Sonya shares her story of postpartum depression and anxiety. Trained as a social worker, she gives advice on how important it is to have informed care.
"Never be afraid to advocate for yourself when things don’t feel right emotionally during pregnancy and in the postpartum period".
Welcome listeners to baby brain. I'm Samantha, Huga your host. And this is PPSs podcast with me. Today is Sonja Colgan. She is a[inaudible] survivor and going to share her story about postpartum anxiety and depression with us. Welcome, Sonia, could you tell us a little bit about yourself prior to pregnancy and babies?Speaker 3:
My husband and I married young. I was 22, so we had about seven, eight years to enjoy each other and life. Before we had children, I was diagnosed with OCD when I was in college, um, and had received treatment throughout the time that I was in college and in my early twenties and went into pregnancy feeling pretty good. I did stay on my, uh, antidepressant medication with my first child. Um, and that seems to have really helped the postpartum period with my daughter. I decided that I didn't need the medications between having my daughter and my sons five and a half years later. And that really seemed to contribute to the struggle that I had after I had my second child, my son, Henry, wouldSpeaker 2:
You share with us a little bit about what Sonya was like prior to having babies?Speaker 3:
So I was in the mental health field. I started out as a behavior analyst, working with kids and adults with behavior problems in the community, working with, with clients, uh, helping families and schools, better serve kids and adults. I enjoyed cross country skiing. We had two dogs that we really enjoyed, you know, taking to the dog park. We enjoyed traveling. My husband and I enjoyed being at the cabin with our friends. Um, often had many college friends up to the cabin,Speaker 4:
Share with us theSpeaker 2:
Story about what transpired with the PM hat or otherwise known as that perinatal mood and anxiety disorder. How did things change then after your second baby was born? NowSpeaker 3:
That I look back on it, I realized that I probably was having some symptoms of pain meds in during my pregnancy. I was struggling with nausea and difficulty eating and gaining weight during pregnancy. And I was really looking forward to the end of the pregnancy because I was told that this was then going to get all better. It got better for both a week. And then my first symptom was nausea again. Um, and I was in and out of the OBS office about three times that first week, because they thought maybe I had a virus of some kind, but I, I just couldn't eat anything. Just looking at food, made me disgusted and I started not sleeping well. I was up, uh, at night. I don't remember thinking anything specifically. Like my child was hurt or was there something bad happening to my kid? It was more just this, like, I can't sleep. I can't, I can't, I can't relax my body. After about a week of going to the OB being able to eat, not sleeping. Well, then I started thinking, Hmm, I don't know that I really want to be here anymore because I've got to take care of this baby. And I obviously I have no energy because I'm not eating anything and I am not sleeping at all. So I must be this horrible mom and it would be better if I died or killed myself, then it would be for me to, to stay around, to figure out what was going to happen. And I quickly realized that that wasn't a very, uh, safe that, and it was a scary thought. So I called my OB and she said, why don't you come to the emergency room? So I ended up back in the same hospital that I had just given birth about two weeks earlier and was hospitalized then for about a week at Abbott, they didn't know much of what to do with me when it came to the way I was presenting or they didn't seem to know a lot about P meds. When I was in the hospital, when I was in the emergency room, they were very concerned about giving me any kind of sedative at all. Um, they wouldn't let me breastfeed because they said that I could pass it onto my baby. So then that was kind of traumatic because I had to give my baby to give my son to my husband and he had to run out and get formula and give formula to him. Um, when I got onto the unit, I was there, the psychiatrist there didn't have a lot of experience working with, um, women that were experiencing pain meds. And so she was very uncomfortable giving me any medicine, medications. So I, I got, uh, like an anti-histamine kind of medication that really didn't help at all. And so I really wasn't getting any better. I was kind of pacing the halls of the hospital, um, weighing that I was in, I was not sleeping well, uh, not really feeling any better, um, but not really getting worse. I would say I decided that I, I didn't think that was a helpful place for me to be anymore. The social worker from the hospital had recommended that I see somebody at a postpartum private practice. So she got an appointment with somebody that day that I was discharged. And we went