Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Book review: Living Beyond Postpartum Depression

When I saw this book listed as an option on the NavPress blogger review program site, I was very interested in reading it and immediately put in my request.  I have never been diagnosed with postpartum depression or any other postpartum disorder, but I have not had an easy time of it emotionally since my kids were born.  I've felt in some ways like this was a betrayal of my faith and my role as a Christian mom, since all of the other Christian moms that I knew seemed to love everything about motherhood and being with small children, while I honestly did not. So I ended up feeling guilty on top of being tired and discouraged, and that's not a good place to be.

Reading Living Beyond Postpartum Depression was such an encouragement to me. Jerusha Clark opens the book by honestly and openly sharing her story of the severe PPD that she faced after the birth of each of her children, and the long road that her family had to travel on to find healing. As the book continues, she also shares stories from other moms who suffered from PPD in varying levels of severity and what issues they faced. There are chapters dealing with PPD and what it is exactly and its effects on the body and the mind mind, as well as chapters discussing spiritual issues related to PPD.

There is so much information in this book and it really has something to help everyone who is touched by PPD, not just the new mom who is personally experiencing the issue. Jerusha includes chapters with information for the husband, for the parents and in-laws of the mom, and for friends. These chapters don't just explain PPD, they offer concrete examples of what to say and do. I think this is particularly valuable information- it's so unbelievably frustrating to watch someone you love going through a difficult time and being scared to do or say something that will just make the issue worse. The book closes with chapters dealing with treatment and recovery issues, as well as appendices containing helpful Bible verses and additional resources for PPD.

My favorite chapter was definitely the one entitled "Spiritual Implications of Postpartum Depression." It includes a great discussion of misconceptions about PPD and other mental illness, and truths to combat those misconceptions and lies.  

Important messages abound in Living Beyond Postpartum Depression- like the reminder that this is not something that the sufferer has chosen or caused in any way.  Having PPD doesn't mean that someone hasn't been praying enough or has faith that is too weak, it's a physical illness, like any other, and the sufferer needs help.  Jerusha encourages people dealing with PPD to reach out for help in a number of ways- through prayer and scripture reading, of course, but also through counseling and medical care. 

I really love this book and hope that it finds its way into the hands of moms everywhere. Although the book is written by a Christian author and contains a lot of discussion of faith and the Bible, I think it would be a great resource for any mom or person with a loved one who is facing PPD.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”