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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Living a Life of Postpartum Psychosis

Help us, feel our pain

We are broken and we look around, waiting, begging, dying inside. We look for the arms to wrap around us and bring us to our feet. The Ocean we drive into is a Sea of Desperation. Hold out your arms, lift us up, hang on tight and guide us to the light. All we can do is keep breathing and trying. 

No more tears, we have wept a lifetime of sorrows for motherhood. The aches, the breaks and the tragedies to come. Help us, feel our pain. 
For every woman that the public and media is ready to tar and feather because there isn't Universal Mental Health Screening for every pregnant and Postpartum Woman there are thousands that do receive effective treatment. Does that mean we should allow those woman to continue to slip through
the cracks? No. 
But there needs to be a better understanding for cases of Postpartum Psychosis and Women's Mood
Disorders. The stories the public hears about are the Postpartum Stories that end in tragedy. Why? Well because it sells. 
postpartum psychosis, depression, natachia barlow ramsey, suicideI mean I can't blame the public. I read those stories too. I have said over and over that "we" in our own Postpartum Psychosis/Depression/Anxiety community, we do nothing to help ourselves if we perpetuate the ideas that "those" (myself included) moms are different than the moms who did successfully receive treatment. 
I can tell you I am shunned by many in the Postpartum Depression community and when I finally get the opportunity to speak with any of them the most I often get is "well I don't know what to say". As though I speak a different language. I find it to be highly hypocritical that these same people want to advocate and call to justice all those who did not do anything for these "poor" women in their time of need, yet those women are me. So if they are at a loss of words of what to say to me what exactly do they think they are or would say to that woman if given the chance?
I am Miriam Carey and I am standing before you all now. I am Ebony Wilkerson (Mini-van Mom), 15 years later. Speak to me now - say something.

There's a class of women that I remember one very insightful lady blogging about and she got it right on the nose when she said... it was as though saying they had Postpartum Depression got them into some club or something. Without fully realizing the enormity of it. Like it was the new trendy thing to have. 
I remember thinking "Wow, she hit the nail on the head with that one". I am disgusted by it. It diminishes the real and genuine struggle some women are going through and there are many variables with Postpartum Mood Disorders. Especially Postpartum Psychosis. Which is very real, very scary and can lead to real tragedies. It needs to be taken very seriously.
Postpartum Depression, especially left untreated can have unforeseen consequences and tragic outcomes. 

I do need to say this; that as disgusted by this new trendy era of PPD (that's Postpartum Depression for you not in the know); I am even more disgusted by the general public and their "trolling". All of you out there with your pseudonyms (let me save you a step - it means the fake name you use online to hide your true identity) scouring the headlines and just chomping at the bit to get to the comment section and say something oozing with ignorance and common fallacies. Just pouring hatred and judgement into this world as though there isn't enough already.

I use my real name here; Natachia Barlow Ramsey. At least I have found the courage to do that. It's not easy and I decided I will be the person who gets to decide what's put out there about me. Not another "troll". I get to tell my story.

If that means that someone reads this blog and finds inspiration from it, that is wonderful. If they are disgusted but they walk away with just a bit more knowledge and think.. Good lord I Never want to end up like her. Well more power to them and hopefully they will pass that along as well. 

This article was started on my son (Hunter's) birthday. Yeah, it was Tuesday, March 11th; he would have been 15 years old. My mother's birthday was Thursday, March 13th. I've been keenly aware of the dates this week because my appeal briefs were due on the 11th.

Hey, like me, love me, hate me. But I know every single one of you has or had a mother. There's no truer truth than that. So sign the damn petition. 

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Postpartum Psychosis

Is Postpartum Psychosis as Scary as is Seems...

Yes and No. While it is the scariest and most concerning of the PPMD's(Postpartum Mood Disorders); there is only a 5% suicide/infanticide rate. So while that does seem like such a small percentage rate alongside an illness that only occurs on roughly 1-2 births out of 1,000. Does anyone want to raise their hand and volunteer to be in that 5% that end in tragedy?
Yeah, I didn't think so... 

As I read the many stories(well let's face it All the stories) about women coming forward to share their experience with Postpartum Psychosis; I read the same sentiments over and over. They were afraid to be labeled a baby killer or one of "those" women (and it's usually Andrea Yates) who tried to harm their kids. 

Well, there's a reason PPP is considered a medical emergency; and it is because of the risk to the mother and child. The reason women are afraid in part to talk about it for fear of being labeled? We do the labeling. The media grabs ahold of a tragic story to make headlines and we also share those stories. 
Do I agree? Yes, we should share. Change does not come with remaining silent. It's also unfortunately not going to come from a group of moms who had Postpartum Depression and wear it as someone said "like a badge of honor", as though they were part of special group now. 
I have noticed this trend of Postpartum Depression seeming to be the New Trendy thing to have had. I had actually been noticing it for a while now and made reference to it in a blog I wrote titled Postpartum Depression vs Postpartum Psychosis; 1, 2, 3, 4, - I declare... War?. It feels like a clique from high school where you had to pay your dues to get in but if you went too far... well you just weren't allowed to sit at the same lunch table anymore. Yet those same women will ride your coattails and all those who follow by saying "Look at this! See what can happen to any of us if not enough attention is paid" "We could have become one of Those women!"
It's not just the media. We perpetuate this. We turn on one another in conversation. We use the term Baby Killer. That is an awful, derogatory, insensitive term. I cannot tell you how often I hear people use a qualifier of sorts when talking about their illness. "But I would never hurt my children" or "I never hurt my kids"
I for one can say I could have gone my entire life without wanting to be in this "Club". Now that I am though, I do not want to remain ignorant to any aspect of it. I feel as though it is my job to educate myself to the best of my ability and those around me.  

