Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

{Professional Insight} Postpartum Depression after a Complicated Delivery

The following post is the second part of a three-part series on PPD and PTSD in NICU parents. Visit part 1 of the series: Postpartum Depression and PTSD in Fathers, and stay tuned for Part 3 in August! We have heard more and more in the news about how common postpartum depression is – affecting about […]

Resentment in the NICU & Finding Peace

I was standing in line at Vons, my cart full of packaged “healthy” food for my week in the NICU, when the lady in front of me turned to the side. I felt my face get hot and tears began to fall as I saw her round, swollen belly. She smiled at me and I looked down. All I could think was, that was supposed to be me. I’m supposed to be shopping for healthy food items for the last two months of my pregnancy.

Instead I was three hours from home, in a city I had never visited, living in a hospital room, hoping that my little girl would make it through the night.

Our NICU floor was on the same level as the labor and delivery unit. Late night coffee runs for me meant that I inevitably ran into a laboring mom walking the halls. I would watch her in envy, wishing desperately I could have had my chance. My early delivery came with no answers, no solutions, and felt very unresolved. As the weeks passed, and those weeks rolled into months, I saw countless moms and learned to just look down, so I wouldn’t face the pain that they were going to get to take their baby home, while I was just waiting to hear the words “discharge.” [Read more]

How Depression Looks When You’re on Bed Rest

Over 50% of women on bed rest show signs of depression, research shows.

Lack of physical activity, identity loss, lack of control and social isolation are some of the reasons why women struggle with low mood. Added on to all of these risk factors is the biggest risk factor for developing depression: high levels of stress, something women on bed rest experience every second of every day.

Depression doesn’t have to mean clinical depression. [Read more]

Moms Take to Social Media in Defense of PPD in #meditateonthis

On Wednesday, January 27, 2016, moms all over the world took to social media with the hashtag #meditateonthis, to rally together in defense of a new recommendation by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), which states, “The USPSTF recommends screening for depression in the general adult population, including pregnant and postpartum women. Screening should be implemented with adequate systems in place to ensure accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and appropriate follow-up.”

This recommendation is huge for the community of PPD survivors, who call themselves Warrior Moms, and who have battled all forms of postpartum depression, anxiety, even psychosis.

So why were they having to defend themselves? [Read more]

Speaking to the Unspeakable: Lifting the Stigma Around Mental Health After the NICU

When my surviving son was finally discharged from the NICU, he cried for about three months straight. Literally. My husband and I called it the daily “witching hour”, though it was hardly an hour. It lasted on average from 3-8pm daily (in addition to other fussy moments). We researched and researched ways of soothing him. We tried driving, swaddling, babywearing, swinging, reflux meds, playing music (The Velvet Underground and Nico was his favorite album), singing, dancing, jumping around holding him on our shoulder, rubbing his back, going outside, and all kinds of folkloric colic remedies that came to no particularly different outcomes. I was exhausted, deflated, and my feelings of guilt and shame with preterm birth were compounded by the idea that now that I was finally able to be Elliott’s sole provider as a newly stay-at-home mom, I was failing even at that. [Read more]