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Dealing With Postpartum Depression (Recipe – Deep Dark Chocolate Cake)

I first realized I had a problem a couple of months ago. Leah, my new baby, was 3 months old. I was still in new baby bliss, totally loving every moment with her. One part of me felt extremely happy… life was about as good as it can get. What began creeping up on me though was something I couldn’t explain. I started to become very anxious, almost like I was over-caffeinated (and I rarely drink coffee). My heart would race and I would feel shaky. I was extremely edgy. Every little thing my other kids would do would drive me crazy. I was yelling at them more than I ever had before, about even the tiniest of things…(not getting in their carseats fast enough, leaving their shoes out on the floor, hollering my name after they went to bed). When Ella would fall and hurt herself or cry, I would turn and walk the other direction because the tone of her cry was more than I could handle…like fingernails on a chalkboard. Simple chores, like unloading the dishwasher, were too overwhelming for me. It would take me all day long to do what should have taken me 5 minutes. Finally, one day, I snapped… Kelly, my 5 year old was doing her homework, sitting in a chair right next to me. She was writing and very innocently kept knocking her elbow into me as she wrote. I felt, at that moment, like I was going to crawl out of my skin and absolutely lose it with her. It took that moment for me to realize that something was not right. I needed help.

The next morning I was having breakfast with a good friend of mine when I decided to actually verbalize what I had been going through. I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, even my own husband, because I honestly felt like I was losing my mind and was just a horrible mom. When I expressed to my friend, who happened to have had a baby just 2 months before me, what I was going through she nodded in understanding. Come to find out, she had just been to the doctor a couple months before for the same thing and she was now being treated for post-partum depression.

Depression? But I’m happy! I’m not weepy and unable to get out of bed. I love my baby and have never had any ill feelings towards her. How could I have postpartum depression? But my friend described what she was going through and it mirrored my symptoms exactly.

As soon as I got home that morning I called my OBGYN’s office and they had me come in right away. I remember sitting in that office when I was there for my 6 week postpartum checkup and being asked “How are you feeling? Do you have any of the baby blues?” Proudly, in fact extra proud of myself because I’ve been able to answer the same way with all four kids “Nope – I am very happy and things are going great!”

What I found out the day of my appointment was that I did in fact have postpartum depression symptoms. What came to a surprise to me is, as the doctor explained, many people believe postpartum shows up within the first several weeks after having a baby. It does happen that way, but postpartum depression usually presents itself anywhere between when the baby is actually 4 months old to a year. Also, postpartum depression doesn’t always mean that you can’t stop crying and that you hate your baby. Anxiety, nervousness and overall edginess are other very common postpartum depression symptoms.

I am now being treated with Zoloft, an anti-depressant medication. As a normally pretty happy and well balanced person, I can tell you that I never thought that I would need to be on an anti-depressant medication. I can also tell you that starting Zoloft one month ago was one of the best decisions I have made in a very long time. The patient, loving mom I once was is back. I am no longer running away when one of them cries, instead running to them with open arms. Our home is peaceful once again… the screaming and yelling has totally ceased. My to-do list is getting accomplished and I am not nearly as overwhelmed by the little tasks of my day as I was.

I am not writing this post today for sympathy. I am writing it because I know that there are others out there most likely feeling the same way. I want you to know that you aren’t crazy… just because you don’t feel depressed and aren’t crying all the time does not mean that you are okay. Postpartum depression rears its ugly head in many forms. Please, if you feel even the slightest bit off kilter, talk to your doctor. Getting help can make your life manageable again. It did mine.

Now, when life is a little less serious and you just need a chocolate pick me up, try this Deep Dark Chocolate Cake found over at Inn Cuisine. This delicious cake can’t fix postpartum depression, but it certainly can help to perk up your mood!

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake (from Inn Cuisine and Hershey’s)

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9-inch cake rounds or one 13×9×2-inch baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the first six ingredients (sugar through salt); add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin); pour into prepared pan(s) and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes our clean. If baking cake rounds, allow rounds to cool slightly before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. If using rectangular baking pan, allow cake to cool completely before icing.

One Bowl Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 & 2/3 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a medium-sized bowl, mix and beat all ingredients using an electric mixer. If icing seems too thick, add a touch more heavy cream until desired consistency is reached, taking care not to over-thin the icing. I have found these amounts enough to frost the top and center layer of two, stacked, 9-inch cake rounds (but not the sides) or the top of a 13×9×2-inch rectangular cake. If you are looking to frost the sides of the stacked cake rounds as well, consider doubling these amounts.

