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Is there any way through this w/out meds?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My son is 8 weeks old and I am struggling with PPD. Oh God, just writing that sentence is starting the tears. Anyway, I have gone to a therapist twice now and she told me that I can't really make the PPD go away without medication but I can learn to cope better with it.

Is this true???? I don't want to take medication. Please, if anyone has had any success without taking medication, please tell me what you did.

Also, how long does this last? Sometimes I think I might be starting to get better, but then other days I am sure I am getting worse. I just don't even know.

Thank you.
post #2 of 22
Since it is a chemical imbalance therapy can only help you cope better. But will not make it go away.

I did take meds for my severe ppd zoloft and nursed my dd I also took it with my ds though I didnt have as severe ppd after him.

There are safe meds you can take to help like zoloft and it will let you enjoy your time with your ds. I wasted the first 3 months of my dd's life by not going and getting meds the only memories I have of that time is being sad and thinking suicidal thoughts

PPD can last years if not properly treated for some it passes in months for me dd was 18 months old before I was able to go off the meds. With ds I was able to go off them before he was a year old. There is no set time frame for it

Remember this is not your fault in any way shape or form it is all about hormones and chemicals in the brain that we dont have a way to control.
post #3 of 22
Just noticed your post and that there haven't been many responses yet. I hope you have found some answers/something to help you feel better.

What helped for me was:
1. Sleep. As much as you can get. Napping with baby. I would lie down with baby and nurse her back to sleep (she was a cat napper but I could get a bit more rest this way...even just lying down to nurse can help).

2. Early morning daylight. Don't wear sunglasses or contact lenses. 15-30 minutes outside first thing helps stimulate seretonin production (what most meds do, just moreso). If that's not an option, consider investing in a light therapy box or have extra bright white light bulbs put in the house and keep it nice and bright.

3. Exercise! Morning walk with babe can accomplish both.

4. Girlfriends, playgroups and as much social support as you can find to take mind off obsessive thoughts and keep world view expanded.

5. Accomplishing things: This is where I LOVED my cuddly wrap/moby. If I got something done (even as simple as cooking an egg for breakfast) I considered it a successful day. The less I did, the worse I felt.

It's a lot of work to battle depression naturally. Please let us know how you're doing.
post #4 of 22

no meds

no meds!!!!!! there's a million other ways to treat these weepy emotional feelings...
1) sleeeeeeeeeeeeep
2) nursing should at some point , maybe not for a few weeks but release oxytocin a chemical which should start reviving you and giving you happy burst of seratonin, i really notice this, but didn't until way later, like 6 months....
3) supplement here! get some DHA nordic naturals fish oils prenatal - this stuff is the greatest... if i miss it for even a week i can feel my emotions get weepy - supports feelings of maternal well being and great for your baby's brain - very very very very useful........
4) tryptophan may help you get good sleep
5) there's always the eating of your placenta (only if you still have it and - its a little controversial)
6) go on walks
7) read inspiring things
8) find an artist who inspires you - a visionary artist who's work can bring you hope

9) there is hope and you will get through this!!!!!!

10) acupuncture can be used to treat depression
11) a massage is very useful to feel great!
12) avoid lots of sugars - (unless from fruit) the processed kind will bring you up then doooooowwn.....
post #5 of 22
Go to the library and get The Mood Cure by Julia Ross.
post #6 of 22
I second the Mood Cure. Also there is a blog and book by someone here, I think it's Rebuild from Depression about key nutrients being missing and how to get them. Personally, I take:

fish oil (1t of fermented cod liver oil)
4000 iu of vit d
50mg HTP
rainbow light multi-vit

and sometimes I pop some raw liver "pills". They are VERY high in vit b12 which is fairly deficient in most people nowadays.

If I don't take this stuff, I definitely feel worse. If anything I would just start with some vit d and fish oil if you can.
post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm so glad I checked back here and that there were more posts.

I saw my midwife a week ago and have upped my fish oils drastically. I'm also taking b complex and addtl b-12 as well as chinese herbs and a low dose of progesterone as a last ditch effort. I'm going to a therapist. I did encapsulate and injest my placenta but it was gone after about 3 weeks. I'm trying to get rest and eat properly but it is difficult. I have a preschooler as well as the baby to care for.

I am trying so hard to get through this without meds but I am losing hope. Trying to decide what is worse for my baby and family is so hard - is it worse to try to just survive this as it is or subject my baby to meds in his breastmilk? I can't answer that. I just go back and forth and it makes me feel sick inside and panicky. My doctor (who hardly even talked to me about what is going on) wants me to go on Zoloft. My midwife is going to be gone on vacation for 3 weeks or something so I won't be able to check in with here on how things are going. I'm scared to take the meds and I'm scared not to take the meds.

PPD feels like a living hell. That sounds so dramatic, but it is true. How else can you describe something that takes the most wonderful things in your life, your children, and makes you not do right by them no matter how hard you try? I would have never been able to imagine how horrible this is if not for going through it myself.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
About the tryptophan, how much do you take? Does it make you so drowsy that you shouldn't co-sleep? My baby sleeps in our bed and nurses through the night. I would never want to take something that could risk intoxicating me while we are in bed sleeping. Nightime sleep has been a challenge for me as of late though because I am getting anxious at night.