PPP is most likely within the first four weeks after delivery. But it can occur at anytime and the onset can be rapid. Moms' can also have periods of lucidity. Looking back now, I was also ill with Pneumonia so I attributed a lot of feeling "off" to that. But now I can see I was depressed and that should have been a red flag. Honestly my history should have been a big red flag along with my family history etc... but this was Maine in 1999. You practically had babies in a Potato field and kept right on picking Potatoes.
The Action on Postpartum Psychosis has a lot of useful information and a great resource tool as well as Postpartum Support International

Postpartum Psychosis is an Illness related to hormonal imbalances. Often the mom has subtle thoughts and feelings that can become more and more exaggerated if left untreated. These thoughts range from delusions to hallucinations. A new mom may appear overly anxious or paranoid. Close family and friends need to help recognize the symptoms. This time and this illness can be difficult and stressful on everyone. Remember the mom is not doing anything on purpose and does not want to be ill. Likely she may not even be aware of how irrational she may be. The most important thing is keeping mom and baby safe. 

My son, Hunter, would be 15 this coming March. I called him my little fellow. Whatever mementos I had left of his (which weren't much) a small blanket, the little blue card they write the baby's name on at the hospital, an ultrasound photo and a few pictures... Those were lost in the fire in my home on January 17th. Just typing that sentence took me 20 minutes and I had to sit with it. 
People make sweeping assumptions when they hear you are responsible for the death of one of your children. (This is where the name calling (baby killer etc...) comes into play) Also, the Moms who had Postpartum __________ Something want to make sure you know they would Never hurt their children (just so you know they must be a better mother than you, but let them in the club because they too have suffered).
Well for those of us who were not so fortunate to have had "your" experience (and perhaps some extra support around to recognize we needed help) and we lost a child or harmed ourselves or our child(ren). (We all jump on the Andrea Yates bandwagon when it suits us) 
I want to say, I loved my son. My particular illness wasn't not hallucinations. I had delusional thinking. My husband (now ex) did not believe Hunter was his son. We had been separated when he was conceived (although he would still come over for... yes Sex). So after a series of events leading up to the birth of my son, (which you can read here) I became ill and thought I needed to die. I also believed no one would take care of my son, so he needed to be with me in Heaven. I did not want to leave him behind on earth. 
I did not think he was evil. He was not unwanted. I was not angry. I was delusional, because I was ill and I thought I was doing something out of love. 
I used to ask my Psychiatrist every day... How could my brain fail me like that? How could my thinking be so backwards? It did not make sense to me and for years I would revisit that question over and over. There is no definitive, black and white answer. I spent years in therapy and had to ask my therapist for permission to grieve my own son. I did not feel as though I had a right because I had been responsible for his death. 

I am coming upon 15 years now and I have seen progress. I am also keenly aware of all the areas that we still need to improve upon. We have a lot of many talented and incredible women dedicated to making changes. For that I am infinitely grateful. Teresa Twomey; Author of - Understanding Postpartum Psychosis;, Wendy Newhouse Davis; PSI Program Director;, Walker Karraa; Program Co-chair at APA Division 56 - Trauma Psychology (What doesn't Walker do?);, Jennifer Hentz Moyer; Mental Health Advocate and Writer;, Elaine Hanzak; Motivational, Inspirational Speaker and Author..... these are just a smidge of the women who work so hard to make changes. They are a part of what I am grateful for.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

So there was this fire

Fire is a Life Force

The title that ran in the Bangor Daily News about out Home burning doesn't 
Woman injured re-entering burning house in Bangor in attempt to save her dogs
really tell you the story about what was really going on inside the house. I feel these waves of emotion wash over me as I open the door to my daughter's bedroom and the entire room was ablaze. It was heart-stopping, I knew I couldn't contain that and I had to dial 911.

I haven't been blogging and posting for a while because of all the legal things happening with my grand-daughter. But I am so full of pure, raw emotion that I came here. 
fire, tragedies natachia barlow ramsey, 40 dillingham st, bangor maine, postpartum psychosis

I have seen other people's houses go up in flames on the news and just about a month or so ago my sister's friend lost her home to a fire. You imagine it, but you don't feel it.
About 5-6 years ago I lost my Uncle and a Cousin in a house fire. I kept envisioning that over and over again in my head for quite some time and how horrible it must have been. Everyone was reassured that they just succumbed to smoke and fell asleep. I think that may happen if you are already asleep. But if not and you are trying to find a way out....

