professional? How can we truly ever say that our loved one is stable, out of danger, out of danger from harming themselves or someone else?
Andrea Yates is an extreme example of postpartum psychosis and her children suffered horrific deaths because of it. Her husband will never recover.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with any kind of postpartum blues, depression or worse, you can find sources to help at www.jennyslight.org. Jenny’s Light was founded by her twin sister Becky and has done much to advance awareness, education, and prevention for moms all across the country. My prayer is that if this post can even help one mom struggling after the birth of a baby to realize that she is not alone and to reach out for help, then it is one thing good to come out of the depths of such tragedy.