Thank you.
post #9 of 22
I did herbals under the supervision of a naturopath...nettles, licorice root, st.john's wort with valerian and passionflower etc.

While I loved the Mood cure, I found I couldnt' take a lot of the 'better' supplements because I was nursing (ie. 5htp, tyrosine etc)

It does get better.
post #10 of 22
It's so tough to make decisions when in the midst of just trying to cope.

I'm not suggesting what's right for you - only you know that. But if it's any help, if I were to be fortunate enough to have a second (been TTC for a while), I would not hesitate to go the medication route. I've never tried meds, but went through PPD (it was never severe enough to feel suicidal, but the intrusive thought were disturbing and the insomnia and mood swings really sucked). It was so tough on dh that I think he developed it as well...or perhaps a form of PTSD - he's not that keen on having a second baby. I tried all the natural stuff I could - I think it helped prevent me from getting more severe, but it really didn't work the way I would have liked. I feel some regret - mostly for how it affected relationship with dh.

My sister has been on celexa for a few years and had her second about 10 months ago. She was on a low dose in pregnancy, and stayed on it post partum, maybe upped dose a bit. Her babe exclusively nursed 6 months and is still nursing. Babe is developing well (is about to start walking), mom is happy.

The bottom line is mom deserves to feel happy. These years will never come back. If you do go the route of meds, it may be worth researching them first as they may help reassure about safety of low doses in breastfeeding. If you google LactMed it's a good place to get some info on studies that have been done.

Whatever you decide will be right for you Take care.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
To those who posted about all the supplements and other natural things, was your PPD severe?

For example, did you have anxiety and suicidal thoughts? Did you wake up in the morning and literally dread the day to come? Did you have anxiety at night thinking about the day to come? I'm trying the supplements. I also have a prescription for Zoloft that I have not filled. I'm trying to weigh what is worse, being on the meds and hopefully being the mother I know I really am, or staying off of the meds and being who I am now with PPD, which is awful. I have been trying the intense supplementation (fish oils, Bs, etc) for almost two weeks now and I don't know if I just haven't given it enough time or if I am just too bad off to get better without medication.

Any thoughts, experiences or insights would be greatly appreciated.
post #12 of 22
For myself, yes. I have had PPD 3 times, including psychosis.

I emailed my ND when I was on the verge of a major breakdown and she recommended I grab some evening primrose oil and within a couple hours I felt amazing. It was crazy. It worked *for me* I can't emphasize that enough.

BUT, that said, only you and those around you can determine whether it's better for you to wait it out, or do meds.

At the very least, I think you need to be in contact with someone, a family member or a friend, or a health care practitioner who can track your progress and check up on you.

Are you getting any sleep? If you are not getting a few hours straight, that can realllly affect things and make it worse.

Call someone over to watch the kids while you sleep.

praying for you hun
post #13 of 22

I had horrible PPD with my first, who is 3.5 years now. I didn't take any medications for it, but it did a little over a year for it to go away, but at 6 months I was a lot better. Sleep, exercise, well balanced diet, sun, family/friends, breastfeeding can all help.

post #14 of 22

I'm in the midst of this now.  greensad.gif  So, I feel you on the living hell.  It really is, and I had it the first time around with my son (now 2 YO) and thought that I could 'prevent' it, and NO, sadly, I couldn't, so that makes me feel like even more of a failure.  I'm going to see a therapist Monday. I called today and it wasn't but 5 seconds into the call and I was crying.  My husband and I got into it pretty heavily last night, from 10-2 we were basically yelling at each other the whole time. 

I get the suicidal thoughts, I get the mental images of terrorizing the house, breaking everything in site, and the images of even hurting others.  I don't think Hell really descibes it to be honest.


With my last I was on Prozac for 6 months, but for me, it made me numb to everything.  I never felt bad, but I never felt good either.  So, I, personally, feel like I missed a whole 6 months of his life.  This time, I don't want to do it again because I'd be missing her life and his. 


I really want to avoid meds.  I should be doing the Fish oil, the Niacin (which is the B vit that is studied for depression), I've also heard of rescue remedy, I use a spray that I should use more often, they also have it in a ticture, and tablet-candy-like form.  Also, St. John's wort.  My husband battled with depression/anxiety pretty bad, and coming off his meds was pretty hard on him and we learned a lot.  I just can't seem to get up the strength I guess to actually start them.  I think I'm still slightly in denial that it's happening to me....again. 


I think for some, prescription meds are a good idea, I do think they are over prescribed, and I think a lot of women on them could go the natural route and be fine, not ALL, but a lot.  You may be one of the moms who really needs the meds, or one of the moms who can make it without.  I don't even know which one I am. 


