Hudson Valley Parent

HVP Dec 2014

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20 Hudson Valley Parent ■ December 2014 vesen never thought about harming Chloe or herself. "I would just cling to my mom like a baby myself," she says. "I couldn't function." Narvesen's mother had four children, so she was familiar with the highs and lows associated with sleepless nights and days and the chaos that a new little bundle can usher into even the most welcoming of arms. But still … she knew the extremity of Narvesen's distress was unusual. "She told me to check in with my OB-GYN at my six-week checkup and tell him how I felt," she recalls. "He was wonderful. He held my hand, let me cry and let me know that I should seek help, whether through just talking to a therapist or medication." Eventually, she decided to speak with a therapist and go on medica- tion (she has since weaned herself under her doctor's supervision). "It helped almost immediately," she says. "It was like a switch going on. All the sudden I felt like, 'I can do this!' And then it became, 'This is actually kind of amazing and fun!' I am bonded with Chloe now in such a deep way. A local Hudson Valley moms Facebook group helped me as much as anything. Just seeing that other women felt the same way was a huge eye-opener for me. I thought I was by myself before then." Melissa Jacobowitz Melissa Jacobowitz has gone through PPD with both of her chil- dren, Cory, now 9, and Mia, now 6. The Mount Kisco mother clearly remembers the terrifying impulses and desires she had, but she also remembers the feeling of being alone and helpless, confronted with an unimaginable darkness that she didn't know how to dissipate. "It still feels like yesterday, even though it was so long ago," Jacobow- itz says. "From the beginning, I had all-consuming thoughts — strange thoughts, intrusive thoughts. I would think about hurting the baby, leaving the baby, leaving my husband. Even if the thoughts were only fleeting and I was able to dismiss them, I knew they were wrong." But she was afraid to let anyone in on her secret. "I felt like no one else had ever felt this way before," she recalls. "My OB/GYN dismissed it when I brought up feeling low, and everyone kept telling me 'Oh, it's the baby blues. Everyone gets it. It will go away.' I didn't feel like I could reveal my compulsive thoughts, so I just kept waiting for the feelings to go away." But they didn't. The psychological stress was having a direct impact on her physical health: Jacobowitz went to cardiologists, neurologists, gastrologists and other doctors with vague physical complaints, including chest pain, difficulty breathing and stomach aches. Finally, when her son was 14 months old, Jacobowitz had a full- blown panic attack. She ended up in the ER at White Plains Hospital, and finally saw a doctor who figured out what was really going on. "The doctor held my hand, talked to me and actually listened," she says. "I was so relieved!" Jacobowitz ended up seeking ther- apy and medication. She stopped her meds to have another baby but "went right back on" after she came home from the hospital with her. "For me, the medication is a maintenance thing," she says. "My doctor always says to me 'If you had diabetes you would take medication, right?' I've stopped beating myself up over it." Now, Jacobowitz is part of Climb Out of the Darkness (an annual global day of awareness and activi- ties on the Summer Solstice to raise MOTHERHOOD (Continued from Page 19) Melissa Jacobowitz experienced PPD with both of her children, Cory, now 9, and Mia, now 6. "I felt like no one else had every felt this way before," she recalls. "I didn't feel like I could reveal my compulsive thoughts, so I just kept waiting for the feelings to go away." Theresa Narvesen eagerly anticipated the birth of her daughter, Chloe. But instead of the euphoria she was expecting, she says was overcome with deep sense of anxiety.

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