I was in my bedroom upstairs and heard the fire alarm go off. (Actually at first I thought it was on the television. All the alarms were hard wired so once they start beeping they beep from upstairs and down and it's not in unison. It can be confusing.) So I came out of my bedroom and I am at the very top of the stairs and could smell something burning but didn't see anything. 
Honestly I wasn't panicking. I thought.. it's toast. I mean it's ALWAYS burnt toast. So I went to the kitchen and was sniffing the entire way. I saw my daughter in the dining room. I said "it must be upstairs".
So I went back up over the stairs and the first thing I did was go into Karen's room. (This is my daughter's future mom-in-law, she was staying with us briefly) I had recently caught her smoking in there and there's no smoking in the house. I opened her door and there's a small knitting bag on the floor of her room on fire. 
I saw her two dogs huddled in the closet and I did a quick mental check (they're okay), this is small I can put this out and deal with it after. 
My daughter's bedroom door is directly beside Karen's and I opened her door to grab a towel (or something to smother the fire with) and when I opened the door the entire room was on fire. I couldn't contain that. My brain starts to race... I run to get my phone and yell to Shey "It's a fire, get out of the house". 
I am telling 911 my house is on fire and giving them the address. I grab my jacket and go back up over the stairs after seeing Shey was outside. The smoke is so black and thick. I need to get to the dogs. I keep yelling for them but they're not coming and the smoke is billowing, it's happening so fast. I am trying to see if I can see a window to break to let some of the smoke out so I can see, so I can get to the dogs and I can't. I try getting down on the floor and I a yelling over and over again to the dogs. I am lying on the stairs desperate to get them to me. I hear them whining and it's breaking my heart. I can't breathe any longer so I try running around to the back where the window to that room is. But it's on the second floor and fire is shooting out of the window. 
I thought if I can just get to the window and pull them out they'll make it. I am trying to pull this chair out the door to the back to reach the window, when a man comes and drags me away. 

They told me at the hospital the dogs didn't make it. I keep hearing them whine over and over again in my head. I keep thinking I should have just grabbed them when I first went into the bedroom. I should have not grabbed my jacket first....

You have no idea what it really means when people say they lost everything. My glasses, I didn't even have a bra on when I ran out. My hair was knotted up and I had soot in my teeth. I thought I have no tooth brush or even a brush to brush my hair. Some things cannot be replaced. Anything I had left of my son's. That is now gone forever. 
I am just heartbroken and I feel frozen in place right now. We didn't have insurance, so how do you even begin to replace any of everything? It feels so daunting.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

For Miriam

My Dearest Miriam,

Miriam Carey, Postpartum Psychosis, Postpartum Psychosis stories, PPMD, Walker Karraa, Postpartum. amhi Depression, Natachia Barlow Ramsey,
 I want to tell you that I am sorry. I have thought about you frequently since I heard your story on the news. I wish I could have shielded you from those bullets. I am so incredibly sorry that like so many other times change will inevitably come because a tragedy has occurred.
I have had a pit in my stomach all day thinking about you. I keep saying a thousand things over and over again to you in my head but they're not reaching my fingertips. I just keep coming back to
I am Sorry; I can feel your pain and it makes me feel physically ill...

Natachia Barlow Ramsey - Postpartum Psychosis Survivor and Loser

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Who is at Stake? Andrea Yates, CNN and the Call for Revolution

Walker Karraa wrote this amazing article and it was published on Postpartum Progress.

I am terribly frustrated that I cannot seem to locate the blog to blog share button so I am manually adding the link in here. It's a wonderful read and takes a look at what we should all be aware of. How people like Andrea, myself and so many, many women out there who have suffered an ill fated hand are schlepped in with people who are in their right mind and are placed under the code of "criminal".
Why? Because sensation sells; and I thought they outlawed taking advantage of the people who had a mental disability by putting them on display at the circus. Yet, here we are with our "Media Circus" and we pat ourselves on the back because we just watch from afar now instead of standing in line with everyone else.
Kudos Walker...

Who is at Stake? Andrea Yates, CNN and the Call for Revolution

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Altered Immune Cells Seem to Play a Role in Postpartum Psychosis

Jennifer Moyer posted this the other day and I am usually getting updates and constantly trying to stay up-to-date with the latest findings on Postpartum Mental Health issues.

I have seen some of this research making headway before and I have found it very interesting. I myself developed Bacterial Pneumonia within 36 hours of giving birth to my son and if you were to look at my case from 1999 it's a classic case of Postpartum Psychosis. In some ways it's almost textbook, although it wasn't as researched or as well known at the time.
I just touched base with the attorney with whom tried my case and saw me through numerous other court proceedings for my daughter over the course of a decade. We formed a friendship and keep in touch. I also stay in touch with my Psychologist of many years but who has now taken a job with State Forensics Services. I like to run things by the both of them and pick their brains on my case in 1999 versus the improved data.

I am amazed at what a difference 14 years makes and I can only hope that in 14 more years we will have a place in the DSM along with preventive measures for every new mother. Perhaps we'll even go back to the "village" style way of raising a child that seemed so outdated but was so much more successful.

Altered Immune Cells Seem to Play a Role in Postpartum Psychosis