Take THAT Postpartum Depression!

Foreign Service LifeHealth/BeautyWashington, DC
September 20, 2011

Fact: 10-15% of women are affected by postpartum depression (PPD).

Fact: If you have a history of depression in your past, you are 30% MORE LIKELY than the average woman to get postpartum depression (PPD).

Reality: Given my history of anxiety/depression, there’s a strong chance I could end up dealing with PPD.

So what am I doing about it?

Not being one to sit around to ‘wait and see’, I’m setting up my support/resource network now IN THE UNFORTUNATE EVENT that I do end up with PPD.  And what does that mean, you ask?

Well, first off, it means that I’ve remained on my anti-anxiety meds (prozac) throughout the pregnancy and will continue to stay on them after the birth.  I know for a fact that it made the difference during the first trimester when I was on the edge of depression and I trust that it will help regulate my hormones post-birth as well.

Second, I’ve sought out a therapist that specializes in PPD.  I met with her today to establish a relationship in case I need to see her regularly after the birth.  It was challenging finding a therapist that specializes in PPD and takes insurance (for some odd reason a large number of practitioners in town accept NO insurance plans).  I happened to come across a unique community clinic that just started up at George Washington University.  They accommodate all financial situations, so it ended up being something we could afford even though they don’t technically take insurance either.

The clinic is called The 5 Trimesters Wellness Clinic and supports women from preconception to parenthood.  It is staffed by Dr. Dawn Flosnik, a Resident at GWU.  Her offices are located in the Medical Faculty Associates Building at 2150 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20037.  Appointments are a mere $40 for the initial intake and $10 for each session after that.  Appointments can be scheduled at 202-741-2888.

I’m thrilled to have found this practice and will be using them to help put my last piece into place, which is identifying postpartum support groups in the area.  It’s comforting to know that although I can’t control if PPD happens to me, I can be proactive about how I’m going to respond to it.

To the other pregnant mommas out there, if you have a history of depression in your background, consider establishing support relationships NOW instead of waiting until you’re in the thick of things.  I’ll leave you with a short listing of resources I’ve found on the topic:

Resources specific to DC/Northern Virginia:

  1. http://www.postpartumva.org/wheretogethelp.html

General Resources about PPD:

  1. http://www.postpartum.net/
  2. http://pacemoms.org/

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  1. Daniela says:

    Good for you for being prepared. I had PPD 7 years ago when I was weaning my daughter. At the time I didn’t know much about it and it took me a while to figure it out. It’s really a vicious thing. Still not very well known or understood. I was in therapy and on meds for a while. I didn’t like the idea of either because there’s such a stigma attached to having depression. But I have to admit that both the therapy and the meds did help. I also noticed with my second pregnancy that doctors are a lot more on the lookout for it during your pregnancy and delivery. When I was pregnant with my daughter 8 years ago, no one said anything about PPD. With my second pregnancy, I was asked every time I saw a doctor how I felt and if I thought I was having depression symptoms. Perhaps things are improving. I like to think so. And so far, I haven’t had any symptoms since I had my son but I also feel much better equipped to handle it if it happens.

    Hope you don’t have to deal with it but if you do you seem to have great specialists lined up. Best of luck!

  2. There’s a DC blog I’ve read for years and going to the DMV and thinking it was relaxing, was one of the things that made her notice she had PPD. This is her post about it: http://lemongloria.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-walk-line.html (She’s usually pretty funny about what she writes, even when she writes about serious things.)

  3. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks for sharing your story Daniela. I’m hoping it’ll pass me up, but I do feel ready in the event that it hits.

  4. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks Carla- I always appreciate your recommendations!

  5. Thanks for listing the information about the Five Trimesters Clinic. This is a great new way of providing high-quality health care (including mental health care) to new and expectant mothers.

    Thank you also for including Postpartum Support Virginia in your list of resources for Northern Virginia.

    For DC, I encourage you to remove FMHI. That organization is defunct, although it’s website certainly looks like they do a lot of good work. I wish I could speak more positively about the organization, but it doesn’t even really exist.

    Best resource in DC is Lynne McIntyre, who is a social worker, PPD survivor, and runs a support group. Here is her contact information:

    Lynne McIntyre, 202-744-3639, lynne@lynnemcintyre.com Support group meets Wednesday evenings at Wisconsin Avenue Baptist Church — call to register.

    And Postpartum Support International (www.postpartum.net) is a great website, listing resources around the country.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and the resources. We need to get reliable information out to new mothers everywhere.

  6. Sarah Novak says:

    Thank you for all these wonderful additions Adrienne!

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