Home for the Holiday

A frightening story: Rhode Island stay-at-home mom Katie Corcoran went missing on September 5, leaving behind her husband and two sons, four-year-old Thomas and nine-month-old Chase. Family and friends searched for her. Many feared she was dead.

A happy ending was reported in the November 26 People Magazine: Earlier this month, a stranger found 35-year-old Katie living on the streets of Baltimore and contacted Rob through a Web site he had set up when Katie disappeared. Rob flew to Baltimore and asked Katie if she wanted to come home. Her simple reply: "Yes."

It turns out she was suffering from postpartum psychosis, a rare mood disorder that affects only one to two in 1,000 women who have given birth. Although she had not experienced depression when Thomas was born in 2003, within weeks of Chase's birth in January, her husband Rob found her wandering the house at night. "She said she didn't want to have anything to do with me, the kids or her family." She became obsessed with various forms of religion and balked at taking medication and hospitalization. Postpartum psychosis is the same illness that affected Andrea Yates in June 2001, with tragic consequences.

According to one mom who shared her story on Healthy Place, an online resource for depression sufferers, "If I just got up and walked out of the house and never came back again, I really believed that my daughter and my husband would be so much better off." Because wanting to leave or injure your children is contrary to most people's ideals of early motherhood, many moms suffering from postpartum mood disorders feel too ashamed to seek help. Estimates are that as many as 80 percent of postpartum illnesses go untreated. Research has shown that talking about the symptoms and medical intervention are critical to recovery.

According to Pregnancy-Info, postpartum psychosis symptoms can occur at anytime within the first three months after giving birth. The symptoms usually appear suddenly; in 80 percent of cases, the psychosis occurs 3 to 14 days after a symptom-free period, and is more common soon after birth.

Signs of postpartum psychosis include:

* Hallucinations
* Delusions
* Illogical thoughts
* Insomnia
* Fatigue and/or sluggishness
* Refusing to eat
* Extreme feelings of anxiety and agitation
* Periods of delirium or mania
* Suicidal or homicidal thoughts

Early and immediate medical treatment is required.

So, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I'm grateful Katie Corcoran is home with her family and getting the help she needs. Let's all take a moment to reflect on our friends, families, our homes and our health. And if you're not grateful, tell us about that, too. Because during the holidays, almost everyone feels pressured to be especially joyful -- by endless holiday carols, TV commercials, friends and relatives, and school and work events. During the holidays, whether we are at home or away from home, depression can feel even more shameful. In reality, it is a common human experience.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  November 21, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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First twice in one week!!!!

I for one am very thankful for the health and happiness of my wife and both my kids. I also wish everyone suffering from mental illness the opportunity of receiving mental health care that is so important and helpful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!

Posted by: happydad | November 21, 2007 7:47 AM

"Within weeks of Chase's birth in January, her husband Rob found her wandering the house at night. "She said she didn't want to have anything to do with me, the kids or her family." She became obsessed with various forms of religion and balked at taking medication and hospitalization"
--------
And that is when Rob should have taken her to a doctor. 100% clear sign of a problem.

Posted by: r6345 | November 21, 2007 8:04 AM

I posted on this site on Mother's Day saying that Mother's Day was hard because I did not like my mother, she was mentally unstable etc. Well, she passed away about a month ago from emphysema. So for Thanksgiving this year, I am thankful for something unique. I am thankful that my mother is finally free to be there in spirit for me and to be the mother I wanted her to be. There will be no more fights, no more mean comments etc. I am also thankful that her suffering is over.

Posted by: MomTo2Kids | November 21, 2007 8:16 AM

I read a lovely thought the other day about gratitude and taking time to be grateful for things that didn't go right but opened the door for something better and/or added to your strength of character. As the author (Kristin Armstrong) said "Perhaps every failure is not really a failure at all, but a blessing in suspicious packaging."

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted by: tntkate | November 21, 2007 8:27 AM

"Within weeks of Chase's birth in January, her husband Rob found her wandering the house at night. "She said she didn't want to have anything to do with me, the kids or her family." She became obsessed with various forms of religion and balked at taking medication and hospitalization"
--------
And that is when Rob should have taken her to a doctor. 100% clear sign of a problem.

