RHODE MAP TO MOTHERHOOD: Understanding and coping with postpartum depression



PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Jessica Hanson says she never experienced postpartum depression with her first child, and never experienced depression in general.

Beginning right before she gave birth to her second, Juliette, she started to feel unlike herself.

Within two weeks of welcoming Juliette into the world, she had developed major depression.

“I felt like crying every day. I had episodes where I thought both of my kids were dead,” Hanson said.

Like many moms, she chalked it up to lack of sleep, until her daughter’s pediatrician asked her to fill out a questionnaire.


“Do you ever have thoughts of suicide? Do you ever have thoughts of hurting your baby? Do you ever have thoughts that your baby is in danger? I remember crying while I was filling that questionnaire out just like, ‘Wow I am experiencing these things, who knew?’,” she explained.

She was diagnosed with postpartum depression and anxiety.

“Me being the happiest person on the planet would never have thought I could be associated with depression.”

Hanson enrolled in the Day Hospital program at Women & Infants.

“I found it really helpful to speak to the doctors and figure out the science behind my hormones, also the therapists helping talking about the situations I was experiencing, and also meeting other women who were in the same shoes.”

Depression strikes 15-20% of moms. Dr. Shannon Erisman, a clinical psychologist and director of the Day Hospital, says there’s a fine line between the baby blues and postpartum depression.

“Often, postpartum depression and anxiety is missed by well-intentioned people who think it is normal new mom anxiety or blues.”

Hanson urges all moms to get evaluated.

“You have to do it for yourself. You have to do it for your baby.”

For more information on the Day Hospital program, click here.

©WLNE-TV 2019