I am excited to share that I will be publishing a new edition of my book, Transformed by Postpartum Depression: Women’s Stories of Trauma and Growth with Praeclarus Press.
The book is rooted in the powerful stories of women who experienced postpartum depression as both traumatic and transformational. Women describe the devastation of postpartum depression and how that devastation leads to dramatic life changes. Read reviews here.
In the new edition, I hope to advance the understanding that a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder (PMAD) can be experienced as a traumatic life event–so significant as to shatter how women see themselves before and after, creating the causes for profound personal, professional, spiritual, and relational change. For some, the suffering of a PMAD results in what is known as posttraumatic growth (PTG)
What is Posttraumatic Growth?
Posttraumatic growth tends to occur in five general areas. Sometimes people who must face major life crises develop a sense that new opportunities have emerged from the struggle, opening up possibilities that were not present before. A second area is a change in relationships with others. Some people experience closer relationships with some specific people, and they can also experience an increased sense of connection to others who suffer. The third area of possible change is an increased sense of one’s own strength – “if I lived through that, I can face anything”. A fourth aspect of posttraumatic growth experienced by some people is a greater appreciation for life in general. The fifth area involves the spiritual or religious domain. Some individuals experience a deepening of their spiritual lives, however, this deepening can also involve a significant change in one’s belief system. (PTG Research Group, University of North Carolina Charlotte)
Most of us, when we face very difficult losses or great suffering, will have a variety of highly distressing psychological reactions. Just because individuals experience growth does not mean that they will not suffer. Distress is typical when we face traumatic events.
We most definitely are not implying that traumatic events are good – they are not. But for many of us, life crises are inevitable and we are not given the choice between suffering and growth on the one hand, and no suffering and no change, on the other.
Posttraumatic growth is not universal. It is not uncommon, but neither does everybody who faces a traumatic event experience growth.