No Longer a Secret: Confronting Postpartum Mood Disorder

No Longer a Secret: Confronting Postpartum Mood Disorder

I hadn’t had 4 hours sleep straight for weeks. I was just exhausted. Changing my daughter’s diaper, frustrated, I pleaded, “Why can’t you just sleep?” I pictured myself throwing her against the wall. I wanted to leave my family for a week. “I’m not ok,” I told my husband. He called my mom and took baby for two nights straight.

Amanda Ewing, Clark County Mom and Counselor

“I’m going to harm my baby”: An Almost Universal Postpartum Mood Disorder Symptom

As a counselor specializing in perinatal mental health at Vancouver’s Refresh Therapy, Amanda Ewing knows even good moms (and dads) have scary thoughts. Ewing is publicly sharing her own vulnerability because she knows most parents feel too ashamed to admit their own.

“You’re told ‘Everything is supposed to be so wonderful. Enjoy every minute . . . Just snuggle that baby instead of doing the dishes,’” she says. “That just feels worse.”

Yet these awful thoughts are normal. Studies show 90% of parents are troubled with frightening thoughts—concerns about their baby being hurt and even them harming their own baby. But, Ewing cautions,“It doesn’t mean you can or should ignore those intrusive thoughts.”

To read the rest of this article, pick up a copy of the March 2020 issue at any of these locations, or view the digital archive copy below.

Postpartum Depression Resources

Local Support

Perinatal Support Washington
Free warm line phone support, referrals, information (available in English and Spanish)
phone: 888-404-7763

Baby Blues Connection
Free mom & dad groups, warm line phone support, referrals, info
phone/text: 800-557-8375

Legacy Health Services Portland/Vancouver metro area
Pregnancy and Parenting Classes and Parenting Support Groups (available in English and Spanish)

New Heights Church
Parenting Support Groups

Moms Group Vancouver, WA Facebook Group

Lacamas Counseling Self-Care suggestion list

National Support

Edinburgh Scale for assessing and identifying potential postnatal depression

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Phone: 301-443-4513 or 1-866-615-NIMH (6464) toll-free


“Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers” by Karen Kleiman (Familius, 2019)

“This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression” by Karen Kleiman (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2013)

Recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, Dana Greyson is a freelance writer, former mediator and world traveler. When she’s not exploring, she’s usually writing. She blogs about her sailing adventures on Galley Wench Tales.

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