Women’s Stories

Here are some stories of women suffering with mood symptoms who chose to use nutritional supplementation, either along with their medications or instead of medications.

J.K., Wyoming

I struggled through postpartum depression after the birth of each of my four children. After being sick the whole pregnancy, I wasn’t sure what was going on! Was I depressed from being sick for months on end or was my body just struggling through the process? When I had my last baby, I actually had to go on anti-depressants during the pregnancy. Despite the help from prescription anti-depressants, I just wasn’t feeling any relief. Finally, when my daughter was about 7 months I went to a chiropractor who also used kinesiology and natural supplements. He was able to identify that my thyroid function and adrenal functions were abnormal (not diseased…which would show up on a blood test, but compromised nonetheless). So, through supplements he was able to help my adrenal system and thyroid both function better. Both of those systems help control mood, so it was reasonable to understand the connection to postpartum depression. The doctor also helped me realize that my body had probably not had normal function for some time…(with the birth of three babies in four years!) Most likely, my body had grown dependent on the babies system, only to give birth and have my own body struggling once again to balance itself.
 
The natural supplements were able to help me in a way that pharmaceuticals were not. I am very grateful that I was able to discover relief from post partum depression. It truly was a light at the end of the tunnel and the beginning of mothering four!

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R.J.- Oklahoma

 

         I am a 31 year-old mother of 2.  During my first pregnancy I felt great.  I was never sick, tired, or sad.  It was a dream.  My daughter was born 8-6-2006 and within about an hour I began to feel detached from reality, alone, anxious.  She screamed at the top of her lungs for the first five months of her life.  They kept telling me it was colic but I knew better.  It peaked at three to five months old and those days and nights were filled with her screaming while I held her and cried.  I slept less than one hour out of twenty-four.  I ate, she ate, and we survived.  I felt like a failure as a mother- as though she didn’t want me- didn’t love me.

         Finally I found a short paragraph on food allergies in a breastfeeding book and cut milk out of my diet.  She was a different baby in six hours. 

          When she was seven months old I became pregnant with my son.  This is when I really started to consider suicide.  I felt it was a way for release.  An end to all stress and frustration.  To finally get good, deep rest.  I knew my daughter would miss me but I knew everyone would band together and raise her just fine.  It was my husband who kept me from doing it.  I kept picturing his face as he stared down at my casket.  I couldn’t do it to him. 

          I breastfed my daughter until she was eleven months old and then concentrated on being pregnant.  I was miserable.  My body ached.  I was exhausted, stressed, anxious, and nervous.

         My despair grew daily, almost exponentially.  With the birth of my son 12-13-2007 came a whole new set of stressors,  more feelings of failure,  of no matter how hard I tried , I was never going to be good enough.  Suicide once again sounded like the answer.

          I lived in constant fear of hurting my children.  I had little movies that would play in my mind in which I would harm them, even kill them.  It terrified me.  I knew if I did that I would have no choice but suicide.

          One hard day on February 2008, I was feeding my 18 month old daughter and the baby was crying in the other room.  I thought- “God, what did I do? I was so happy.  Why did I mess it up by having kids? If I’d only known then I would never have done it.  I wish I could go back in time, but sadly I can’t.  I’m trapped.  I created this personal hell, I have to live it.”  Then I thought, “Children are a gift from God, I should be happy.  I wish God would take them back, no-no-no—don’t think that.  That would mean death to them- I don’t wish they would die, I just wish I could send them back to God.”  And I realized I’d heard women say that before- in the media. Women who’d done it.  And I sympathized with them.  I vowed I would find a way.  I would never do it to my loving husband. 

          The next day was another bad day.  I was so tired, so stressed.  I felt on the verge of a nervous breakdown or a panic attack for nineteen months. I thought,” I can go into the kitchen, get a knife, slit my throat and lie down on the cold floor and relax.  No more tension, no more stress.  The blood would be so pretty and red.  It would glisten.  And as the puddle grew larger I would become sleepy until finally I could rest.”  I had to stay out of the kitchen that day.  It took all my will power to stay alive. 

         When my husband got home I told him some of what I was feeling and we decided to call Postpartum Support International (P.S.I.) for help.  At this point I had reached out to: my husband, mother, best friend, mother-in-law, Obstetrician, Family Physician, Pediatrician, D.H.S., Child development specialist(DHS), Speech pathologist (DHS), Department of Child Welfare caseworker. 