--------------
Um, yeah, because we all know just how easy it is to force someone into treatment for mental illness against their wishes.

Unless the wife was talking murder or suicide, there wasn't much the husband could do to force her to get help.

Posted by: barfster | November 21, 2007 8:29 AM

Mehitebel,

I'm here, I'm here! I'm just really really busy and when not running around dealing with my life, I'm getting voluntarily dragged into others.

My godson had a bad experience with a tonsillectomy and almost got medevaced to a pediatric ICU. He's home now. He's fine.

My daughter's marching band are the national champions in their division. Mind you, there seems to be subdivisions of National Champion too, I'm a little confused, but the trophy is 6' tall! It dwarfs her in the photos I was snapping at 2 a.m. The younger child is doing well too.

All is well. I wonder if it's the calm before the holiday storm. There's a history of mental melt-downs around this time of the year. Let's all hold hands and hope not.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone. I'm going to hook up the turkey sling and clothesline for "Tom's First and Final Flight" before we cook him.

Yeah, it's weird. That's my family!

Maryland Mother

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 21, 2007 8:51 AM

"And that is when Rob should have taken her to a doctor. 100% clear sign of a problem."

Maybe Rob was like my ex-husband or many others like him--either didn't care enough or was clueless and ignored her comments. In real life not everyone is tuned in enough to notice even psychosis--how many men do you know who brush off any amount of ranting from wives or girlfriends as PMS?

I was a basket case after the birth of my first child--couldn't eat or sleep and was in a mixed state of mania and depression. The doctor--I knew I needed help and sought it myself--sat with me and my ex and told him "if she (referring to me) doesn't get some sleep she will have to be hospitalized" and told him he was responsible for taking care of night feedings, etc. Up until that point he had NEVER once gotten up in the night with the baby--this was 6 weeks after the birth. That night, drugged up on stuff the dr had prescribed me, I went to the guest room for my mandated sleep session....only to be woken up at 3 am by my ex, eyes half open, saying "she doesn't want the bottle," handing her to me and sleepwalking back to bed. That was the one time he ever got up in the night for either kid--and that was 11 years ago.

I could go on and on about that period of my life but basically one comment I got from a stranger back when my daughter was a baby sums up most people's view of PPD: "You have a healthy baby; you should just be happy." Many people think that PPD is a mind-over-matter thing that you can just get over by focusing on how lucky you are to have a baby at all. If you do talk suicide you're just being melodramatic and extra non-grateful and, in my case, my PPD was met not with alarm but with criticism about what a selfish person I was and how I needed to just get over it.

Posted by: maggielmcg | November 21, 2007 8:56 AM

mleifer

"Many people think that PPD is a mind-over-matter thing that you can just get over by focusing on how lucky you are to have a baby at all."

Or something you can get over by "pulling yourself together." This applies to other mental challenges, as well.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 9:09 AM

"only to be woken up at 3 am by my ex, eyes half open, saying "she doesn't want the bottle," handing her to me and sleepwalking back to bed. That was the one time he ever got up in the night for either kid--and that was 11 years ago."

Same monkey, different suit!

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 21, 2007 9:10 AM

"only to be woken up at 3 am by my ex, eyes half open, saying "she doesn't want the bottle," handing her to me and sleepwalking back to bed. That was the one time he ever got up in the night for either kid--and that was 11 years ago."

Was there a kid after this one??

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 9:15 AM

Yes--two years later a boy. I know--relates to yesterday's thread--why do women stay with abusive/crazy spouses. In my case it was thinking I could "fix" him or whatever. I sure tried for almost 14 years; now maybe some other lucky woman can have a go at it!

Posted by: maggielmcg | November 21, 2007 9:33 AM

"I know--relates to yesterday's thread--why do women stay with abusive/crazy spouses. In my case it was thinking I could 'fix' him or whatever. I sure tried for almost 14 years; now maybe some other lucky woman can have a go at it!"

