Ep 5: A Talk with Ashley Beukema About Postpartum Depression

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month (in May), special guest and friend, Ashley Beukema, opens up about postpartum depression.

     

On May 1st she posted the below Facebook post and I knew it was so important to share her story with other woman. It’s a significant topic because many woman struggle with some form of depression at one point or another but often keep it a secret. On today’s podcast episode, we are pulling back the curtain, and talking all about it.
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Ashley’s Facebook Post on May 1st

March 2018- I realized something wasn’t right.
April 2018- My doctor confirmed that something wasn’t right.
April 2018- My psychologist told me I was suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety (PPD).
TODAY- my struggle continues and my story is told.

#MentalHealthAwarenessMonth

Even though I have a history of depression and anxiety, I didn’t experience PPD when I had Claire. So when I had Bella it didn’t even cross my mind that this would happen. Sure enough, I am the one out of every ten women that are effected by PPD. My crazy medical history has left me with a negative view of doctors and medicine. Therefore, at first I tried to treat myself holistically- eating better, exercise, more vitamins, meditation- but that wasn’t enough.

The way my story started differs than most too. Bella was born in October 2017 and this didn’t start until March 2018. I have loved her and bonded with her from day one. I never had ill thoughts toward her. I later found out that the cause of this was from the shift in my hormones when I decided to stop breastfeeding her- a choice that still haunts me and makes me emotional to this day.

Many people I talk to say they can’t relate- they want to help but don’t know how. “There is a chemical imbalance in your brain.”- is why my doctors say. This short list of symptoms can only give outsiders a glimpse at what I am dealing with- No one will ever understand it fully, but here’s a look into my last 13+ months: having difficulty sleeping (don’t worry they gave me meds for this 🙉), loss of appetite (so please don’t comment on my weight- it’s a symptom of this medical disorder that I wish I didn’t have 🙊), excessive fatigue (often making it hard to get out of bed 🙈), frequent mood changes (especially a depressed mood), loss of pleasure, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness and thoughts of suicide. Through all of this I have been a full-time working mom, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, coworker, etc. – putting on a happy face everyday 💁🏼‍♀️. Luckily, in the last 13+ months I have also been to 50+ psychotherapy and psychatrist appointments. In recent months I have been more open about the subject, although I fear the negative stigma. I have found that the more open and authentic I am, the more supported I feel.

And that is my reason for this post- to let others suffering know that it is okay to speak your mind and ask for help. And also to thank my family, friends, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. that have lent an ear and offered advice when I needed it most- you know who you are- and just because everything seems ok, keep checking in! Always open to hear others stories, suggestions and advice.

(And yes, 50+ days of no social media and then this… 🤷🏼‍♀️ Bring on the judgment 🙅🏼‍♀️. I will say that this last season of Lent taught me that I really don’t need social media in my life as much as it was… part of being mindful! Plus, now you see the @realAshley, not just the ‘Facebook Ashley’.)

#ThisIsTheAuthenticMe

SHOW NOTES:

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression include (but are not limited to):

  • Overwhelmed with ordinary tasks
  • No appetite, significant change in appetite, or eating too much
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nightmares
  • Helplessness / Hopelessness / Worthlessness
  • Feeling of letting others down
  • Disconnected
  • Irrational thoughts
  • Emotional
  • Scattered thoughts
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory loss
  • Guilt
  • Sleep deprived
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

According to the National Institute of Mental Health:

After childbirth, the levels of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in a woman’s body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression

If you are someone you know is struggling with signs of depression, we encourage you to talk to your support system, make healthy lifestyle changes, and seek help. Please know you are not alone and many woman around the world suffer from symptoms.

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