Luisa Zissman Confesses That She Battles Severe Postnatal Depression

April 5, 2014

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Things seem to be coming up roses for reality television star Luisa Zissman. But, it wasn’t always this way. Luisa, participant in “Celebrity Big Brother 13,” recently admitted that she had a terrible time in the early months of her five-year-old daughter Dixie’s life.

Luisa coped with postnatal depression, a fairly common condition that affects women in the first year of their babies’ lives. Luisa’s revelation creates awareness for the condition and stresses the importance of identifying the problem while mothers can still bounce back from it to build a new, happier life with their children.

Luisa’s suffering

After baby Dixie was born five years ago, Luisa found herself lost in a fog. She admits that she did not like her daughter very much in the beginning. Luisa told The Daily Star that it was hard to bond with a baby who was “screaming all the time.” Like many new mothers who face postnatal depression, also called postpartum depression, Luisa felt terribly ashamed of the condition.

She was afraid to discuss it. In fact, she felt so helpless and lonely stuck at home, that she often contemplated leaving and never coming back. She was diagnosed with postnatal depression when her daughter was three months old. She said she wanted to “roll over and die.” But, she managed to fight back against the tide of sadness, and her relationship with her daughter is now healthy.

The facts about postnatal depression

Although an estimated 9-16 percent of new mothers suffer from postnatal depression, the subject is still taboo.

Many women feel like there is something wrong or broken within them if they do not immediately bond to their babies.

And yet, this process is totally normal. Exhaustion from the pregnancy, labor and delivery, coupled with sleepless nights with a crying newborn, can make anyone want to scream.

These experiences can also make women want to leave the house without the baby, as Luisa said she considered. The hormone changes after pregnancy cause most women to go through a period of sadness most frequently called the “baby blues.”

Where some women have trouble lies in deciding if their feelings are normal or if they need help. Like Luisa, they are afraid of admitting that motherhood is not as perfect for them as it seems to be for everyone else. But, doctors, nurses and midwives are trained to spot problems in women when they come in for routine mother and baby checks.

If a mother is sad all the time, doesn’t feel bonded to or interested in her baby, or thinks often of leaving or death, she may be suffering from postnatal depression. Sometimes the depression manifests itself in terrible anxiety about the family and for the baby’s health or safety in particular.

Treatments for suffering mothers

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When a new mother is coping with postnatal depression or anxiety, as Luisa did, there are treatments available.

For the safety of both mother and baby, extra care should be provided.

Some women find that just the acknowledgement of their concerns without stigma, and learning that they are not horrible people for feeling this way, is enough to help them out of the fog.

Others may require cognitive behavior therapy or medication to bring their chemical levels within a normal range.

Luisa’s future plans

Although the actress’s early weeks as a mother were extremely rough on her, Luisa’s future with her daughter seems bright. She started a cupcake shop and website named after her daughter. Luisa said that her experience with postnatal depression put her off having any more children.

But, her recent purchase of a Ferrari California and her plan to have a lesbian kiss with fellow “Celebrity Big Brother” participant Jasmine Waltz show that big things are on their way for the actress.

Life for any new mother is hard. But women who clearly suffer from postnatal depression, as Luisa Zissman did, should follow her example and fight back.

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