Watching: DEPRESSION: Out of the Shadows
Chapter 4: Postpartum Depression [3:29]
The hormonal shifts of pregnancy and childbirth can trigger post-partum depression. Ellie explains what happened to her.
Transcript: Chapter 4 - Postpartum Depression
JEFFERY ZUEHLKE: (VO, ON HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) "Hi this is my Mom. I think you've seen her before. Say 'Hi Mom"..."
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC, ON HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) "Hi, Mom."
NARRATION: (HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE, PHOTOS) Childbirth is another common time for depression to occur. One out of eight mothers will develop post-partum depression, which doctors believe may be triggered by the dramatic shift in hormonal levels that women experience around the time of pregnancy.
Ellie Zuelhke's husband, Jeffrey, captured her depression on video while documentating the first weeks of their baby's life.
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (VO, HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) I think I just felt so guilty and terrible. I expected it to be love at first sight. I expected to have this overwhelming love for him. And I just felt nothing. You get the sensation,
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC) like, well, if this is the way it's gonna be, then why bother? Because this is horrible. This feels terrible and, um, I'm not a good mom. I'm not a good wife...
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (VO, HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) so just a lot of feelings of fear and, um, hopelessness, I guess
NARRATION: (HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE, PHOTOS) Ellie Zuehlke was struck with post-partum depression thirteen days after her son Graham was born. Women experience all types of depression at twice the rate of men.
DR. MYRNA WEISSMAN: (VO, HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) One possibility it has to do with the different
DR. MYRNA WEISSMAN: (OC) hormonal and endocrine makeup of women
NARRATION: (PHOTOGRAPHS OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) Ellie had trouble sleeping, a common symptom of depression.
DR. HELEN KIM: (VO, PHOTOGRAPHS OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) She was really out of her, um, senses. She really just so desperately wanted to-- to sleep. And that set up a cycle of, um,
DR. HELEN KIM: (OC) real high anxiety, anticipating the night with such dread, because she anticipated being awake. Um, and I think the sleep deprivation compounded the insecurity she felt at being a new mother for the first time.
JEFFERY ZUEHLKE: (VO, ON HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) "How ya doing, Mom?"
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC, HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) "Mom's having an OK day. I've been struggling with postpartum depression since he was almost two weeks old. I can't believe it's been that long. Several times I wanted to die. Yesterday, I wanted to kill myself because I don't think I can do this anymore."
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (VO, HOME VIDEO FOOTAGE WITH ELLIE ZUEHLKE) One thing that happened to me is I had what they call intrusive thoughts, which are really scary thoughts about hurting your baby
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC) or hurting yourself.
DR. HELEN KIM: (VO, PHOTOGRAPHS OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) Intrusive thoughts can often include things like, uh, seeing your child hurled against a wall or seeing yourself throw your child down the stairs
DR. HELEN KIM: (OC) it's something that's so jarring because it-- again, it goes against how you see yourself and becomes quite shameful,
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (VO, PHOTOGRAPHS OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) I thought, "Oh my god, they're gonna call Child Protection. They're gonna take my baby away. I can't tell my husband, you know, he's gonna think I'm a lunatic."
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC) Um, and you begin to question yourself: "Gosh, am I crazy? Am I going off the deep end? What's going on here?
NARRATION: (ELLIE AND JEFFERY ZUEHLKE WALKING DOWN HALLWAY) Ellie had difficulty finding a doctor who she felt confident could help her.
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (VO, ELLIE AND JEFFERY ZUEHLKE WALKING DOWN HALLWAY) I remember leaving that first psychiatrist's office feeling even more defeated and more scared, because I felt like, "Oh gosh, if he doesn't understand what's going on, this is just tough, you know, this is just part of being a new parent, then it must be hopeless.
ELLIE ZUEHLKE: (OC) And if he can't help me, nobody can.
NARRATION: (VO, PHOTOGRAPHS OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) A friend recommended Dr. Kim, an expert on post partum care, who helped to allay Ellie's fears about her intrusive thoughts.
DR. HELEN KIM: (VO, PHOTOGRAPH OF ELLIE ZUEHLKE WITH BABY) It's important for women to know that the intrusive thoughts and images are common. Violently acting them out is exceptionally rare. Other women have experienced the same thing, um,
DR. HELEN KIM: (OC) that there's a name for what troubles me, and, more importantly, that there's something I can do about it.
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