What causes postpartum depression (PPD)? Who gets PPD? How long does it last? How far-reaching are its effects on mothers and children? And isn't it horribly boring to read about PPD if you're not even a parent?
Not if it's Marrit Ingman.
Ingman went through pregnancy with every intention of making all the right parenting choices and the expectation that she would form an instant bond with her baby that would bring joy and fulfillment to her life. From the moment her intended vaginal delivery turned into an emergency C-section, though, Ingman learned that parenthood is made up of failed good intentions. Next thing she knew, she and her husband had a baby with acid reflux, which caused him to projectile-vomit constantly. He also had the dreaded colic, which caused him to scream and cry non-stop, meaning Ingman lived in a state of constant sleep deprivation. Oh, and did I mention he had eczema and would scratch himself bloody? AND the food allergies. Don't forget the food allergies. And the contact allergies... Is it any wonder Ingman had a mental breakdown?
Ingman chronicles her adventures in new motherhood, from exploding diapers to useless doctors to judgmental fellow parents. She exposes the damage done to her mental health: the suicidal thoughts, the cutting, the yelling fits when she couldn't stand her son's crying for one more second, the mini-catatonia spells when she simply could not make herself react to her child, no matter how many books he threw at her. Along the way, she offers insight into PPD causes that go beyond the chemical and instead stem from our culture: the isolation of new mothers, the media ads and outside-looking-in perspective that causes the pre-parental to believe that children will be a source of boundless joy and fulfillment, the endless judgment parents face from anyone who doesn't agree with their choices...and whatever choice you make, someone is going to disagree.
Infused with dark wit, hope, and the strength of someone who survived hell and became a new person in the process, Inconsolable is a frank insider's look at PPD that slices a giant hole in the perception that parenthood is one long episode of life-altering bliss. Ingman's mission is not an attack on parenthood, however. Instead, she urges parents to offer each support and compassion instead of competition and judgment, to be honest about their struggles rather than try to put a happy face on their lives. A great read for anyone facing new parenthood (PPD affects both genders and happens to adoptive parents as well as biological parents!), Inconsolable is entertaining, educational, and worth your time.
Now, those of you who personally know me are thinking, "Why the eff is Jacki reading books about PPD? She's not pregnant, is she?"...Well, if you want to know, you'll have to finish reading this post at http://infinitereads.com ! (More shameless funneling.)