‘I started thinking I could run away’: Mother shares difficult experience with postpartum depression to help others

April 15, 2018 | Author: | Posted in News Medical

A Manitoba mother is sharing her difficult story about postpartum depression in the hopes of raising awareness and helping others.

It’s hard for her to fathom now, but mother of two Sharon Loewen, 34, began preparing to leave her family when she experienced postpartum depression three years ago.

Loewen’s said her outlook turned dark after the birth of her second son Camden.

She begged her husband, Kelly, to stay awake with her in the night and cried during the day. Later, she became consumed with thoughts her family would be better off without her.

“I started thinking I could run away. I was trying to build up a supply of frozen breast milk and started thinking in my head I should ween my son on to formula,” said Loewen, who now volunteers with the Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba.

“Even though you are mentally ill, your number one concern is your kids and that’s all I thought about, and you just start to get lost in the world of they need me but I can’t survive like this,” said Loewen.

After calling her husband to come home from work on several occasions, he took a leave, and spent the next four months by her side.

“It was the only thing going through my mind and I guess the decision to take a leave from work didn’t end up really being a decision. It was let’s try to nip this in the butt, support her and take care of my family,” he said.

Advocates say it helps sufferers to be around other people. The Postpartum Depression Association of Manitoba wants to see a central hub set up for moms with psychiatry services and various supports.

“Generally when you have postpartum depression you don’t want to go anywhere. You isolate yourself,” said co-founder Nellie Kennedy who also experienced the illness.

Today, Loewen said she has an excellent bond with her son Camden and works a full time job.

She said she eventually got help after a woman at a breastfeeding clinic noticed she was suffering, and then went to see her doctor.

She said the time her husband spent by her side saved her.

“This is something that happens to you. It’s a chemical imbalance as a result of having a kid. It wasn’t because of who I was before I had kids or something I did wrong during my pregnancy or after. There’s no need to feel guilt,” said Loewen.

SYMPTOMS AND SUPPORTS

The Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba says up to 80 per cent of new moms experience baby blues. This can include crying spells or mood swings, which tend to fade within a week or two.

It said when symptoms interfere with a mom’s ability to care for her baby and manage other tasks – it’s known as post-partum depression.

The association offers a drop-in support group for moms, dads and partners on the third Wednesday of each month. It also runs a ‘warmline’ seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has a 24 hour mobile crisis service people can call. People can also visit the WRHA’s Crisis Response Centre, located at 817 Bannatyne Ave.

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