Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is it Postpartum Depression?

I have debated if I would post this on my blog because I have really wanted to maintain a positive feel here so that other bipolar women thinking about having a baby or currently pregnant would be encouraged and know that its possible. In the end I've decided that really this blog is also partially about my real life.

So, here it goes. I am starting to think that I may be starting to suffer from a mild postpartum depression. I know that traditionally it starts within weeks of birth - but they say it can be anywhere in the first year. Currently my daughter is 8 months old. I just got my weekly email from babycenter and saw this:
Which new moms are at greatest risk of suicide? (here's the link). I have some history with that subject so I checked it out. And as suspected the article says women who have previously suffered from depression (checkmark needed) or other psychiatric conditions (checkmark needed) or who have attempted suicide previously (checkmark needed), have been hospitalized in the last five years (checkmark almost - It has been 5 years and 2 months since I was hospitalized) are at a 27 TIMES higher risk than the general population. (Please note I previously wrote 27% and that was not accurate)

At the bottom of the article there was the link to the postpartum depression article. So I checked that out and was surprised to see how much it sounded like me from the past few weeks.

I've known that I've started to feel a little down ... and have been somewhat irritable and am not sleeping as well as I would like, but I hadn't started the crying until the last week and then yesterday I had a brief thought of "why am I here" - which just happened to be my 30th birthday. Do not get me wrong I am not suicidal -- it was a brief moment where I questioned my existence. Witin minutes I realized I am here to raise an amazing little girl - who I know will do great things in her life.

And now my dilemma is do I wait this out for another few weeks, be more diligent about exercise (which I have slacked off on the last two weeks because I've been busy with the baby and work), focus on healthier eating, increase my omegas and maybe go to a support group -- or do I call my psychiatrist and either increase my Lamictal or start an antidepressant.

Ordinarily I would do both. However, I am worried that by getting on something else I will need to stop breastfeeding. And that makes me feel horrible. I really, really wanted to breastfeed for at least a full year since I know that is what is best for my baby. But then again, mommy crying clearly isn't best for baby either.

So I guess I know what I really need to do ... pick up the phone and call the doctor and maybe we will find something that still feels safe for me to continue breastfeeding. I am already having guilty feelings that I'm going to be a bad mom if I have to prematurely wean my daughter ...

The funny thing is until I read the babycenter email I just thought I was a little down due to some stress in my life.

I was so proud of myself for maintaining everything so well ... I have been on a low dose of medicine for so long (I was without all medicine for 3 months and for the last 14 months have been on less than half of my former dose of Lamictal) and only on one medication (no klonpin, ambien, sonata, antidepressants -- nothing) and it felt great to know that I was just healthy. Almost feels like a letdown that I now am feeling like this.

I also wonder if turning 30 has contributed to this ...
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