The recent news story of Brooke Shields vs. Tom Cruise hits close to home for me because I’m just recovering from my own bout of post-partum depression (PPD). (In case you missed it, Tom Cruise criticized Brooke Shields for taking Paxil to help her PPD, asserting that she should have taken “vitamins” instead.)
The first month postpartum was particularly difficult for me. Breastfeeding didn’t start well, I felt totally helpless and incompetent when it came to taking care of my baby, and I missed my old life of being able to do what I wanted when I wanted. I knew having a child would change my life forever and be hard, but as prepared as I tried to be, I still had no idea just how hard.
A low dose of Zoloft helped. So did hearing other moms say they felt the same way, as well as the passage of time. As my son has gotten older and a little easier to take care of, I’ve gotten more confident and therefore happier. Sorting out our breastfeeding issues was a huge part of my recovery.
PPD is very real. I know there was a time when doctors didn’t believe that, but my OB and my son’s pediatrician have only been supportive. Like so many other women who have been through it, I applaud Brooke Shields for being open about her pain, and for doing what she needed to do to take care of herself so that she could take care of her child.