Much love to you.  Oh, I'm 7 weeks out too, so the new baby thing is going on here to.  smile.gif  I feel like I've just ranted on my own case, on your thread, I'm sorry, but I hope you found some usefulness out of it. 

post #15 of 22

Wow...I thought that I was alone with this PPD stuff.  I have three children - a daughter 21 years old, a daughter who is almost 16, and a newborn son born on Oct 5th.  I NEVER had any problems after the birth of my two daughters BUT after my son was born, I had PPD bad (which started about 1 week after I had him).  I felt like I was going crazy and disoriented.  I was crying, having anxiety, not eating, barely sleeping, etc.  Went to the doctor and was put on anti-anxiety pills.  After a few days, I was suffering from ppd. I went to Urgent Care at one point thinking that I was seriously loosing it!!!   I was doing everything on my own (spouse unavailable) which made it harder.  I was so scared and didn't know what to do.  I was able to see my OB the next day after I visited urgent care and she prescribed celexa to help with depression and she said to use the anti-anxiety pills when necessary.  I also made an appointment the next day with a therapist.  I filled the prescription for celexa but I was not comfortable taking an anti-depressant at all.  I finally decided to take the anti-depressant after 2 days and did not like the way it made me feel.  I then did some research, finding ways to help with ppd using natural methods.  After extensive searching, I decided to start taking fish oil and St. Johns Wort.  I stopped taking any medications and added the fish oil and St. Johns Wort along with a multi-vitamin and iron.  For myself, this has worked thus far - along with therapy, drinking plenty of water and getting out of the house every day for at least an hour (usually walk around the mall with the baby in his stroller).  However, in the past day or so, I've been feeling as if I might be having some minor symptoms of depression again (could be the lack of sleep I've had for the last couple of days because my sweet baby has been a little fussy - oh well) rolleyes.gif


I will say this - although using vitamins and therapy has worked for me thus far, I will not rule out taking medications if need be.  At this point, I'm taking things day by day and am thankful that thus far I'm not feeling the insanity I did a few weeks ago!  It is not easy - but take things slow and take care of yourself as best as you can.  Hope this helps.

post #16 of 22

Thanks for starting this thread....I have all of the same questions.  I have been encouraged to start zoloft and am just so conflicted on the matter.

post #17 of 22



The main thing is to do *something*, anything that will move you towards getting better. Take a small step and it could completely change the direction of your life.

Meds are not the only way, but they are a way.  Do whatever you need to today.  If you are feeling foggy, talk to someone, a friend, or a healthcare practitioner and gatehr some more ideas. Sometimes we think too much, letting the thoughts swirl around in our head, but sometimes a really good discussion will bring out some ideas that were underneath the surface or even some new ideas you hadn't thought of..


Hope this helps!

Peace and Blessings

post #18 of 22

This is an interesting thread.  My therapist is recommending zoloft for my severe PPD and Anxiety.  I am leaning more towards taking them as I have exhausted the natural route with little success.  The first two months with baby (and 2.5 year old) were great, probably due to ingesting my placenta (I anticipated mental struggles so ingested the placenta raw in smoothies); I can't express how much that helped!  Now I am doing exercise, no sugar diet (so no gluten either), upped the iron, B12, and D.  3-6-9 Oils and tons of water.  tons of vegetables and fruts.  Also taking pulsatilla and seeing my chiro regularly and getting TBM treatment.  And I am tandem nursing.  My body feels great (and hey I even lost some of this weight i gained with my 2nd) but my mind is still struggling quite a bit.  I also felt like the consequences for my children were are not worth "waiting it out" with the alternatives route.  I am usually quite wary of drugs and am nervous to start on them but like I said I feel like my options for treatment are dwindling.  years ago when i had severe anxiety problems I had the luxury of being able to be creative with my insanity but feel I can't deal with it that way now that there are children I am responsible for.  I agree with everybody else that different things work for different moms.  I feel good about trying alternatives and knowing effort is being made to see what else could work.  My daughter is 6 months old now so I really feel like I've given a non-med approach about as long a chance as I can and my emotions/mind seem to be getting worse as time goes on.  It makes me feel a little more okay about starting zoloft.  Do what works best for you and keep reaching out for support.  You are not alone. xo

post #19 of 22

I was watching a health documentary and they've done some studies with Niacin and depression.  I take a 500 mg every night, and it feels wonderful.  You do 'flush' which is a red turning that feels similar to a tingly sun-burn (just without the pain) and it's VERY relaxing.  I feel that I get much much better sleep, and go to sleep much quicker.  I have anxiety too, and with a 2.5 yo and a 4 mo, it's hard to get good sleep, and sleep is oh so important when struggling with this. 

post #20 of 22

Curious about how it all turned out...


I had PPD with my DD, who is now 2, and I'm now 17 weeks pregnant. I was very adamant through the whole process that I was NOT taking drugs, as I have had depression before and successfully overcome it without medication. However, after 2 years, though things definitely got better, I don't think I ever overcame the depression. DH still makes dinner every night, then does the dishes, and he does all the laundry and much of the other housework too. Now pregnant, I can feel those horrible thoughts creeping back, am experiencing the terrible inertia, and the awful escapism and comfort eating. I am getting pre-partum depression.


I still don't want to do the whole meds thing, but now I'm thinking I might just need it. Especially if things get really bad after #2 is born. This is a huge thing for me, because I barely even take Advil or Tylenol for pain. I should go and look into what kinds of supplements are safe for pregnancy...



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