Book Review: When Postpartum Packs a Punch

“First I had a baby. Then I felt crazy.” (Tweet that!)

To one degree or another, can’t all new moms relate to those opening lines of When Postpartum Packs a Punch?

I first met the author, longtime journalist Kristina Cowan, at a writing critique group. At the founding meeting of a new Word Weavers chapter, we discovered we were both pregnant with our first daughter. To our delight, though due 8 days apart, our daughters Syma and Michaela were born on the same day.

But, as all moms know, giving birth isn’t all sunshine and roses. Neither is the postpartum period. Three years earlier, after the birth of her son, Kristina had battled postpartum depression. She soon discovered 12-25 percent of new moms suffer from perinatal mood disorders (p. 230).

Kristina Cowan with her children, Syma and Noah.

When she recovered, she endeavored to stem the plague of perinatal mood disorders the best way she knew how–through writing.

This April, When Postpartum Packs a Punch was published. The book begins with her own tale: “Nobody Told Me It Wouldn’t Be Perfect: My Story of Postpartum Trauma.”

Kristina with her husband, Matt, and their two children.

Cowan then explains the differences between the five major perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Through stories of women who have faced them and interviews with experts who have treated them, we see these illnesses up-close. At the end, we discover they are both treatable and temporary.

Ultimately, these narratives of heartache and healing offer women the hope they desperately need. “By saying, ‘I’ve been where you are, and it’s awful. But I got through it, and so will you,’ we show new mothers they’re not alone. We offer hope, which is the heart of this book” (Cowan, p. 19).

My Thoughts:

With gripping stories and thorough research, When Postpartum Packs a Punch is a must-read for moms. (Tweet that!) Cowan’s candid discussion of her own depression and intrusive thoughts encourages openness in others. Plus, her beautiful writing makes the journey even more enjoyable.

Whether you’re a parent or a health care provider, you’ll find this book both fascinating and informative. I recommend it to moms and dads, doctors and nurses, and women with perinatal mood disorders.

Want to learn more about maternal mental health? Check out my interview with Kristina Cowan!

 

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