To Breathe Again, a Closer Look at PPD and PTSD with Kerissa P.
I’m Kerissa, married to Jason, and we have a 1 year-old son, Gregory and a 4 year-old Golden Retriever puppy, Koda. We live in Washington State, where it doesn’t rain as much as people assume. The name of my blog is To Breathe Again. I had a horrible delivery with my son where something went wrong during the c-section, and I ended up with Peritonitis, exploratory surgery and a 3 week hospital stay. I came up with the name because when I was diagnosed with PPD and PTSD I literally felt like there were times when I couldn’t breathe; I had to remind myself, force myself, to breathe. When I decided to start blogging about what I was going through, To Breathe Again seemed like an obvious name choice. I wanted to get to a place where I could breathe without ever having to remind myself to do so.
How long ago were you diagnosed with Postpartum PTSD? Did you know about Postpartum PTSD before you were diagnosed? If you did know about it, did you feel as though you had Postpartum PTSD or a similar condition prior to being diagnosed?
I was diagnosed with PPD and PTSD about 10 months ago. I had an idea that PPD may be a diagnosis for me, but I had no idea about the PTSD. I had a horrible delivery experience and had trouble being in my own home, but I didn’t realize that PTSD was something you could have after a delivery gone horribly wrong. I was like a lot of people who thought PTSD was something that was saved for soldiers coming back from war or people who’ve survived a horrible tragedy (such as 9/11). I truly believed that depression was a much more likely diagnosis. I was right (sort of). It was just half (or even a third, as I’ve got some PP Anxiety as well) of my diagnosis.
What made you decide to want to write a book about Postpartum PTSD?
Postpartum PTSD isn’t written about in book form often. Most of the books I could find were graduate-level texts. When I was struggling, I wanted something I could really connect with and I couldn’t find that. From research, I understand PTSD is only diagnosed in 1-6% of all deliveries, but I have to question the number somewhat and say, what about the women who are never diagnosed due to not reaching out or out of shame? What about the women who are misdiagnosed? Anyway, I felt a strong urge to tell my story; partly out of healing and partly to help other women who may be going through the same thing.
What are some ways in which you find support? For others struggling with Postpartum PTSD, what resources do you recommend they check out?
I found an awesome support group at a local hospital for women going through all types of Postpartum Mood Disorders. I also really appreciate the online blogging community, the people that support me via Facebook and Twitter – the friends that I haven’t met but who give me strength. I’ve also learned a lot from Postpartum Support International. They are a great resource for moms in any state struggling to find help, no matter what the postpartum issue is.
Are there any other [mom blogs, blogs in general, coupon blogs, anything really!] blogs you recommend to other moms?
I really appreciate reading Heir to Blair and Moosh in Indy. Both blogs resonate with me and I appreciate reading about moms who have beat PPMD. It gives me strength knowing that it can and will get better.
What are your top 10 tips for moms?
1. Ask for help. There is no shame in needing support whether you have a postpartum mood disorder or just need a nap. Ask for help.
2. Sleep when the baby sleeps. Laundry can wait.
3. Pizza for dinner 3 nights in a row happens. It’s ok. You’ll live.
4. Have your spouse do at least 50% of night duty so you can sleep.
5. Split the chores. If you stay home, you are still working. If you work outside the home you have double duty. Chores should be split evenly – the “you stay home all day” excuse goes nowhere with me.
6. Take pictures. Time flies whether you are having fun or not.
7. Laugh. Find something to laugh at every day.
8. Eat dark chocolate. It’s a great serotonin elevator. And, it’s just good.
9. Get out of your house. If you stay home, find somewhere you need to be every day even if that means you need to walk to get coffee 3 out of 5 days.
10. Buy a good swing. Need I say more?