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Monday, January 4, 2016

Postpartum Psychosis - Can you Forgive?


Nikki Love posted an update on the POST Life Movie website on the blog section titled The Mirror. It talked a lot about forgiveness and all the variables. Forgiving the person who became ill. Forgiving the people you asked for help, forgiving yourself. I believe it's much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself.

This takes me back to remembering even when my mother committed suicide and people would ask me if I were angry with her. I find it difficult to be angry with someone who thought their only option left to deal with their pain was to die. 
Put that into context for a moment. I have been there. I have felt so utterly
postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, maternal mental health, depression, suicide
hopeless, worthless, unworthy and remained in that place for so long that death seemed like the Only option to make it stop. It didn't appear like that every day. But it came in waves of darkness. The darkness got darker and lasted longer, with that came those thoughts of suicide. 

When I picture the last time I saw my mother alive, I know now she was thinking about ending her life. I couldn't have seen it at the time. Even being just 14 years old didn't matter. I have seen it now and I can recognize it, Sometimes. But only sometimes and that's if the person is using their words to communicate to me in some way how desperate they are feeling.
Above-Drafted December 17th, 2015

I started that before Christmas, in the middle of the Holidays. Halfway between our Thanksgiving and the New Year. I was on a roll and wanted to continue my effort of not only supporting the POST Life Movie, but All Moms who struggle with Postpartum Mood Disorders.

On Christmas Day, we had another loss within the Postpartum community. This was not a woman I knew personally. But I will say her name anyway because she deserves to be honored for her struggle; Sasha Hettich. I will link you to her story on Postpartum Progress and that of her husband, Cody Hettich, who spoke of her in an effort to battle the stigma surrounding Mental Health.

Last August, we lost another woman and her name was Naomi Knoles. She also committed suicide after getting released from prison, having spent 10 years there. She wanted to share her story and make a difference as well. Unfortunately, the struggle became overwhelming and she took her own life.

Both of those women suffered from a Postpartum Mood Disorder. In 2003, Naomi  became ill with Postpartum Psychosis and took the life of her daughter, Anna, after a failed attempt at her own life. She completed that effort last August.
Sasha Hettich was suffering from Postpartum Depression from all known accounts that I have read and it culminated on Christmas morning when she ended her life.

We need to come together as a Postpartum Community. I know I sing this song often. There is a divide within the community between the Depression and the Psychosis community where there should not be. At any time, the depression can turn to psychosis.

You are All Moms that this could happen to. This is not to scare you, it's to make you aware. Neither or those two moms thought this would happen to them.

In between the death of those two women, there have been countless other women I do not know the names of who have lost their battle. I for one do not want it to be in vain.
If I know of your battle, I will Always say your name. You will be remembered here.

I challenge other Postpartum Mood Disorder Blogs to do the same. Do not let there be a divide. Do not be a part of the problem. You say you want to erase the Stigma. Well Actions Speak Louder Than Words. You cannot claim to want to banish the Stigma surrounding Maternal Mental Health and be part of the problem. You have to be part of the solution.
Be part of the Solution.

~Be Loud, Be Purposeful, Be Strong, Be Courageous, Be Creative, Be Something~


  1. I'm the Online Awareness and Engagement Manager for Postpartum Progress. Thank you for this piece. We've been working hard to acknowledge all postpartum mood and anxiety disorders via our new posts on the blog and what we share on our Facebook page. I've also noticed the divide, but we're working on our end to do what we can. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Jenna,

      Thank you for the response. I believe the gap can be bridged. Even just by commenting and acknowledging that there is still work to be done makes a difference. All Moms matter and those at the forefront who are vocal, DO make a difference when they speak up. So, thank you! I don't want moms to be afraid to talk for fear of being ostracized. So, thank you again and I do believe the Postpartum Community can work together as one.

