Day 20 – Inspired by these blogs

This is Day 20 of the 30 day writing challenge. Skipped Day 19 for, well, a few reasons. As I had mentioned in here, any skipped entries will see me donate cash by end of this month to My Mind My Funk, a mental health organization run by the amazing Sitawa Wafula. Typing in the quiet of the early morning is as tranquil as it gets; reminds me of this post I penned a while back. Getting that perfect balance is as elusive as it gets, but we trudge on.

Today, I’d like to share some of the blogs that I follow, and which have inspired my journey struggling with Postpartum Depression. The blogs are in no particular order, but have undoubtedly helped shape my outlook, inspiring me to trudge on the treacherous road that PPD is. Other blogs, while not specifically addressing depression or mental health, have offered glimpses into God’s grace, strokes that paint the canvas of life in comforting shades of reassurance and a divine plan. Better still, blogs that infused hope and humour, because you can only look back and smile, and laugh at the funny parts.

With no further ado:

1) Postpartum Progress – A resourceful website that offers support for moms with PPD, as well as any other mental health condition that is related to pregnancy and raising children. It is an excellent network that brings moms together from all corners of the world, allowing them to share their stories without stigma. If you think you may be suffering PPD, or simply want additional information, this is a site I would highly recommend.

2) Sunshine Spoils Milk – An amazing blog run by my girl Kimberley Zapata. Incidentally, first came across this blog when I was on Postpartum Progress, when Kim had posted a raw, heart wrenching story about her PPD journey, aptly titled Fahrenheit. Her resilience, her tenacity, her realistic approach, and ultimately her brute honesty; these are just some of the things that inspired me. Her work has appeared in major publications, so you might want to check her out.

3) Our Small Moments – Many times, feeling stuck in the pits of PPD made me think it really was the weight of the world crushing on me. And it is easy to feel like one is not good enough. Reading this blog by Courtney Fitzgerald helped put so many things in perspective. Courtney is an amazing mom, widow and photographer. She chronicles her journey after the loss of her husband to cancer. I am enamored by her fortitude, her strength and insight.

4) Mundane Faithfulness – This website was originally written and managed by the late Kara Tippets before her homecoming. Kara had breast cancer, and at MF, she penned her raw thoughts, always pointing us, her readers, bck to the one who mattered most, Jesus. She allowed us to peek into her vulnerability, always looking for fresh grace to love those around her, and to love big. The site is now managed by a beautiful soul, Blythe Hunt (who also suffered depression, you can read that here), who, in my opinion, does a superb job carrying on Kara’s legacy alongside the MF team. Rest well Kara, dance with the angels.

5) PNDandme – A website run by Rosey, and dedicated to raising awareness about PPD. What struck me about her rich site is the diversity of the topics she addresses. More importantly, she features guest posts by Matt, a dad who has experienced the challenges of raising kids with PPD. Yes, dads too suffer from PPD! Rosey is also the founder of #pndchat, an online gathering that addresses topical features on #pnd.

This is just but a short list of my favorite blogs. Countless people have poured into my heart over my journey, and I am oh so grateful. What are some of the blogs that have inspired you in your journey? Blogs that encouraged you to hold on even when it looks bleak? I want to hear from you. Let’s share, you never know who you could touch. Sending sunshine to you all.

Day 3 – Postpartum Depression Therapy

This is the third day of my 30 day writing challenge, and today I wanted to highlight therapy options available for those suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). Please not that this post, and any other on the blog does not reflect a professional angle to this mental health condition, and is simply a platform for me to help other moms who may be going through what I did, as well as create awareness for the same. Do have a look at the Medical Disclaimer page on this blog if you have any concerns.

This post would be a follow up of sorts to one I wrote on the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression which you can check out here. Looking out for these symptoms is an effective way to gain clarity into this condition for the simple reason that there is not a single specific test that diagnoses the presence of PPD. Consequently, for therapy to begin, health practitioners are tasked with collecting extensive information as pertains to an individual’s medical past, their health history as well as the circumstances surrounding their pregnancy; generally a background check into their life.

Once this is complete, a health professional can then outline the ideal form of treatment. Typically, therapy for moms and dads usually starts off from non-medication before proceeding to medication (Yes, dads suffer PPD too!! You may want to read this entry on Huffington Post, written by Mark Williams to get some insight. This amazing account on Rosey’s blog is also an eye opener). Below are brief descriptions of some of the treatment options available.

Psychotherapy – This form of therapy revolves around hand in hand with health professionals to analyze and attempt to solve factors that contribute to PPD. For the most part, this is an incredible form of intervention. Severe PPD may require more intense psychotherapy sessions, and this will usually take months, up to a year to show results. It has the advantage of eliminating medication so that moms who are breastfeeding are able to do so without any pharmcological intervention. Therapists develop programs to help patients get through PPD so that they do not relapse. This form of therapy also involves support-based therapy that may include home visits and Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy

Medication – Medication therapy consists of antidepressants prescriptions. Various medicines are available in the market, a good number of which the preferred mode of action is the tweaking of the concentration of brain chemicals which are known to affect levels of depression.The period of time it takes for PPD healing through medication varies from one person to another.

In many instances, a combination of the two is offered. It is recommended that moms and dads affected by PPD see a health professional to ascertain the preferred mode of therapy.

PS: If you would like a more academic angle to the prevalence of PPD in Kenya, and more specifically at Kenyatta National Hospital (the country’s biggest referral hospital), this paper by Dr. Mwikali Musau may interest you.

Featured Image photo credits: Postpartum Progress