The title One Mom’s Journey to Motherhood: Infertility, Childbirth Complications, and Postpartum Depression, Oh My! should be pretty self-explanatory about what this book is about. However it is not just a memoir and also a thoughtfully written and thoroughly researched self-help guide by somebody determined to make a difference. It is a thick book – 428 pages.
It is not just for women who wish to:
- Understand/ tackle postpartum depression (PPD);
- Overcome infertility;
- Be better prepared for pregnancy (you may want to zoom into chapter 8 on myths about pregnancy and motherhood).
It’s also for:
- Dads who wants to know how to support the mom (check out chapter 12) and how to get support for himself (chapter 9);
- Friends and family who would like some quick tips (chapter 12);
- Health-care practitioners (chapter 13).
The book begins with Ivy Shih Leung talking about her personal struggles emotionally stressful and financially debilitating struggle with infertility. Once pregnant, she lost one of her twin babies in utero when she was hit by another car while driving. Ivy describes the actual birth of her daughter as uneventful, but the aftermath was medically invasive and resulted in a hysterectomy.
Ivy suffered from severe postpartum depression after giving birth – the onset was about 45 days postpartum. She vividly describes how her health deteriorated – from her insomnia, anxiety, fear and deep depression. The escalation of her condition is hugely due to the way she is dismissed by annoyed doctors on call, patronized, misdiagnosed and incorrectly medicated. Her anger still runs deep in your book and it is hard not to be affected.
Bear this in mind:
“… By the 1970s, the typical hospital stay in the United States was four days for normal deliveries and eight days for C-sections… Nowadays, with insurance companies so focused on cost reduction, the typical hospital stay is twenty-four to forty-eight hour for normal delivers and forty-eight to seventy-two hours for C-sections. The shortened hospital stay is what I refer to as the Bing Bam Boom effect: bing you arrive at the hospital, bam you have your baby, and boom you’re out the door.” – Ivy Shih Leung, pg 195.
So don’t be afraid to
- Take the time for yourself – rest!
- Ask for support
- Seek professional help
- Get a second or third or fourth opinion
- Read this book!
I do like happy endings – Ivy kept trying until she found the correct doctor who could help her help herself. She recovers and is fully functioning as a professional, a wife and a mother. She is also an author – chips away at the stigma associated with this PPD, and helps other women and their families recognize the symptoms of this disease so they can help themselves and get the proper help.
Author Ivy Shih Leung shares her not-so-perfect road to motherhood in this book that is part memoir and part self-help guide, reflecting lessons learned in the form of helpful tips and information to empower readers on the biological and sociological roots behind postpartum depression (PPD). She also seeks to raise awareness of the myths of motherhood and the stigma of PPD that contribute to the silent suffering of many mothers, as well as the importance of adequate social support in the early postpartum weeks.
A culmination of Ivy’s frightening PPD journey and her emergence from it with a passion to learn more about perinatal mood disorders, this book is fueled with passion to help other women and their families, anger from the unnecessary suffering Ivy went through from the lack of information available to the public about PPD, her doctors’ ignorance and lack of sensitivity, and public remarks like, “There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance”–all of which shows there’s still a long way to go in terms of educating the public about an illness that is suffered by one in eight new mothers.
With side effects that include shame, helplessness, and despair at a time that is supposed to be one of the happiest in a woman’s life, Ivy wants to help fellow PPD advocates get the message out that PPD is not a mind-over-matter thing, as those who don’t know any better tend to believe. PPD is an illness that must be taken seriously. We must all remember that the health of the family unit depends on the mother’s well-being.
About the Author
Ivy Shih Leung is a postpartum depression (PPD) survivor/advocate, the author of Ivy’s PPD Blog, and a Postpartum Support International member. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College with a BA in Biology, Ivy lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey.
Purchase this book here.
Who is Martha?
Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is also the author of the book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit www.ErosCoaching.com or email email@example.com.