The Rambles of a mad woman

I know it should be ramblings, but for the sake of space…

In the Wake of Yet Another Tragedy

on October 16, 2015

People of the internet,
You’ve seen the headlines- “3rd baby in 3 months dies after being tossed from NY window,” “Mother of four drowns child in tub.” You’ve read the news stories, but you’ve never read the REAL story. The story of postpartum psychosis.
How do these things happen? How could a mother ever harm their precious baby? Are these women soulless monsters? NO! Many of them suffer from postpartum psychosis, a disease that, tragically, many are still ignorant of.
Women do not have a child in the hopes of developing postpartum psychosis. It is not their fault. They choose this disease as much as one chooses to catch the flu or develop breast cancer. It occurs in 1 to 2 of ever 1000 deliveries. These women can be perfectly healthy, normal, caring individuals, although significant risk factors include a personal or family history of bipolar disorder or psychotic episodes. They love their children as much as you love yours, but then, through no fault of their own, they fall very ill.
That’s no excuse, at some point there is logical thinking, she should have given up her child & sought help, you say? Would you say that someone in a wheelchair should just stand up & walk? How can she do as you demand? She is NOT thinking logically. Symptoms of postpartum psychosis include: Delusions or strange beliefs, hallucinations,rapid mood swings, insomnia, paranoia, & unorganized thoughts/speech resulting in difficulty communicating at times.She is experiencing a break from reality. In her state psychotic state, these delusions & paranoid thoughts are terribly real & make complete sense to her. This is not a rational state of mind. It cannot make sense, but it CAN be understood.
Research suggests that there is approx a 5% suicide rate and a 4% infanticide rate associated with the illness. It is as much OUR fault- as her neighbors, friends, & family- as hers when these things happen, if not even more so. We are blind in our ignorance, we overlook the signs, deny her struggles. We do not reach out or offer our assistance. These tragedies are completely preventable. We ALLOW these terrible events to take place.These women are ILL, they might not even realize it, & they can hardly help themselves- it is up to US.
Know a mother of an infant? You don’t even need to know them personally. Even if she seems perfectly healthy- offer her assistance. Bring over a casserole, do a chore or two, or run an errand. Allow her to get some rest. Get to know her, check up on her, make sure she’s okay. A small sacrifice of your time can help to save a life. Isn’t that worth half an hour? A few dollars? Please, if you see that she is struggling- do something about it. It is very important that you reach out IMMEDIATELY and find the support and information you need. Call the hotline 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7. Call for yourself or someone you care about.
It is important to note that many survivors of postpartum psychosis never had delusions containing violent commands & do not harm themselves or others. Delusions take many forms, not all are destructive. However, there is always the very real risk of danger because psychosis includes delusional thinking & irrational judgment, and this is why women with this illness must be quickly assessed, treated, and carefully monitored by a trained mental health professional.
I was lucky to have free & easy access to all of those, but so many do not. It saved my life, my children’s lives. God only knows what I would have done. Drive of a bridge? Maybe. Accidentally have smothered or shaken my child? Probably. More likely than I ever want to admit. As much as it breaks my heart to think I ever entertained such ideas, that I could ever have harmed my children that I love more than life itself, as much as I don’t want your judgements (ps- a huge reason people do not ask for help) I have to speak out because just maybe I can bring a little enlightenment to the world.
Love each other, be a light in the world, leave someone a little better off than you found them.

Thank you for reading & feel free to share- Together we CAN stop these tragedies from ever happening.


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