Anna Trout is my soul sister.
Actually, she's more than that. If I could have a patronus, it would be her.
I could go on and on forever telling you about how wonderful she is and how epic of an opportunity it is for you to read her story, but because she really is that wonderful, I'd rather you just skip over me and go right to her.
Meet Anna Trout.
I am so honored to be a guest writer here on Graceful Birthing. The founder Kasaundra is my dearest friend, and the person who has taught me the most about graceful living and that I have a story that needs to be shared and that I am the only one who can share it.
My story is unique and my own. But it is not the only one and it is hardly the exception.
1 in 7 women will get postpartum depression (PPD) or a related illness, that’s nearly a million women a year in the US alone.
That means that it’s more likely that you’ll get PPD than it is that you’ll get breast cancer.
While those may seem like scary odds we can do something about it. We can educate ourselves and the public about these illnesses, we can break down stigmas about mental health, we can help reform the medical system through which we receive treatment, we can advocate for better maternal health and we can support the other mothers around us who are suffering a postpartum illness.
I share my story to help other mothers and families. I share my story to help improve maternal mental health not just for today but for generations to come, for my daughter and her daughters, and my nieces, and my sisters, and my friends, and for all women.
This is my story.
All I could see was the matted beige carpet and all I felt was paralyzing fear. I was lying on my bedroom floor, hyperventilating, hysterically crying, my arms and legs numb, unable to speak or call out for help. I banged my fists as hard as I could against the floor, desperately hoping my husband would hear it and come check on me.
I heard his footsteps running up our stairs and as I looked toward the door and saw his face, all I saw was absolute fear. Neither one of us knew what was happening. We would later learn that I had experienced a severe panic attack, and while it had been my first it was certainly not my last. For the next 6 months those debilitating panic attacks would happen daily and would be a constant companion in my dark world.
That was on July 4, 2013 just 7 weeks after the birth of my second child, my daughter Katelyn. Both my husband and I assumed it was just exhaustion. Our daughter was very colicky, never slept, and we had moved across the country to start a new job just 3 weeks after she was born. It was the perfect storm. In hindsight what scares me most is how easy it was to mistake and dismiss my postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD as normal mommy stuff or symptoms caused only from all the other stressors going on around us.
As my symptoms grew worst, into paranoia, obsessive behaviors, weight loss, intrusive thoughts, and eventually self-harming, we eagerly sought treatment with doctors, OBGYNs, and therapists. However treatment was hard to find and in my very sick mind I started to believe that no one could help me and that my real challenge now was to figure out how to function and be a good mother in the state I was in.
I could write a whole book about my experience and still not have shared it all. I don’t know if I could ever find the words to be able to describe the darkness, fear, and sheer horror of that year after my daughter was born. However there are key-points from that experience that I want and need to share.
The first is that postpartum mood disorders are real and treatable. If you feel off, even just a little, GO SEE A DOCTOR. Better safe than sorry doesn’t even cover it. Schedule that appointment and go.
If gone untreated postpartum mood disorders can and will get worst and have long term effects on the health of the mother and her children.
PPD and other postpartum illnesses don’t just affect the mother, but the whole family. It was the hardest year in my husband’s life, not just mine.
Advocate for yourself. Be honest with your doctors and your support system around you.
Even if you don’t have PPD but are struggling with your transition into motherhood, talk to a friend or see a therapist. Your children will learn about self-care through you. Treat yourself the way you would want your children to treat themselves. That idea quite possibly saved my life.
Don’t be afraid. We can fight this fight and we
can win. I am a warrior mom. I have won my
For more information on PPD and other related illnesses visit postpartumprogress.com
Oh boy. I didn't make it through that without tearing up. Anna's story is so powerful and authentic. It's an honor to be invited into it. Her strength and resilience awe me and I'm so proud to say that this dear friend of mine is shining bright enough to stand as a beacon of hope for others.
Anna is hosting the "Climb Out of the Darkness" climb for Postpartum Progress this year. She is drawing others to her in support and love. It is her dream that something beautiful come out of this harrowing experience.
I believe that she is well on her way.
Please consider donating to or joining a climb near you. "Sunshine. Nature. Togetherness. Triumph."
Fight on warriors.