Erin Saddic, MS
West Chester, PA
Maternal Mental Health Specialist
Pregnancy & Postpartum Emotional Wellness
Letter to Delaware County Daily Times
Published: Sunday, June 20, 2010
Postpartum Support International
That day, my mom drove 150 miles to my house and didn't leave for two weeks. My OB ordered something to help me sleep and referred me to a fantastic counselor who knew all the ins and outs of postpartum mood disorders. (I didn't realize then how lucky I was to live in an area where perinatal mood disorders were treated with care and compassion. I have found since, it's not always the case. ) Reaching out and telling people the truth about how I was feeling was the beginning of the slow rise of the curtain that had so totally enveloped me. For the first time, I felt hope.
After a week of getting some sleep and having my first counseling session, I was ready to meet other moms. I was ready for the big parachute of Gymboree. The women I met in those first few weeks helped save my life. We became collaborators, conspirators, and colleagues. Although they weren't going through exactly what I was going through, they got it. They got me. Because I reached out and in return got love, support, and friendship, I got better. Slowly, not always easily; but I recovered.
So, today I try to help other women who feel the same way I did. I try to let them know they aren't alone. I try to pass along the gift of support and empathy that I was given. I am constantly amazed and humbled by how we women triumph over adversity, and our great capacity for generosity. Finding my tribe made my journey easier, funnier, and less lonely. My sincerest hope is that everyone with PPD gets that opportunity and that recovery.
The Tribe of Postpartum Depression
A Personal Story
by Erin Saddic, MS
I knew I had found my girls when I sat down on the Gymboree mat. I looked to the left and to the right and there they were. My tribe. Unshowered. Shell shocked. Exhausted. Each time one of the 10 infants would cry, someone's milk would come down. It was heaven. I never felt so welcomed or so validated.
Going to a Gymboree class was part of my therapy for postpartum depression. I was 35 and coming off a traumatic, turbulent birth that left me physically and emotionally damaged. It was now 5 months later, and damaged had turned into sad, anxious, panicked, hopeless and full of guilt. Adding to the degradation was my career as a successful psychotherapist. It was my job to help others get through difficult transitions. Now here I was, totally defeated and majorly depressed. The day I finally reached out for help, I was going on 3 days with a total of zero hours sleep. I was practically catatonic and ready to jump out the window. I was the saddest and most anxious I had ever been in my life. All the while this sweet little meatloaf of a kid just kept smiling and napping like nothing was wrong in his world at all. I was convinced he deserved so much better than me. Simply, I was unworthy.
Getting ready to present at the Bringing Home Baby Expo at Paoli Hospital.
Breastfeeding help and lactation services
Dana Ehman is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
770 E. Market Street
West Chester, PA 19382
1. Make yourself the top priority. This sounds radical, but is necessary. The best gift you can give your kids is a fully developed, confident, happy mom. It’s my trickle-down theory of mothering. If you’re not OK, nothing is.
2. Take time off every week from mothering. Have a regular time set aside each week where you can engage in something that interests you. Bookstores, swimming, exercise classes, painting, educational courses. Get your hair done. Meet a friend for coffee.
3. Buy clothes that fit the body you have now. Go shopping and try on clothes without judgment or fear of sizes. Buy what’s on trend, looks great, and makes you feel good about how you look.
4. Make plans for your life outside of the kids. This applies in equal measure to working moms, and those home full time with kids. If your children become your whole identity, when they go off to school you may feel alone and without purpose. You need to cultivate the other parts of you. Keep your hand in what you loved before you had kids. Your career, volunteering, community groups etc.
5. Show yourself the same level of compassion, understanding, and forgiveness that you show others. Perfectionism is the poison fruit from the tree of judgment.
6. Stay connected with liked minded women who fill you up, not bring you down. You should come out of an interaction feeling positively charged. If you don’t, consider putting your time into something or somebody more engaging and fun.
How to Not Lose Yourself to Motherhood.
A Practical Guide in 6 Steps.