Can the Guilt

Just a decade ago, one was hard pressed to find any book which even mentioned the term postpartum depression. Among medical texts, personal stories, clinical handbooks, public policy and research, there was scant reference. I will never forget Carol Blocker’s revelation of her desperate attempts to understand what scourge had overtaken her daughter’s life and telling a roomful of Congressmen that after canvassing hundreds of books she found only a tiny description of the illness which offered no further guidance or resources.

Thankfully, recognition and writings have come. We now have more crowded shelves on the topic with wonderful choices – thoughtful books written by researchers, healthcare providers, advocates, policy makers, survivors and clinicians. One only has to google postpartum depression to find unlimited offerings of such resources. Many of these authors are those who have walked along side us as we fought so hard for more awareness, better treatement and accessible resources.

Sylvia Lasalandra Frodella was among the first to publish an unvarnished chronicle of her personal experience with severe PPD. A Daughter’s Touch galvanized those who read it with understanding, dread, compassion and a desire to become advocates united against ignorance.

Sylvia walked the walk (often through the streets of Washington DC in her four inch heels) and talked the talk (to groups of hundreds or in one on one conversations with a mother in need), never refusing to share her story where enlightenment could lead to healing. But such constant revelation comes at a price – the price of reliving life’s darkest moments and wrestling with the questions that arise.

She followed this first publication with a beautiful book for the children of mothers who had PPD entitled Mommy, were you Happy the Day I was Born? This story answers questions that children of all ages may have when they reflect on their early childhood and their mother’s history of postnatal struggle.

We now have a triology of books from Sylvia as she again leads the way in her focus on the emotional aftermath of PPD. With Can the Guilt, Sylvia addresses the often overwhelming and destructive feelings of self-doubt that can plague mothers who have long recovered from the severest symptoms of PPD’s depression and anxiety. Such guilt can persist and continue to intrude into a mother’s sensitive psyche, a world in which she alone is ultimately responsible for her child’s happiness or despair. The factual reality and potential damage of such perceptions is the core of the book’s funny, wise, insightful and encouraging content.

Can the Guilt is scheduled for publication in October, 2012. PPD survivors actress Brooke Shields and former NJ First Lady Mary Jo Codey offer their endorsements of its important message. This is a book to offer mothers when life has returned to normal but restrospective damage control continues. I will alert you when it is available to be ordered.

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