Posted by: mleifer | November 21, 2007 09:33 AM

Yup. The wife thinks she can "fix him or whatever." That 1920 song I posted yesterday afternoon about an abusive relationship -- it has a second verse where she thinks she can fix him, she can get him to "go straight":

Sometimes I say
If I just could get away
With my man
He'd go straight, sure as fate,
For it never is too late
For a man.

I just like to dream
of a cottage by a stream
With my man
Where a few flowers grew
and perhaps a kid or two
Like my man.

And then my eyes get wet
I 'most forget
'Til he gets hot
And tells me not
to talk such rot...

Oh my man, I love him so!
He'll never know.
All my life is just despair
But I don't care!
When he takes me in his arms
The world is bright
All right!

What's the difference if I say
I'll go away?
When I know I'll come back
On my knees some day
For whatever my man is
I am his
Forever more!
-- from "My Man," music by Maurice Yvain, lyrics by Channing Pollack

Posted by: MattInAberdeen | November 21, 2007 10:00 AM

basically one comment I got from a stranger back when my daughter was a baby sums up most people's view of PPD: "You have a healthy baby; you should just be happy." Many people think that PPD is a mind-over-matter thing that you can just get over by focusing on how lucky you are to have a baby at all. If you do talk suicide you're just being melodramatic and extra non-grateful and, in my case, my PPD was met not with alarm but with criticism about what a selfish person I was and how I needed to just get over it.

--
SO true. My husband knew I'd suffered clinical depression before we met but when it returned as PPD, he had absolutely no clue what was going on when I was so anxious I couldn't sleep (even when it was my turn for a night of sleep), had trouble eating, was constantly weeping, was just desperate to get a break. He honestly, and with the best intentions, thought this was just baby blues and I simply needed to get some exercise and find some things to do to keep me busy (ha!). He also comes from a family where everyone deals with mental issues using the "buck up, little camper" method -- i.e. they have zero experience with true mental distress. Also, the last thing you want to contemplate, amidst dealing with this new baby who's turned your life upside down, while you're trying to hold down a job on no sleep, is that your spouse may be crossing the line from hormonal into severe mental illness. Just when you need your wife, she's somehow falling apart for reasons you don't get. A spouse unfamiliar with depression symptoms might not be able to comprehend the gravity of the situation. In that sense I can completely understand why Katie's husband failed to get help for her. I'm just so glad and thankful the Corcoran story has taken a turn for the better, but in a sense their real battle is happening right now as Katie tries to recover and has to rebuild her life and her family's trust under scrutiny from the media.

Posted by: chescokate | November 21, 2007 10:19 AM

mleifer

"Many people think that PPD is a mind-over-matter thing that you can just get over by focusing on how lucky you are to have a baby at all."

Or something you can get over by "pulling yourself together." This applies to other mental challenges, as well.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 09:09 AM

I was raised in the "pull yourself together mode", unfortunately that never worked for me. I think alot of people deal with their feeling by just ignoring them. While distraction works for some things, it doesn't work for others. Most of the people I know who avoid dealing with their emotions lead lives which are carefully orchestrated to avoid any kind of change or personal growth. They are also extremely insensitive to other people's feelings, and are usually fairly isolated from others, BUT, they are always more than happy to remind you that all you need to do is pull yourself together...

On the postpartum issue-
I read somewhere that postpartum depression is misplaced grief, maybe in The Continuum Concept? We are biologically programmed to crave alot more physical closeness with our children than our culture encourages, and some women go into a grieving response when they don't get that closeness. It goes along with the idea throughout human history (until about 200 years ago in industrialized nations) women have breastfed for 2+ years, slept with their children, and carried them constantly for the first six months. No cribs, no formula, no strollers, just ALOT of togetherness. Don't know if it's right or not, but I thought the idea was interesting. Love to hear Frieda's two cents worth on that one

Posted by: pinkoleander | November 21, 2007 10:29 AM

I'm not sure the misplaced grief concept holds much water, because PPD is so much more than grief. If that were the case, extreme grief from, for instance, losing a spouse or child or parent or whatever, would lead to (clinical) depression. That really sounds like a line out an attachment parenting handbook of the One True Way.