          I want to make it clear that these were typical days for me.  I thought of suicide every day from august 2006 until early march 2008.  I felt like God was punishing me, torturing me.  I felt alone, helpless, hopeless.  I thought my life is a train wreck.  I’m down a deep pit of despair and no matter how loudly I yell, no help will ever come. 

           The lady from Postpartum Support of Oklahoma explained how our bodies are depleted during pregnancy and breastfeeding.  She asked me what kind of treatment I wanted and I said I did not want medication.  She talked to me about social support, counseling and nutrition.  She told me a few stories of other women who used nutritional suggestions.

           I hung up the phone, loaded my babies into the car, and drove to the health food store immediately.  I was desperate.  Afraid to hope it would work.  I purchased the items she told me about and began taking them that day.

          It took three days for my husband to notice the change in me, it took me six.  It’s been four weeks.  I haven’t thought of suicide one time.  My children and precious to me.  I am so blessed.  I’ve had three “bad” days where my stress was about a 3-4 on a scale of 1-10.  Most days there is no stress or anxiety at all (remarkable for two children under 2 years old).  Nothing bothers me now.  Stress rolls off me as water off a ducks back.  I smile.  I sing and dance.  I want to put makeup on and fix my hair.  I want to adventure out of the house.  I pick flowers with my daughter.  The little decisions are no problem and I can make the big ones.  I’m assertive.  I’m calm.  I’m no longer a danger to myself or my sweet babies. I have turned 180 degrees emotionally and mentally.  I want to bake cookies.  I want to go shopping.  I want to feed and bathe my children.  I want to live.

 

 

 

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Dr. Shoshana Bennett’s patient says: 

“Dr. Shoshana suggested a particular nutritional system for me.  I felt it working immediately.  Within two days, my energy was back plus some!  I can also sleep better which is a blessing.”

Sandy R.
Pleasanton, CA

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C.D.

In 1995 I had everything going for me. I had a great part time job and was in my second year of college. But I wasn’t a spring chicken…I was 34 years old. I was married five years to a great guy who always wanted children. Finding out I was pregnant, however, put me into a panic. My mother had passed away a year and a half prior and I was caring for my father who was dying from emphysema. He made it to my 6th month of pregnancy. I Had no time to cry. I had finals, a job , a move and a baby to prepare for.
I worked and went to school until I was two weeks away from giving birth. I worked out regularly at the gym. I felt great but in some ways detached from my pregnancy. The day I gave birth, the doctor went to hand the baby to me to hold. I couldn’t wait to hand her over to her father. I had planned all along for an epidural but, once they induced me she came fast, furious and I was ripped on the inside. I wasn’t prepared for the pain, as fast as it was. The last thing I wanted to do was hold a baby. From that point on I was eerily detached. You couldn’t tell from video’s of me, but every time they brought me to her I felt like she was someone else’s baby.
Once we brought her home I went about manically preparing food for guests. I was so manic I barely slept. I got up 3-4 times during the night to try and breast feed her and make sure she was breathing. I changed her if her diaper was the slightest bit wet. By two weeks post partum I developed mastitis. The baby threw up constantly and sucked so hard my nipples bled. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t feed her right, I was sore, I was exhausted, and her constant crying began to make me feel insane. I called my husband and told him to leave me and marry someone else who could be a good mother. My husband, to this day, says I told him things I do not remember, such as threatening to jump in a river. I felt like a complete disapointment and felt I could not mother properly. My ob/gyn advised me to quit breastfeeding two days prior to this meltdown, and to this day I believe that sudden cessation of breast feeding contributed to my hormonal imbalance, which I believe contributed to my meltdown.
The rest of this story involves a nightmare experience of being in and out of a psych ward because I knew I had post partum depression (psychology was my college major) but no one would believe me. The psychiatrist, after meeting me ten minutes prior, told me he felt I was suppressing memories of sexual molestation. My personality was always the kind to tell people maybe TOO much about myself, so I never hid anything and I knew he was wrong. But no one would listen when I said I had PPD. I begged to have my hormonal levels checked and they refused. I had to fight to be released.
Once released my husband flew me to my Aunt’s in Florida. it was felt that the company of a loving relative and the fresh warm air would be good for both myself and the baby. I even got counseling in Florida and learned how to care for my baby, who was diagnosed with severe colic. My aunt taught me how to sleep when she slept and how to get her to sleep through the night. Walks in the fresh air helped a lot. I was still shaky but holding on. The counselor felt I was emotionally stable and that hormones might be more of the problem. When I returned home a month later I began to slide back into depression and panic attacks again. I was advised to get up, shower, and prepare myself for the day, even if the baby cried. I put her in a high chair in the bathroom and talked to her while I showered. This was supposed to make me feel that I was ready for the day, no excuse not to get out, and felt pretty. I was also advised to go out and meet other mothers with babies. So I went to a coffee house but the mother’s group didn’t show up that day due to rain. I left a note: “Desperate to meet other new moms…please call me.”
I got a call the next day from a woman who, as it turns out, immediately knew upon reading my note that I must have had PPD. She had fought it as well but was recovering. She took me under her wing, became a great friend and took me to the doctor she was treated by. This female doctor was specializing in PPD. She heard my story and told me that what I had was an actual physical illness with psychological symptoms and that she would successfully treat me and have me better within 6 months. For the first time I felt someone understood. My husband was always supportive. So I went on her prescription of Paxil and attivan and sure enough, I slowly got better, Getting out of the house, taking vitamins (SAM-E) and exercising made it easier for me to get off Paxil after only 6 months.  It wasn’t exactly easy, but I did it and I got stronger each day. My one child, now almost 13, now has a mom dealing with menopause. The symptoms for me are similar to PPD exept that they are more milder and managable. I treat them with holistic remedies. I take vitamins, I work out and I try and get out of the house doing fun things as often as my time allows. I now know that if I survived one year of extreme PPD I can survive almost anything. I also know that it is a fight you must work hard to fight. I was lucky in that my husband was wonderful throughout it, but I know there re women where that situation is not as supportive. You need all the support you can get.
My daughter has no recollection of the PPD and we are very close. We deal with normal pre-teen stuff.
I hope anyone reading this will do whatever they need to do to get their bodies healthy and strong and balanced again. This is not a permanent state…just remember that.

