Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Dec 2014

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Page 19 of 41 ■ Hudson Valley Parent 19 By KATHLEEN WILLCOX B liss on crack. That's what most women expect to experience when holding their baby for the first time. But as the sleepless nights turn into sleepless weeks, you might catch yourself wondering why you're not as overjoyed at you thought you'd be. Feelings of anxiety, depres- sion and inadequacy can plague the new mother, and along with that often comes the guilt and shame that you're not the blissful super mom you were certain you'd be. One in seven women experiences post-partum depression, according to the largest study to date published in JAMA psychiatry. And yet new moms can often feel like they're the only ones in the world who've ever felt despondent about motherhood. In a bid to shed light on the real faces of this affliction, we asked four local mothers to share their stories of their journeys into, and out of, postpartum depression. Theresa Narvesen Theresa Narvesen couldn't wait to meet Chloe. Like many first-time mothers, she looked forward to the day she could bring her new baby home. She eagerly anticipated the busy blur of the first few weeks of Chloe's life. But instead of the euphoria she expected, what Narvesen says she remembers most clearly was a deep sense of anxiety. "I barely remember anything spe- cific about the first several weeks," says Narvesen, who lives with her husband and daughter in Wapping- ers Falls. "I was nervous, upset and crying all the time. My mom and my husband would ask me what's wrong. And I couldn't answer them. I didn't know. I just knew that I was worried all the time, and I felt an almost physical weight of anxiety pressing me down." Her friends, family and husband began checking in with her constant- ly. "It was a revolving door," she remembers. "I would panic if I didn't have someone scheduled to come over and visit me the next day. I didn't know what to do with myself or Chloe all day and I would just be so nervous that I'd cry myself to sleep and then wake up crying." The symptoms — general, oppres- sive anxiety — never fell into what is classically thought to be PPD. Nar- The other side of motherhood Real faces of postpartum depression (Continued on Page 20)

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