Posted by: atb2 | November 21, 2007 10:39 AM

"It goes along with the idea throughout human history (until about 200 years ago in industrialized nations) women have breastfed for 2+ years, slept with their children, and carried them constantly for the first six months. No cribs, no formula, no strollers, just ALOT of togetherness."

Women experienced PPD before the Industrial Age.

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 10:42 AM

Matt, thanks for clarifying your intent in posting those lyrics, as most of us (including you) find them truly appalling. Let's try our best to teach our young (and not-so-young) people not to settle for abusive relationships, and to learn to recognize that they're worthy of being treated with respect.

On a sad historical note, the song "My Man" was a signature piece of Fanny Brice (known to most folks nowadays as the central character of "Funny Girl") -- who was herself in a long-time abusive relationship with the gambler Nick Arnstein.

Posted by: mehitabel | November 21, 2007 11:02 AM

On a sad historical note, the song "My Man" was a signature piece of Fanny Brice (known to most folks nowadays as the central character of "Funny Girl") -- who was herself in a long-time abusive relationship with the gambler Nick Arnstein.

Brice first performed "My Man" in the Ziegfield Follies of 1921. All of Brice's husband's - Frank White, Jules "Nicky" Arnstein, and Billy Rose - were very poor choices. Ya gotta wonder...

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 11:12 AM

"That really sounds like a line out an attachment parenting handbook of the One True Way."

LOL, ain't that the truth. I do embrace many of the ideas of attachment parenting, but there is a certain contingent in that group who would have you believe that if you just do what they say, your baby will never cry, never be ill, never need to be burped in the middle of the night, and you will all be perfectly happy etc etc etc. and if that's not the case, you must somehow be failing to do it right. Augh.

Women who sleep with their babies, breastfeed and carry them in slings also suffer from PPD, I can attest to that.

Posted by: LizaBean | November 21, 2007 11:13 AM

Maryland Mother, glad to hear everything is going fine now. Hope you and everyone at your place have a great Thanksgiving!

Posted by: mehitabel | November 21, 2007 11:24 AM

The reality of PPD is that it really has nothing to do with grief or "feelings"--and that is especially true for postpartum psychosis. Some women feel fine--but can't shake the obsession that they may hurt their babies, for instance. No amount of cuddling or endless breastfeeding can cure a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Chemical imbalance (aka bipolar) runs in my family so, as much as I wish I could have attributed my PPD to just feeling sad, unfortunately it was actually the crazy post-birth hormones tripping what was already mis-wired in my brain to begin with. Trust me, I could have worn that baby like a second skin 24/7 and it wouldn't have made a bit of difference.

Posted by: maggielmcg | November 21, 2007 11:28 AM

"We are biologically programmed to crave alot more physical closeness with our children than our culture encourages, and some women go into a grieving response when they don't get that closeness. It goes along with the idea throughout human history (until about 200 years ago in industrialized nations) women have breastfed for 2+ years, slept with their children, and carried them constantly for the first six months. No cribs, no formula, no strollers, just ALOT of togetherness"

Nope- I had bad PPD. DD slept with me until she was 3 months old (at which point we just started waking each other up all the time), nursed until she was just past 2, and was carried all the time as a baby. PPD isn't "grieving," it's a real physical problem.

Posted by: floof | November 21, 2007 11:47 AM

Freida really had a lot to say about this when I asked her. She did have a patient who exhibited PPD. Frieda's action and responsibility was (is) to IMMEDIATELY contact the primary care physician to inform him of the condition. The course of treatment needs to be handled by an M.D.

Any vocalization of suicidal or homicidal thoughts, any vocalization of "I can't handle this!" are to be taken seriously and reviewed with the mother's health professionals.

Freida has had training to recognize the baby blues and worse. She noted that mothers with premature babies can be a lot more prone to depression and that extra diligence should be taken by all health workers in contact with such a patient.

In Frieda's opinion, the type and extend of the support system makes a huge difference in the first few weeks of childbirth. Having relatives that take care of the household chores rather than dominating the baby help the mother recover. Having a mother, mil or other relative who support the choice of feeding, whether it be breast or bottle, rather than say, this is the way that I did it, contribute to the well being of the new mother.

