The lovely Hannah Lord and Jude (2). Hannah conceived Jude the summer before her senior year of high school. She had already planned to finish school early to attend college but was so sick throughout her entire pregnancy that she had to finish via a home based program, thankfully she was still able to finish early. At 9 months pregnant she moved from North Carolina to Maine with her mom. She had been researching pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding and was told by her OB in North Carolina that she wouldn't be able to breastfeed because of her age and they weren't supportive of her wishes for a natural birth. With her move she found a doula and midwife to support the water birth she had hoped for.
Hannah was hoping that Jude would come at 41 weeks when there was a full moon. The day before he was ultimately born she went to the midwives and had her bloody show. They checked her and she was already so dilated they could see his hair. They told her to go ahead to the hospital but it was very busy and they gave her option of coming home but she felt like things were really happening. She was 7.5 cms in the morning and her water broke but there was meconium in the water. She was risked out of birthing in the water but was able to labor in the shower in a chair instead. They let her in the tub for a while as a comfort measure and then a stool but his heart rate dropped so they rushed her to the bed and she had to have an unmedicated episiotomy before she was able to push him out.
Breastfeeding was easy for her and Jude and she didn't have any issues other than clogged ducts while pumping. Hannah realized, when Jude was 9 months old, however that she may have a postpartum mood disorder and feels that her move and being away from her friends and support system may have contributed. She was still able to care for her child and practiced attachment parenting and she would be fine but once a month she would plummet. She thinks perhaps she was too sensitive to what others were saying to her, she was told she was too young to have a baby, to suck it up when she was sad because she had done this to herself, and that breastfeeding was gross and she needed to let her baby cry. She became very confused feeling told she was doing it wrong. She tried natural remedies, chiropractic, acupuncture and therapy.
Eventually, her midwife put her on an SSRI but she had a bad reaction to the meds and had to be admitted into a psych hospital. Eventually, they realized she was okay, she just shouldn't be on that medication. It was too late for Jude however, he had been taken away from her and placed in foster care a week before his first birthday. He was away from her for a year and a half and she had fight to regain custody. In the process she was told again that her parenting choices were wrong and the reason why she had postpartum depression. Her depression got worse away from Jude not being able to attend to his needs, she had to stop nursing and it his been traumatizing on them being torn away from each other.
During the time Jude was in foster care Hannah was juggling a part time job, herbalism apprenticeship and DONA doula certification. Her herbalist was then, and has continued to be a huge support and she doesn't know where she would be with her. Hannah tried to maintain their breastfeeding relationship by nursing during visitation and pumping in between despite the controversy and claims that breastfeeding creates her PPD but around 22 months her milk completely dried up because of lack of nipple stimulation and when pumping her milk would come out bloody looking like strawberry milk. To this day Jude still dry nurses and Hannah notes that breastfeeding was her only reassurance that she was a good enough mother for Jude on the days she felt depressed and not good enough. When others questioned her ability to raise Jude because of my age and being single, deep down she knew she was the only one who created the milk her son needed.
When Jude was initially placed in foster care they had told his foster family that he was up for adoption even though she was working so hard to get him back. Even though countless medical professionals and parenting advocates told them she was capable of safely caring for him she had to fight. It was very confusing for Hannah to work so hard to do everything right and be told that she was doing it wrong. To hear him cry for her and not be able to be there for him was heartbreaking and she struggles with guilt that she put her son at risk due to her depression. Jude has been back with her since the end of May and she received full custody back in August.
Hannah still struggles with feelings of insecurity and judgment and finds that her trauma is often triggered by other things. She has sought the support of friends who understand what she has been through. She wants women to know that they are not alone with postpartum depression and it doesn't mean that you are a bad person it is just something that happens.