PostPartum Depression- You Do Not Have to Suffer.

postpartum depressionPostpartum depression …you do not need to suffer through it!

The holidays can seriously effect our mood. After having a baby around the holidays, a bout of postpartum depression can hit hard and come right out of nowhere during a time when a mom feels that she should be rejoicing over the birth of her baby.

If a new mom has recently suffered a loss in her life, the holidays can add another burden of trying to “carry on” when she just doesn’t feel up to it.

Grief combined with the emotions and adjustment of having a newborn certainly can predispose a new mom to postpartum depression because she may already be somewhat depressed.

The following is a post I wrote a year ago.

If you or anyone you know is at risk for PPD this may be a helpful read.

If you are depressed please seek help…in an emergency go to your nearest emergency room.

If you want to find a therapist call your Ob-Gyne doctor for a referral…do not suffer on your own…you do not have to be in mental and physical pain…there is help available.

January 30, 2012 by lorettelavine


Postpartum depression is a serious problem that can occur after having a baby…it can occur up to one year after delivery. Sometimes the signs and symptoms can just be an overall sense of anxiety and an inability to enjoy your baby.  As a new mom, if you just don’t feel happy you can attribute it to many things especially lack of sleep and the many changes occurring over such a short period of time but you could be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).

Personally, I did not experience PPD but there were days when I did not feel in control of all the responsibilities of motherhood. It was positively overwhelming. Back in the day…postpartum depression was somewhat overlooked and under treated.  A new mom was made to feel like she  ”just had to suck it up” and get it together. Fortunately, since them that attitude has changed and most obstetricians screen for PPD at the time of the postpartum check-up.

I thought that I would post a list of symptoms of postpartum depression.  If you have more than one or two of these symptoms or are feeling generally depressed for more than two weeks you should check in with your doctor.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are the same as the symptoms of depression that occurs at other times in life. Along with a sad or depressed mood, you may have some of the following symptoms:

  • Agitation or irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feeling withdrawn or unconnected
  • Lack of pleasure or interest in most or all activities
  • Loss of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Problems doing tasks at home or work
  • Negative feelings toward the baby
  • Significant anxiety
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping

A mother with postpartum depression may also:

  • Be unable to care for herself or her baby
  • Be afraid to be alone with her baby
  • Have negative feelings toward the baby or even think about harming the baby Although these feelings are scary, they are almost never acted on. Still you should tell your doctor about them right away.
  • Worry intensely about the baby, or have little interest in the baby

via Postpartum depression – PubMed Health.


Solitude at Sunrise

Solitude at Sunrise

I am sitting here at sunrise

my home away from home

the Boston Globe “blank”,

in front of me.

thinking about attachments

and losses…

that have filled the recent days…

since Death visited.

thanking God for a friend

who touched so many.

loss so painful…beyond bereaved

shoes unfilled…footsteps not finished

life cut short.

sympathy seeping in to fill the depth

death leaves.

seeking to touch family

it helps me to share your loss

as I share your love.

so very, very sorry

no words…

forever changed



Six Months Since Sandy Hook



I Promise to honor the 26 lives lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

I Promise to do everything I can to encourage and support common sense solutions that make my community and our country safer from similar acts of violence.

Today is six months since 26 people were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook School. Twenty of those who died were small children.

We must not forget them.


Please take a moment to read about Sandy Hook Promise and do what you can to remember all these victims and their forever grieving families.

Noah Posner, a little boy who died in his classroom that day is honored by his grandmother in her heartfelt writing on her blog….Farine.

Go there if you can and share his grandmother’s painful moments.

Miscarriage…coping with the “unspeakable”


Miscarriage, like early pregnancy, is still a largely private affair. Unlike births and deaths, it has no rituals to mark it. Even close friends can feel at a loss with no script to follow. Co-workers rarely hear of false starts. One’s life moves on as if it never happened.

via Finding Hope After Miscarriage –


In recent weeks, I have been reading quite a bit about miscarriage on blogs. There seems to be a common thread throughout the stories…unresolved grief.

In my early years as an OB-GYN nurse, circa late 1970’s, I remember seeing young women, who had or were experiencing a miscarriage…what I do not remember is how they grieved their unspeakable loss…maybe because such losses were just that “unspeakable”.

It bothers me that so many years later, miscarriage is still in many cases an “unspeakable” loss.

In the 70’s, I was working at NYU (Langone) Medical Center…the OB-GYN physicians were some of the finest in their field and the loss of a pregnancy was taken seriously but generally the emotional toll on the woman was not always acknowledged or treated.

During those years, it was common for women to stay overnight in the hospital after a miscarriage…it was left up to the nurses and the woman as to whether or not she would remain on the obstetrical floor or be moved to the gynecology floor to recover from her loss.

Surprisingly, I remember that many women actually chose to stay on the obstetrical floor to recover…they wanted to “face” their loss and talk to the staff about what they had just experienced, while others chose to leave the obstetrical unit to grieve their loss in a more private way. Ultimately, it was always up to the woman to make this very personal choice.

Early pregnancy losses are fraught with emotions and questions. Understandably, no answer really relieves the grief nor in some cases the guilt that sometimes accompanies miscarriage.

These days many pregnant women find out about their pregnancy in its very early and most precarious stage. I find this to be somewhat of a mixed blessing…on the one hand, once there is a positive pregnancy test, a woman can take better care of herself getting more rest and eating well, in addition to avoiding certain foods and alcohol, she can also check in with her doctor or begin planning her prenatal care.

On the other hand, this early detection of a pregnancy is a very vulnerable time for miscarriage, a complication that many times cannot even be clearly diagnosed in the very early stages of gestation…even with all the high definition ultrasounds and blood work that is available.