Author’s note: abrupt breastfeeding is one of the WORST things a mother can do when she is experiencing a postpartum mood reaction.  Anything that can interfere with hormone balance should be avoided, including starting to use birth control, especially Depo Provera. 

Also, the postpartum period is not a time to explore past traumas.  Even if they are a part of one’s past, it is better to see a cognitive therapist and wait on intensive psychotherapy to explore past issues until you have been fully recovered for at least one year.

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Irene was cared for by Dr. Dean Raffelock (www.soundformulas.com) and used After Baby Boost, the nutritional supplement developed to help women replace nutrients lost as a result of pregnancy.

I.F.-Colorado

As a woman accustomed to juggling family, career, and singing and hiking as hobbies, it was surprising that after hitting the age of 40, my energy level seemed extremely depleted. Where I had always had a lot of energy and spirit to get things accomplished, I was feeling fatigued, and irritable. I started having mood swings, and found myself cutting out activities that I had previously enjoyed.
I started on the After Baby Boost™ program a couple of months ago ready to evaluate the difference that it would make in my everyday routine and looking for it to balance my system so that I could go back to enjoying my active life as I had previously. I’m pleased to report that it has done exactly that.
After just 2 weeks on the program taking 2 vitamins and 1 essential oil in the morning and the same after lunch, and the nighttime mineral drink before bed, the fatigue has lifted, and my moods have definitely improved. I am a lot more even keeled as the emotional roller coaster of my moods has evened out completely. I fall asleep much quicker and sleep a lot deeper than before. I have a greater amount of energy during the day and even in “stressful” times, I find myself a lot more relaxed and able to meet the demands of a busy life. In fact, I have recently added volunteer work to my calendar as well. I highly recommend the After Baby Boost™ program to anyone who leads an active life whether they’ve just had a baby or not (my baby is 14 years old). Thank you.

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Dr. Shoshana Bennett’s patient says:

 

“I always took vitamins because I thought it was a good idea, but I never felt any different.  With the special nutrition that Dr. Bennett referred me to, I feel much better than I ever did.  My moods are more balanced, I’m not so worried about everything, and I’m happier.  Most important to me is that my son has his mommy back.”

Indy
Roseville, CA

Comments
3 Responses to “Women’s Stories”
  1. Julie Smith says:

    Hello,

    I would like to share my story with other mothers regarding your recent article about anti-depressants and pray this will impart hope to someone who needs to hear it.

