Like a lot of first time moms, Jerusha Clark kept a copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting on her bedside table. She referenced it frequently. Mostly she stuck to topics on eating well and her labor and delivery.
Looking back, she remembers skipping the section on postpartum depression. Why bother? She was generally a happy woman. She enjoyed her pregnancy, and she loved being a mom when her child was born.
A few months later, everything changed. Her husband, Jeramy, awoke one night to find Jerusha on the floor, crying, “I can’t do it. I can’t take it.” It all culminated the night Jeramy caught Jerusha counting Tylenol pills to make sure she had enough to commit suicide.
The Clarks’ story isn’t unusual.
Studies show that between 10-15 percent of new moms experience postpartum depression – and those are only the women who self-report, so the stats are probably much higher. Conservatively, over a half million American women experience postpartum depression each year.
Up to two weeks after delivery, almost 80 percent of women go through the “baby blues.” That’s the term for the exhaustion, stress, and fear mixed together with unspeakable joy that often characterize the first few weeks of motherhood. The baby blues are normal.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is of serious concern. It can occur up to a year after giving birth. Some mothers experience times of sadness so oppressive they feel like they physically can’t get out of bed.
What can new moms do if they’re struggling with postpartum depression? And how can husbands come alongside their wives in a way that’s truly helpful?
We’re offering answers on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Embracing Hope in the Midst of Postpartum Depression.”
Jeramy and Jerusha Clark are with us to share about their journey through severe postpartum depression following the birth of each of their daughters – a journey that took them to some pretty deep and dark places. Through it all, they emerged to a better understanding of their own brokenness and their need for God’s help in times of despair.
Before I close, I want to remind you that if you or a loved one is experiencing depression – whether postpartum or another form – we want to help. We have caring, Christian counselors available on staff to give you an initial consultation and then to refer you to someone in your local area for ongoing support. The number during business hours (6 AM to 6 PM MST) is 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459).
We’d love to send you a copy of Jerusha Clark’s book, Living Beyond Postpartum Depression: Help and Hope for the Hurting Mom and Those Around Her for a gift of any amount. Give us a call or visit our website for more information.