So it seems, along with early detection comes a time of uncertainty and vigilance to make sure the pregnancy gets established in the uterus without complications.

What does “without complication” mean to the newly pregnant woman?

Usually, without complication, “simply” means, that during the first two to three months of pregnancy the mom-to-be remains free from severe morning sickness, cramping, pain and or bleeding.

A very common couple question is whether or not to announce an early detection pregnancy to family and friends…what if there is a miscarriage…does the woman want to deal with telling those same friends and family her “story” if something unforeseen happens? These are all dilemmas that a woman may experience during early pregnancy.

Early pregnancy should be a happy time and for most women it is, but sadly as we know, for others this is not the case.

It seems to me, as I look back on my many years in women’s health, that early detection pregnancy is definitely something that brings with it a mixed bag of feelings, happiness in some cases, and a period of worrisome vigilance in other cases depending on a woman’s previous experience.

Pregnancy loss is accompanied by a cascade of emotions enhanced by a woman’s hormone changes. Dealing with loss and grief is always personal and each one of us grieves in our own way. For some, a miscarriage is a very private loss and only shared with close few, while for others it is a time to recover and grieve by sharing with family and friends and deriving a sense of support from them.

… there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. Our hope is that with these stages comes the knowledge of grief ‘s terrain, making us better equipped to cope with life and loss.

via The Five Stages of Grief – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler | ~ Because Love Never Dies


Some women find that sharing their sadness helps and are surprised by the support that is just within their reach when they are able to tell their story…sharing one’s sadness is not easy but many find that it is just the therapy they need… again this is such a personal choice.

I was nervous about writing about miscarriage, but once it was out there, I felt nothing but support. It made me wonder why we hesitate to share this kind of hurt. It is personal, and it does seem strange to tell the whole world that I’m grieving. But the world is full of hurt. What’s wonderful is that so many people are willing to share a bit of mine – even the smallest bit – and enough people doing that really does make me feel better. I didn’t anticipate that writing about miscarriage here would be so therapeutic. The writing itself is actually sort of painful, in a good way I guess, but sharing the experience has been healing.

via Recovery | Science of Mom.

coping with the emotions of miscarriage, friends, family and shared personal stories.


It would be remiss of me not to include the “dad” in the grieving process…he can be very emotional as well while trying to be supportive of his partner. Charlie Capen wrote a beautiful post about his feelings.

But she had been right. She had been pregnant. Our doctor’s office, a place we had been so excited to visit, to witness a beating heart, to learn the sex of our baby and confirm life, was now an unfair place that just kept taking from us, over and over.

It’s been four months since that late night in Texas. It took me a while to write about it, and even now I am riddled with guilt for experiencing grief over a theoretical baby that mightn’t have existed at all. I’m asking myself why I’m posting this. How do you end a post a like this? Why even write a post like this?

So, I can let it go. Now.

Charlie Capen: IOUD.


I have been moved by the honesty of the feelings expressed in the above posts.

Miscarriage is such a sad experience for a mother and dad to be. There is no prescribed way to mourn the loss of what was to be. Yet many, who experience such a loss feel compelled to quickly move on, sometimes without healing physically and emotionally themselves.

Attachment, loss and grieving are part of all of our lives…these are the words I remember best when I was grieving, “Be good to yourself“. These are the words I would say to anyone who has experienced a miscarriage.

9/11…10 Years Later…Lessons Learned


This past Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The horror of 9/11 will remain.

This year the surviving  families, children and spouses showed us all how life goes on and how they have managed to remember and honor their loved ones who perished on 9/11.

The surviving children that honored their parents at the memorial were inspirational…some knew their parent others did not  as they had not even born yet.

Children are remarkable and in their own way resilient.

Resilience is a word that is used often, but in my opinion it is a characteristic that is not well understood.

Each of us has the capacity for resilient behavior but it has to be nurtured in us.

Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. An increasing body of research from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology is showing that most people–including young people–can bounce back from risks, stress, crises, and trauma and experience life success.

via Resiliency In Action.

It seems that some children function well after traumatic events and this is related to the way their parents’ have reacted to such events and the way they have been brought up to use adaptive coping responses.

It has been found:

When families and mothers ‘did well,’ so did their children. Conversely, families and mothers who showed negative posttraumatic reactions had children who showed similar negative outcomes.

An array of protective characteristics or factors has been identified in resilient children. They are present at the individual, family, and community level and contribute, together, to adaptation following trauma during childhood:

(1) trauma characteristics;

(2) the child’s own resources;

(3) the child’s family characteristics;

(4) the community support (i.e. from teachers, peers, friends, mentors); and

(5) developmental path.

via Children’s Resilience in the Face of Trauma |

So the remarkable children and spouses, we witnessed on the anniversary of 9/11 speaking of their lives now, are reflections of their surviving parents and those who perished in the attacks that day in 2001.

Let us all try to foster resilience in our children in this age of uncertainty so that they can call upon it when and if they need to do so.


1. Masten, AS (1994) Resilience in individual development: Successful adaptation despite risk and adversity. In MC Wang & EW Gordon (Eds.) Inner City Educational Resilience

2. Masten, AS, Best, KM & Garmezy,N. (1991) Resilience and development: contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425-444

3. Scheering, MS & Zeanah, CH (2001) A relational perspective on PTSD in early childhood. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14 (4) 799-815

4. Hoven, CW, Duarte, CS, Lucas, CP et al (2002) Effects of the World Trade Center attack on NYC Public School Students: Initial Report of the New York City Board of Education. New York: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Applied Research and Consulting, LLC

5. Ibid, p. 24

6. Terr, LC, Block, DA, Beat, MA et al (1997) Children’s thinking in the wake of Challenger. The American Journal of

Psychiatry, 154 (6)744-751

via Children’s Resilience in the Face of Trauma |