When I was pregnant with my fourth baby, I was pretty nervous about possibly going through another bout of PPD. I'd had such a horrible crash after my third and I'd heard all of the dismal statistics on how common it is to have a repeat PPD experience. But I was determined to beat it. The difference between my third postpartum and my fourth was knowledge. I was empowered by knowing what to expect, being aware of my PPD symptoms and preventive measures that I could take to avoid them.
So, I made a list of everything I needed to have in place so that I could experience the kind of postpartum that every mom envisions -- you know, where you're glowing and healthy, constantly cooing over your baby and relaxing pristinely in your designer maternity loungewear and talking to your friends about how to lose those extra ten pounds.
Okay, so maybe no postpartum is close to that vision, but still, it is possible to have a relatively peaceful and happy postpartum, even with your fourth baby, and even when you've previous suffered from PPD, because I did it.
The key to my last, successful postpartum was having a strong support system in place. Since our extended family is so spread out geographically and I didn't have the luxury of having relatives to lean on, I brought in a postpartum doula to help me for three weeks after our baby was born. Doula is a Greek word and means "woman who serves." A postpartum doula can help in so many ways, basically being a post-birth helper. My doula helped with the baby at night, watched over my C-section incision as it healed, helped identify any symptoms of PPD, handled the laundry, cooking, watched the baby when I needed to spend time with my older children, but most importantly, she listened to me and helped me gradually get back on my feet. She and I were a team and that support was priceless. She stressed that I need to take of myself and recover so that I could take care of my new baby and the rest of my family. Paying for a postpartum doula was the best money that my husband and I have ever spent.
One of my dreams for all new moms in the future is that they all can have the choice of having a postpartum doula.