When Postpartum Packs a Punch offers solace to mothers who have faced traumatic birth and perinatal mood disorders, as well as a chorus of different voices-parents, experts, and researchers. All are singing the same song: while the U.S. has made strides in caring for new mothers, we still have far to go. Stigma silences women, and blinds those on the sidelines. Stories of others' struggles are an antidote for stigma, because they let mothers know that they're not alone.
Kristina Cowan describes her own experience with traumatic birth and postpartum depression, and weaves it together with stories from other parents. Representing diverse backgrounds and perspectives and underscoring the prevalence of mood disorders after childbirth, these stories serve as a balm. They help heal and stir hope. And they show how an overcoming spirit can fight terrors of the mind-and win.
In praise of Cowan's debut book:
"Journalist and debut author Cowan explores postpartum depression (PPD) and other birth-related mood disorders in this informative yet personal text. After her first baby was born, Cowan was steeped in sadness; motherhood was not proving the joyride she had expected. The author sought help, finding it in a mixture of antidepressants, therapy, and her religious faith. Inspired to investigate further, she gathered the stories of other mothers suffering from postpartum disorders. (Interestingly, like the author, a number of women interviewed for the book went on to help others after experiencing PPD themselves). Cowan alerts readers to symptoms, risk factors, and neurochemical causes; outlines common therapies and medications; and defines the five major perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, including postpartum psychosis, a rare but serious condition. She also shares the stories of dads who have faced paternal postnatal depression. Talking about the issue and sharing experiences, the author notes, are important ways of addressing a subject often buried by shame. This powerful and useful book will be a boon for women facing any of these devastating postpartum disorders."
"Are you feeling the punch of the postpartum period? Many new parents do. But in her book, When Postpartum Packs a Punch, Kristina Cowan helps the reader understand the scientific and personal sides of this often-unanticipated problem. This well-researched and well-written book can help you see that you are not alone in your struggle, and that there is help."
-Dr. Jonathan S. Abramowitz, clinical psychologist, professor, and international expert on OCD and anxiety disorders
"Most books on perinatal mental health do not give a full chapter to trauma related to childbirth. Kristina Cowan interviewed the leading experts in the field and the chapter on birth trauma is beyond excellent. It is informative, accurate, and provides hope to anyone who might be struggling with this difficult experience. I appreciate the information she provides on the recommended treatment. This exceptionally written book should be recommended to anyone working in the field of perinatal mental health."
-Shannon Kane, postpartum therapist in Alberta, Canada
"'First I had a baby. Then I felt crazy.' Such a powerful and poignant beginning to this important book on postpartum illness. What Kristina Cowan offers goes way beyond the courage of sharing her own and other personal stories. When Postpartum Packs a Punch speaks the language that postpartum families long for; it is rich with compassion, hope, and much-needed resources. This book is hugely informational, it is comforting, it is healing."
-Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW Founder of The Postpartum Stress Center, and author of Therapy and the Postpartum Woman and The Art of Holding in Therapy