    My baby boy was very colicky, I had no support from my husband, and as a result suffered from sleep deprivation, exhaustion and anxiety. My husband was also unemployed. I was up and on call literally 24/7 for months with no sleep relief.
    However I had reservations about using drugs due to concerns about breast milk. In the end, I did try two anti-depressants, and chose to stop breastfeeding. I really regret that now but thought I was doing what was best for my baby and myself at the time. I would see other mothers breastfeeding even up to a year postpartum, and I was so jealous. I could still be giving my baby that gift.
    I believe I would have been fine if I’d just had help and support, because things got worse after trying the anti-depressants. The first gave me insomnia and a scary panic attack (a side effect of the med), which sent me to the hospital. This event alone created a cascade of events as my husband later used this against me. The next also triggered a panic attack, muscle twitching, and muscle pain, even on half the low dose. For a long time, I just didn’t feel like myself. I later started having more intense muscle and nerve pain, either from the medications, or the marital stress that began. Keep in mind I took these drugs for less than a week.

    Seven months later, I still have muscle twitching and muscle pain. Pharmicists, doctors, and the makers of the drugs cannot give me any answers.

    I am also now dealing with a a nasty divorce. You could say this isn’t exactly what I’d hoped for, dreamt of, and expected when I had a child. Pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period is hard enough (especially when working full time). Therefore it is a terrible pity when women seek help from drugs, only to find matters worse. Is anyone out there wising up about these pharamceutical drugs? Have you noticed the commercials of the 20 side effects that may kill you just to have relief from one? Have you noticed that a few years after a drug is ‘approved’ and introduced it is removed from the market because it has killed people? Be cautious!! Educate yourself first! I was told if I didn’t take the antidepressants, I was ‘noncompliant,’ and that I was ‘overly concerned’ about my baby’s safety because of my concerns about the meds getting into the breast milk.

    I hope women out there find the help they need. The Wellpostpartum site is right on target about supplementing with progesterone, omega-3’s, magnesium, etc. and the fact that postpartum deficiencies must be nutritionally based. Keep reading it, implement the suggestions, visit your naturopath, keep on truckin’, and find hope in God above, who is so much bigger than your symptoms or problems.

    May God Bless you and help you. Please write if you need a sounding board: charliesmom007@live.com

    Julie

  2. Cindy Rodgers says:

    Hi
    I can’t put a name on what I had after my children. It was so much more than depression. The skin on my upper back and back of my arms tingled. I couldn’t watch tv or listen to music as everything seemed to have a dark undertone. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. Worried constantly about my babies, their health etc…At night it was like volts of electricity was going through my body and flashes of light in my head as I laid there trying to sleep.
    With my first son, right before I went on anti dep med I started thinking he was looking at me, through me. The Lexapro helped but I realized after the birth of my second son that I probably needed something stronger like Prozac. Which is what I took after my second son.
    We decided to not have anymore children because of the stress and trauma. My youngest is now three and I was hoping this was all water under the bridge. I was able to ween down to twenty mgs of prozac daily. I seemed to be a bear on any less. I was able to start running again this year and was hoping to cut down or discontinue when all of the sudden out of nowhere during my last menstrual cycle I started having some of the same symptoms.
    After a few days of that awfulness I upped my meds back to forty mgs a day.
    I’m fearful of the future now. I’d love to try alternative treatments but Prozac is so cheap and it works for me. I have a six year old and a two year old who don’t need a mother bouncing around on mood swings and going nuts while trying to change things. Not to mention that natural treatments are so expensive.
    My biggest fear is that there won’t be enough prozac for me someday and I’ll end up in an institution staring blankly into the face of my husband and children. I hate this, I hate dealing with it.

  3. Charlotte says:

    Hi Cheryl, I could not find your email address and although I found your phone number on a PR database I did not want to bother you over the phone. But, I have been reading your blog and thought you would be interested in speaking with a Columbia University professor and psychiatrist, Dr. David Brown, about his success prescribing a drug-free treatment for depression, postpartum depression, SAD, anxiety and stress. The treatment is a device called the Fisher Wallace Cranial Stimulator. Dr. Brown is one of about 60 doctors prescribing the device to thousands of patients, yet the device has received little to no press attention.

    The Cranial Stimulator is a hand-held FDA sanctioned device that generates micro-currents of electricity using patented radio frequencies that gently stimulate the brain’s production of serotonin and dopamine. Unlike drugs there have been no reported side-effects from using this device. I know your readers are suffering and I know that so many women are seeking alternative treatments to drugs so I thought you would be interested.

    There is a fascinating story about the device as it was developed by a doctor who was suffering from severe depression after being trapped in a building at Ground Zero for 8 hours on 9/11.

    Also, a Harvard Medical study was finalized recently on the device and it’s effects on treating depression. Fisher Wallace will be issuing a release on the study in April, but I can send you the study now?

    Interested in speaking with Doctor David Brown about his patients success using the device or Fisher Wallace about the Harvard Medical study results?

    I can be reached on 646.221.9193

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