Frieda also notes that the mother needs to take care herself first. She knows this is hard to do when the baby is crying but sometimes a mother just needs to hand off the baby to a supportive husband, mother, mil, whomever for a short period of time.


Posted by: Fred | November 21, 2007 12:16 PM

pinkoleander = Tom Cruise

Show of hands!

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 21, 2007 12:16 PM

Sorry, I left out the remark that using __oleander was certainly apropos after that particular remark.

Oleander is one of the most poisonous plants and contains numerous toxic compounds, many of which can be deadly to people, especially young children. The toxicity of Oleander is considered extremely high and it has been reported that in some cases only a small amount had lethal or near lethal effects.

Thanks, M., it promises to be a most (burp) satisfying meal-tour.

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 21, 2007 12:19 PM

My wife made me understand her PPD issues by dragging me to the company's Employee Assistance Service to see the shrink. My wife started the session by saying that she was filing for divorce if I didn't start helping. This was when the baby was three months old. Opened my eyes to the need to help in a hurry. The shrink helped me understand that the issue was PPD and what I needed to do to help - along with the medical and mental health treatment that my wife would need.

Then we just had to wait in the queue for the medical services - you Americans (at least those with money) do have some advantages!

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 21, 2007 12:27 PM

Fred

"Freida really had a lot to say about this when I asked her. She did have a patient who exhibited PPD."

Only one patient in her entire career? Kinda hard believe.

"Having a mother, mil or other relative who support the choice of feeding, whether it be breast or bottle, rather than say, this is the way that I did it, contribute to the well being of the new mother."

How would this help change a chemical imbalance?

Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 12:30 PM

Chitty,

Yes, there were more than one. This one particularly stood out in her mind due to a variety of factors.

And she certainly recognizes that chemical imbalances do occur but this is an issue for an MD, not a lactation specialist to treat. Refer to the note from m2j5c2 at 12:27 for a good explanation:

"...The shrink helped me understand that the issue was PPD and what I needed to do to help - along with the medical and mental health treatment that my wife would need."

Posted by: Fred | November 21, 2007 12:38 PM

m2j5c2,
On a less serious note, my ex insisted I see a therapist because he thought I had PPD when I asked him to help with our newborn and 20-month old toddler! Apparently if I couldn't handle them on my own 24/7, there was something wrong with me as a mother. There was -- my marriage -- as the aforementioned therapist helped me to figure out!

Also I'd cut pinkoleander some slack. People don't understand about PPD and the only way to fix that is to allow people to ask questions and to answer them!

Posted by: anne.saunders | November 21, 2007 12:42 PM

anne.saunders, my wife probably had a better therapist than you - or maybe worse? What I left out of the previous post was that she had gone to see the therapist (I know it's crass but I just prefer "shrink") first, to try to figure out what was wrong with her. The therapist made it clear that this was something we both needed to be involved in; hence my comment that I was "dragged" to the first session. I really didn't think I needed to go - there was nothing wrong with me, now, was there?

Now imagine if the therapist in question had worked from a different viewpoint, and my wife had come to the conclusion that solving the problem would involve dumping the dead wood; namely, me.

Posted by: m2j5c2 | November 21, 2007 12:51 PM

perhaps pinkoleander is referring to the studies that show how PPD is very rare in undeveloped parts of the world where the culture encourages intense social and familial support of new moms. Today's Western culture where parents are typically isolated from family and expected to handle new parenthood alone may be a cause of increased instances of PPD.

That theory, at least to me, does hold some water.

Posted by: chescokate | November 21, 2007 12:57 PM

Chitty,

You still have not told me why you are flabbergasted that I served in Nam.

Posted by: Fred | November 21, 2007 12:57 PM

m2j5c2,
What the therapist helped me to see was that my request wasn't unreasonable. At my urging, we went on to seek help from four different therapists as we moved between three states over the course of two years. That's how long it took me to realize that he wasn't interested in changing.
But a lot has happened since we divorced and we remain on relatively good terms. He has a better relationship with his kids now than when we were married.