over to my mom and I went over to that practice and they had gotten the appointment incorrect. They didn't have somebody to see me. And that was pretty upsetting because we had kind of put all our hope in this session. And that, that w that was where the support was going to start in the community. After waiting a couple of hours, they were able to just have me see one of the therapists who had a no-show, um, and pretty clearly early on in the session, she realized that things were a lot worse than the, I think the hospital really figured out and she called the mother baby program at HCMC. And I was able to get into the mother-baby day hospital starting the next week. And so I was at the mother-baby day hospital. At that point, it was new. I think it had only been around like maybe six months. And, uh, I think I was allowed to stay for three weeks. There was no step down program. There was no, I was given a referral to a therapist. Um, and so I S I was there for three weeks. Then I moved on to a therapist who I still see today wasSpeaker 2:
Pregnancy and postpartum support, Minnesota involved in your recovery journey at all. You know,Speaker 3:
It really wasn't, I didn't know anything about, uh, PSM until after I got out of mother baby program. My son was born in November. Um, and that first may my family walked in the Daisy dash. I think it was maybe the first or second year that the Daisy dash had happened somewhere along there. I must have been aware of the program, but not, not when I was seeking help. No, tell us a littleSpeaker 2:
Bit about what your experience now is in recovery and kind of looking back on the journey you had.Speaker 3:
So it was a long recovery for me. It was almost two years until I was able to return to work, um, which was a lot longer than I thought that it was going to last. I think that, um, one of the things that I really struggled with early on, and that was really helpful to be open, to was asking for help and support. I kind of wanted to take care of everything myself. I didn't want other people doing things for me. It was very, very uncomfortable. And that's something that now I'm, I'm much more comfortable with asking for the support that I need. And that was a part of the journey of getting better, was allowing people into my life, professionals and family and friends to support me and my family during a really difficult time. WhatSpeaker 2:
Advice would you give to somebody who might be experiencing depression or anxiety postpartum?Speaker 3:
My advice is to reach out to postpartum support, Minnesota and, or your OB or primary care provider that is, would it be able to connect you with mental health resources, uh, sooner, rather than later, I know that not every person that's experiences PM ads, experiences at as quick and onset as I did. Um, mine, mine was pretty obvious to everybody real quickly. And I think sometimes a lot of times women keep their feelings inside and are still able to somewhat function, quote unquote. And so people maybe notice a little difference or maybe even a significant difference, but they are, they aren't verbalizing to people what's really going on in their brain. And that's really important because by keeping it inside and not sharing how you're feeling, it really becomes so powerful. And so, so much worse when you're not telling people what's what's going on. And I think that it, it can be scary to ask for help or to reach out, but there's so many great resources in this state. And then in, uh, I'm from the Metro area and within the twin cities area, and they know so much more about P meds even than when I had my son. SoSpeaker 2:
You mentioned that your journey in recovery was quite long. Is there anything that you can share with us that might have been crucial to the turning point in your recovery?Speaker 3:
I think a piece that might have exacerbated my journey was my husband going to treatment for alcoholism six months into my postpartum journey. And that was a huge stressor though, a positive thing for him and for our family. It was a, uh, it was a time that I was very vulnerable and was not able to provide a lot of support to him. So I think that him getting help for his alcoholism, as well as finding the right medications. I think I started on a specific medication probably a month or two before I, I felt like I was ready to go back to work. Seems to be what was kind of the turning point for me. Are thereSpeaker 2:
Any, any last words that you would like to share with listeners?Speaker 3:
Well, I know they talk about how you, that certain women are more at risk for peanuts. I think everybody should be aware of what, what pre-meds are and that they can affect anybody. And that you shouldn't feel ashamed if you're experiencing any of the symptoms that I was experiencing or any of the symptoms that, that are part of P meds, you should, um, feel comfortable reaching out for support. ThankSpeaker 2:
You for sharing your story with us, Sonia, for more information about Sonya check out the description of today's podcast.