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Chris Beer was perceived by family and friends as someone who “had it all.” She had a young family, loving husband, a great job and often volunteered. But what her friends and family couldn’t see was the fear, anxiety and shame she was experiencing after giving birth to her second child. With postpartum depression – also known as perinatal depression – there are various symptoms that can start during pregnancy and can last up to a year after giving birth. Chris shares her honest story on how she beat perinatal depression and how other families can, and should, seek help too.
You did not experience perinatal depression with your first child, how did you know what it was the second time around?My perinatal depression developed over time, so it was difficult for me to identify the difference between the "normal new mom fatigue" and depression. I began to experience intense periods of anxiety, which led to a cycle of sleeplessness and fatigue. I couldn't find joy in any part of my day, and began to feel anger and hopelessness.
What made you seek help? How did the NorthShore Perinatal Depression Program hotline help you? My supportive husband and family assisted me in seeking help. I was too entrenched in feelings of hopelessness and anxiety to realize that I had lost my footing. My husband reached out to the hotline to help our family devise a plan to work through my depression. While my family is not embarrassed or ashamed of mental health issues, there is still a stigma associated with taking time and resources to address depression and anxiety, as these are diseases that are not visible or measurable by a test. The hotline guided us find the right program, with a supportive approach that helped our whole family through this difficult time.
What advice do you have for moms going through tough times? It's more common than you think and there is no shame in reaching out for help. Join a new moms group; get a babysitter so you can have a little time for self-care, talk candidly with your doctor if you start to feel any anxiety, depression or hopelessness. Depression can escalate quickly, but it can be managed with the right combination of treatment. You deserve this time, this effort, to feel "alive" again.
For more on Chris’s story, read here.