Jen’s story: Postpartum depression can happen to anyone
Imagine spending about nine months planning for baby: getting the nursery ready, reading all you can about parenthood, being showered with baby gifts.
But when baby finally comes, you feel … off. Not excited as you expected.
Jen Reding and her husband welcomed their first baby, Kai, at MultiCare Valley Hospital on October 3, 2018. After an unplanned C-section, she was happy to meet her healthy baby, but knew something was out of sorts. She didn’t feel the immediate connection to Kai that other mothers described to her while she was pregnant.
“I felt like things were off, but I wasn’t quite to the point where I thought it was post-partum depression,” Reding explains.
As she was getting ready to discharge from the hospital, Reding mentioned to her nurse and her husband that she wasn’t feeling like herself.
“My husband is very aware and was persistent in pointing it out to me,” she says. “He said, ‘This is not normal, this is not you.’ I just kept thinking this was the baby blues, I am going to wake up and be OK tomorrow, but that tomorrow never came.”
During that same time, the nurses at Valley Hospital were reaching out to Reding, too.
“My nurses kept in contact with me,” she says. “They’d text me to see how I was doing and encouraged me to come to the Mommy and Me support class at Valley Hospital.”
Reding started attending Valley Hospital’s free Mommy and Me class every Wednesday. It was an opportunity to get out of the house without the worries of her baby crying in public.
“It was the only place I felt safe enough to go,” she says. “Everyone is going through the same thing. They are all here with their babies, they’re all crying, screaming. I didn’t feel so alone.”
Six months later, Mommy and Me has enabled Reding to establish a community of mothers and nurses as a support system. This, along with the support of her husband, doctor and therapist has helped her grow closer to Kai and begin to feel more like herself again.
“It’s completely changed,” she says. “From not wanting to be near my child, to can’t be away from him for a second without missing him.”
Today, Reding wants to use her story to encourage other moms and spread awareness that postpartum depression can happen to anyone.
“I want new moms to know that it gets better,” she emphasizes. “The first few months feel like it will never end, but now I look forward to every day and I wake up wanting to see Kai.”
MultiCare Valley Hospital offers various courses and support groups for new parents. Beginning in January 2020, Valley Hospital will be hosting a structured support group specifically for mothers struggling with postpartum depression. More information about classes available throughout the region here.
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