“No longer alone in my postpartum depression in the digital age”
“This instantly provides comfort to me knowing that what I'm experiencing is normal in the context of my journey through PPD and more importantly, that I'm not alone.”
Mother Patricia Tomasi wonders how she ever got past her postpartum depression the first time around, when there wasn’t yet Facebook, and when Google was still on the rise and there weren’t any mommy blogs to read and commiserate with.
“That was seven years ago, i.e. the olden days, when everyone didn't own a smart phone and there weren't any live online PPD support groups to access,” she said in her Huffington Post story. “The only the thing I could do then at 3 a.m. in the middle of the night on the verge of a panic attack while the rest of the world slept was grab my cell phone and dial 911.”
But the landscape of technology has since changed and improved and made the world a less massive place for people looking for connection.
Now whenever Patricia felt off, all she’d do is log onto her Facebook and post her symptoms on a mommy group and wait for the replies of women who are on the same boat as she is.
“It only takes a couple of minutes,” she said. “This instantly provides comfort to me knowing that what I'm experiencing is normal in the context of my journey through PPD and more importantly, that I'm not alone.”
Gone are the days when she’d wake up in the middle of the night and, gripped with panic, shake her husband awake and demand answers for her symptoms.
The Internet taught her to believe her nightmares weren’t real, that those gruesome images that flashed in her head weren’t real.
“I learn that PPD is not my fault, that it's a result of hormonal and biochemical changes that occur in pregnancy and postpartum, that the meds I'm taking will take effect soon, and that one day, just like the moms in the Facebook groups who've been saying it all along, I will get better and be well again.
“I lie back down next to my peaceful baby, close my eyes and feel the possibility of sleep returning.”
And as it turned out, Patricia’s method to madness is backed up by science:
The University of Western Ontario studied for six months the comments moms post an online support group. They discovered that they “provide women experiencing postpartum depression a safe place to connect with others and receive information, encouragement and hope.”
The next time you feel like unloading all your guilt and fears and nightmares, just know that you are not alone and there are mothers everywhere going through the same pain as you.
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