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Sunday, March 4, 2012

What I read to help me heal and grow past PPD

When I was in the midst of PPD, the one thing I wanted to do was read. I felt like reading gave me power to better understand my life and what was happening. Here are 4 books that I read through my time of PPD. Not all at the same time mind you. I could not handle that much information at one time, but I found that as I was getting better physically, so I was getting better mentally as well.

Here are my thoughts on each book. Nothing elaborate - just some basic thoughts.

1. Down Came the Rain by Brooke Shields.

This book was the very first one I picked up, by recommendation of my pastor. I know her book is widely know and talked about in PPD circles. For me, I never finished the book. And that is not because it was bad or anything. No, it was the first book I picked up and read about PPD and the facts of what it looked like on someone else's life. I was in such a raw place that I had nightmares from reading certain portions because they were too real for me. I felt like she was living in my back room, watching my life from a distance and writing about me.

I remember one night reading the book, so desperately wanting to understand what was happening to me, and the tears just started coming and I could  not stop. I read something that hit me so deep, it actually hurt. This is what I read when she was writing about a particular moment in her life of PPD, "....Every quiet moment was filled with dread." She put into words what I felt, yet could not put into words. I think I freaked my hubby out right about then! But I remember I closed the book and I have never picked it back up. I can't and probably never will because there are certain things I don't want to remember from that time.

2. The Postpartum Survival Guide by Meier, Clements & Johnson

Months later, I found this book and picked it up. I have loaned it out many times as well. This book gave me a good overall picture of PPD. It was not about one person, but about PPD in general - there are some great chapters, from the basics of PPD, to finding strength in the midst, to how to help my husband live through this with me. It's premise is the facts of PPD, but with the mindset of resting in the Lord, finding God in the pain and growing. I finished this book, and at the end, I better understood what was happening to myself, and the affects that PPD can have on your husband and children.

3. The Lifter of my Head, by Sue McRoberts

I found this book at the local Christian bookstore and snatched it up. I was a couple of years into PPD by the time I found this one, and eagerly wanted to read about someone who had lived through PPD and how this ladies walk with the Lord stayed strong. Each chapter has scripture verses to meditate on and read. I enjoyed this book, because it was the first time I read of a women RECOVERING from PPD and I wanted to know how she did it. This was the book that made me really realize that there was going to come a time when I could say, "I had PPD" instead of "I have PPD." There is a huge difference in those two statements and this book was the beginning step for me to start making that change in my head and heal.

4. Living Beyond Postpartum Depression by Jerusha Clark

This book is by far my favorite of the ones I have listed. It really delves in the why's of PPD, how it affects our husband, family, and friends. It gives a very clear explanation of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual toll that PPD has on a woman and how they are all actually intertwined. This book has great scriptural reference, but also practical advice. Her chapter on Postpartum Depression and the Mind is outstanding. Best I have ever read.

In her Introduction, she writes, "And yet, through is all, I've been rescued and healed and redeemed by the God who created me and loves me passionately. I know He is currently writing a similar story of anguish and restoration in the lives of others.......Because the valley of suffering is a challenging one to navigate, I desire to be a guide to you - whether you are struggling with postpartum depression or walking alongside someone who is."


Kimberly said...

I had a really really hard time relating to Brooke Sheild's book. I didn't have the depression aspect of PPD. And I also didn't have a nanny ;)
But it did give me a lot of hope and it made me aware that I didn't get PPD bc I was horrible at being a mother or showed me that PPD can affect anyone ;)
Also the books by Shoshana Bennette were a great help :)
Thanks for sharing list!!
(from PPDchat FB group )

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Thanks for these suggestions.