    2. I'm a little late on this, but I echo Natachia's point and will say there's a lot of hypocrisy and irony within the PMD community. This exists with the very women who want (or expect) some sort of compassion and empathy with there symptoms and disorders...but who cannot (and/or will not) lend any to others in a different or more severe situation (because they believe THEY're immune from any such possibility?). Postpartum Progress has censored my comments for speaking the truth. Heck, no one has even taken it upon themselves to even respond to me individually. What do you say to that, Ms. Hatfield? These support communities take money from the families of women who have died at their own hands (and/or taken their children with them) for funding, but you don't know what to say the surviving women who tried to do the same, but instead survived and found themselves incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital, prison, some combo of both, or had short-term stays and are now living amongst all of you (us) all.

    3. Rebecca,

      I appreciate your feedback so much. As I stated, and I do believe this, All Moms Matter and every voice counts. I want to hear from everyone. It won't help us to come together if we censor what the unpopular people have to say. By unpopular, I mean those of us who go against the grain or ask others to stand in an uncomfortable place for a while.
      I have to tell you Rebecca, that hearing from everyone that I do including you, Jenna and Julie; plus all the others who have made public and private comments showing support have helped make it possible for me to continue my efforts at bridging the gap and being a voice for women who cannot do it for themselves.

      And you are never too late to lend a voice, I am always grateful.Thank you.

    4. Ms. Hatfield, you've noticed the divide? Is that why you (or someone screening) continuously deletes (and/or refuses to post) my comments? You don't like people speaking up and out about the truth when it comes to the hypocrisy? You pat yourself on the back with self accolades about your pages accomplishments (recent posting), but are tone deaf to the fact that, NO, you are working much to do what you can. Your organization takes money from families whose daughters (and/or wives) have lost their lives to suicide and/or postpartum infanticide/filicide, but don't know much what to say to surviving women of such, who are living out in the open? It'd be easier (more understandable), I guess, if our attempts were met with successful suicide. Then it would be romanticized and eulogized. But when we're alive and reaching out, there are crickets in the background. No wonder Ms. Knowles ended her ardous fight. YOU DIDN'T EVEN MENTION HER. You've posted about Sasha Hettich, but there's no mention of the fact that she deliberately took her children with her in her outing, on a freezing day, with a gun, on Christmas. No one wants to address the white elephant in the room. That was a red flag that she had intentions of "taking her children with her," but didn't, for whatever reason. I know, I was there at one point in my life. It's crystal clear for those of us who have been on the other side. I'm glad that her community had come around to help her family through this. The local PSI community in my state would never...a bunch of hypocritical, flaky, women, who cannot follow through with any task or unite as women, mothers, humans...a community.

    5. Rebecca,

      I too screen the comments as a spam filter and because on occasion I have had a couple people who know me personally come not to comment on a post but to comment about something unrelated to a post.
      That being said, I try to not moderate because I believe everyone deserves to have a voice. I do believe there has been a large gap and not just with one particular agency, but within the Postpartum Community as I have spoken of it often.
      What I have done is said it in the open and I believe it is the only way to achieve change. I do, believe me I do, understand having emotions run high around this matter.

      I agree with you that generally suicide is romanticized in this community. I imagine you are not the only one who wondered if Sasha considered taking her children with her. I will admit it crossed my mind. It is very difficult to know and we will never know what was actually going through her mind that final day and how she came to that decision.

      I can hear your frustration, I have felt it myself. I continue to feel it.
      I understand your need for anonymity. If you do want to reach out you can email me directly at natachia@survivingppp.com
      I do believe we can achieve Postpartum Unity. It just takes time, like everything else. Please keep writing and you will always have a voice here.

  2. Elizabeth Pham is another person lost this year, as I'm sure there are many other names unheard. These are real people. This is a real disorder.

    1. Julie,

      I am so sorry for your loss. I was just looking at the memorial page for Elizabeth Pham. Thank you for reaching out and saying her name. Yes, this is a real disorder and making people aware is the first step.