Posted by: anne.saunders | November 21, 2007 12:59 PM


Here is a link on Baby Blues and PPD

http://www.nightingalecenter.com/archive/baby.html


Here is what Dr. Lois Nightingale has to say on the causes of PPD, (this is from her website as cited above)

"A very small number of new mothers, about one or two in a thousand, develop very severe symptoms, usually in the first few days after birth, that turn into postpartum psychosis. In these rare cases a mother loses touch with reality and has delusions or hallucinations and severe anxiety. She may be a danger to herself or the baby. It is very important that any new mother with this type of symptom receive medical help immediately.

As was previously mentioned, drastically changing hormone levels after birth are thought to be the responsible factor in PPD. While this is most likely true, hormone treatments have been met with mixed results, and fathers and adoptive mothers have also been reported to have symptoms resembling postpartum depression. It would appear that in most cases a combination of factors is responsible.

Some of the factors that may place a woman at higher risk for PPD include:

* A family history of PPD
* Other major depressive episodes
* A history of hormonal problems such as PMS
* Marital tension, feeling unsupported by partner
* Being used to spending majority of time outside the home
* Husband away from home a great deal
* Death of her own parent in childhood or adolescence
* Medications"

Posted by: Fred | November 21, 2007 1:13 PM

Also, this link goes to an article on Baby Blues.

http://www.nightingalecenter.com/archive/baby.html

My recommendation is that expecting couple read this and about PPD as part of the preparation for childbirth.

Posted by: Fred | November 21, 2007 1:17 PM

"Some of the factors that may place a woman at higher risk for PPD include:

* A family history of PPD
* Other major depressive episodes
* A history of hormonal problems such as PMS
* Marital tension, feeling unsupported by partner
* Being used to spending majority of time outside the home
* Husband away from home a great deal
* Death of her own parent in childhood or adolescence
* Medications" "

Most of these deep-six the nut-job's theory.


Posted by: chittybangbang | November 21, 2007 1:20 PM

It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to better predict and monitor this during the pregnancy. And what about educating both parents of what to look out for beforehand?

I have often wondered about the correlation between # of pregnancies, especially in close proximity, such as Andrea Yates, perhaps even Susan Smith. I have read that it can up to a year or more for a woman's body to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. If you're having a child a year, your body is not equipped to handle that stress. That's got to wreak havoc somehow, and factor in the PPD equation.

Posted by: JS1978 | November 21, 2007 2:00 PM

That is actually a good point about having supportive family around. While my PPD was caused by brain chemistry, it was definitely made much worse by the fact that I had very little sleep (lack of sleep can trigger mania, depression, etc) and was under a ridiculous amount of stress between a husband who, even though he was a full-time grad student at the time (taking ONE class a semester, that is, but not working...but I digress..), refused to stop "working" 6 days a week, 10 hours a day so he could be home to help more, in-laws who hated me and my own mom whose idea of helping was coming to my house every day and pointing out all the stuff I needed to clean or sheets I needed to change or whatever then leaving so she could go "rest."

Add to that the lactation consultant who, when I was instructed by the doctor that I had to stop breastfeeding to go on medication that you could not take while breastfeeding, told me "sometimes formula-fed babies sleep so deeply they don't wake up." Verbatim.

The good thing is that once you've had PPD once you know what to look for the second (or third, etc) time around and can catch it before it gets too bad. Or, as in the case of many women I've known, the doctor can put you on medication before you even give birth so you hopefully avoid the whole thing.

Posted by: maggielmcg | November 21, 2007 2:20 PM

"Add to that the lactation consultant who, when I was instructed by the doctor that I had to stop breastfeeding to go on medication that you could not take while breastfeeding, told me "sometimes formula-fed babies sleep so deeply they don't wake up." Verbatim."


WOW!!!

Posted by: hillary1 | November 21, 2007 2:29 PM

"Add to that the lactation consultant who, when I was instructed by the doctor that I had to stop breastfeeding to go on medication that you could not take while breastfeeding, told me "sometimes formula-fed babies sleep so deeply they don't wake up." Verbatim."


WOW!!!"


Double WOW!!!!

Posted by: hillary1 | November 21, 2007 2:34 PM

Thank god postpartum mood disorders are rare. They sound really frightening -- even when you have good family and medical support. And without support -- especially with repeat pregnancies close together -- I can only imagine how excruciating an experience it is. I am really glad people are talking openly about this today.

Posted by: leslie4 | November 21, 2007 2:39 PM

We are biologically programmed to crave alot more physical closeness with our children than our culture encourages
----
I'm going to disagree with this. I knew Japanese parents who think American's are far more touchy/feely than anyone in Japan. One particular difference they pointed out is that in America talking to one's infant isn't seen as a sort of wacky mental illness. "Why would you talk to a baby, do you think they're going to answer you at 2 months?" This is somewhat similar to my German uncle who ridiculed "Coddling" babies by constant holding. I think the US culture absolutely encourages way more physical closeness than most other cultures.

Posted by: bbcrock | November 21, 2007 2:43 PM

pinkoleander = Tom Cruise

Show of hands!

Posted by: maryland_mother | November 21, 2007 12:16 PM

Not really, but I wouldn't mind having his money. And I'm partial to oleander, but certainly don't recommend dining on them. From what I understand maryland mothers are usually not regarded as edible either, whether they are regarded as toxic or not probably depends on whether you post something that pushes their buttons or not...

I don't endorse any particular brand of ideas about parenting, scientology, Ferberizing, attachment parenting, or otherwise. I just thought the misplaced grief idea was an interesting one, and was curious about what opinions were out there. I appreciate the many interesting responses, and was interested to hear that some of you who have tried the attachment strategy have also had PPD. My daughter spent the first week of her life in the ICU, I definitely went into a grieveing response, but fortunately came out of it after about 3 weeks. I really feel for people who have premature babies in the ICU for months, it has to be absolutely agonizing.

Posted by: pinkoleander | November 21, 2007 2:44 PM

My mother had PPD after one of her pregnancies, so she is acutely aware of the symptoms. She has told me numerous times that if I start to feel blue or overwhelmed, that I need to tell her and my husband right away, so that we can get to the doctor's before it gets out of control. The problem with depression, is of course, that it skews the way you think, and people with PPD may not always have the wherewithal to identify it as such and get the needed help quickly. Which I guess is why its so important for the family to also be aware of what the symptoms are, so that they can take over if necessary.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2007 2:44 PM

I have a weird thing to be thankful for this year. My great-aunt just died. Backstory is that even though she lived until almost 90, she was sick for over half that time (osteoporosis). All of my memories of her for at least the past 25 years are miserable -- she never seemed interested in us, always just wanted to complain, nothing we could ever do (short of moving to Florida to take care of her) was ever good enough, "only" 4 helpings at dinner meant we didn't like the food, etc. etc. etc. Everything about her was misery and guilt; we visited because we "should," but dreaded it (but since we're her last remaining relatives, we did our duty).

But this weekend, we went to the funeral. And every single person who spoke talked about how loving she was; how she had so much to complain about but never did; how in the 50 years they had known her, they had never once heard her say a cross word; and how she was just filled with joy and love. Every. Single. Person. My mother and I were looking at each other like, "are we sure we're at the right funeral?" But we finally figured out that we were just her relief valve -- we were the ones she dumped on, which then lightened her load and enabled her to go face the rest of the world without complaint.

Of course, I'm sad I missed that side of her for so many years. But I'm thankful that the complaints and misery weren't her whole life -- that she had joy and happiness and friends and support, too.

Oh: and I'm thankful that my daughter is getting the world's cutest kitten for Hanukkah/Christmas. And I'm thankful that I got to play hooky from work for a couple of hours this morning to go to Wegman's for my Thanksgiving shopping. And that I'm making pie now instead of reading briefs. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | November 21, 2007 2:45 PM

"And I'm thankful that I got to play hooky from work for a couple of hours this morning to go to Wegman's for my Thanksgiving shopping. And that I'm making pie now instead of reading briefs. :-)"

Speaking of shopping, I had the most enjoyable shopping experience ever last night at the 24 hour Safeway near my house. For the first time ever, I could actually concentrate on what I needed to buy withough distractions and noise. If only it could always be like that!

Posted by: JS1978 | November 21, 2007 2:50 PM

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Laura, your story about your great-aunt is wonderful.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2007 3:21 PM

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