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Comments

  1. Oh Kristen. I am so sorry to hear about this! I figured something was up since you’ve been so absent lately. I hope you are doing great now… depression is not something to take lightly, it can cost marriages, friendships… you did the right thing. Thank God that you had the voice to talk to your friend about this..
    .-= DeltaWhiskey´s last blog ..Leaving On a Jet Plane =-.

  2. I went through this after my second son was born. I decided against drugs and went down the path of time out for me, exercise and some counselling. Really pleased you have faced it and are doing well Kristen. And chocolate is good for this too :)
    .-= barbara´s last blog ..A Pop Up Bar In Sydney =-.

  3. I am so glad that you are bringing some awareness to this through your blog. I had ppd after Katie was born, and like you, it was when she was about 3.5 months old. Thank you for bringing some light *and chocolate* to this mama issue that so many of us face!

  4. I’m so sorry you have to go through this, and hope the Zoloft works for you. Be careful of the side effects & withdrawal, though, it can be rough. Email me if you want to talk about it.
    .-= Vicki´s last blog ..Google Tag =-.

  5. I went through the same thing after the birth of our second daughter. I got through it and life seemed like a brand new thing to me. Glad you are doing better & I hope maybe some women might see themselves in your description and get the help they need too. Blessings!
    .-= Donalyn´s last blog ..Braised Pork Steaks with Sauerkraut =-.

  6. Glad to hear you are getting help with it. I took zoloft once for depression, and it was a miracle drug for me. Haven’t taken it for years now, but I’m glad it was there when I needed it.
    xoxo
    .-= Kalyn´s last blog ..Recipe for Kubideh: Grilled Ground Meat on Skewers with Middle Eastern Spices =-.

  7. Kristen, you rock for being so open, honest and sharing your experience of a topic that should be out there more than it is, because I had the same notions of P-PD that you did, too, before your appt. I’m so thankful you had a friend to talk to and who recognized the symptoms as what you had been going through. Excellent post, and I’m so happy you are feeling better!
    xx

    P.S. Dang, I was just hankering some chocolate and you had to post this super yummy-looking recipe! That would be so good with some almond milk (my fave), drool…. :)

  8. Excellent post. My sister wrote a post on depression a little while ago. I think you will like it.

    http://www.remarksfromsparks.com/2008/07/anti-discussion.html
    .-= rookie cookie´s last blog ..Baked Apples with Granola Pecan Streusel =-.

  9. So glad that you had the wisdom and courage to reach out, first to a friend, and then to a doctor. It’s sometimes hard to acknowledge when we, as moms, need some help (whatever form that may take). But! I think in reality you are setting a wonderful example for the rest of us who read your blog and share your journey and for your own children. It’s a great lesson to give them: that taking care of yourself is always important, always worthy of attention.

    Best,
    Casey
    .-= TasteStopping´s last blog ..DR: Splitsville 29 =-.

  10. That is exactly how I felt after Madeline was born, and Logan too but I didn’t realize it then and unfortunately was never treated. With Madeline it took me until about 5 months and a really good friend to listen and tell me what I needed to do before I saw the doctor. It was the best thing I’ve done. Hearing my husband tell me how I’m so much more patient now, especially considering he’s normally not the type to just offer up that kind of info without being asked, is the best feedback I could get.

    xoxoxox

    I miss you!
    .-= Katie @ goodLife {eats}´s last blog ..Garden Lessons =-.

  11. Good for you for having the commonsense to seek help and take the medication! I suffered in silence for almost 5 years with Post Natal Depression and was to proud & embarrassed to ask for help. I admire and applaud your honestly Kristen!
    .-= MsGourmet´s last blog ..The road ahead is paved with good Martinis =-.

  12. Wow, great post. I never knew what you described was considered PPD. Hm. Very interesting. I will definitely be thinking about these things.
    Thank you!
    .-= Jaime´s last blog ..pumpkin torte with dreamy brown sugar frosting =-.

  13. I never knew that you could have post partum later as you described! It’s definitely going to be a eye opener to a lot of people, this post! Glad to hear that you found help and are feeling better now as it must be a terrible feeling.
    .-= Simone (junglefrog)´s last blog ..Beef stew with pumpkin and beer =-.

  14. Big hugs to you! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with PPD. I think many women don’t quite understand it and suffer in silence instead of getting help. The chocolate cake looks delicious too!
    .-= Cara´s last blog ..Apple Picks =-.

  15. I’m so glad that you posted this! I work as a therapist with many women who experience PPD, and I know how difficult it is to share your story! I’m so happy that you have found medication helpful. It’s wonderful for you and your children that you were able to get help.

  16. I’m so glad that you sought help and are getting it. I think there is such a stigma placed on depression and anxiety when so many of us have it.

    Don’t forget we’re here for you!
    .-= maris´s last blog ..It’s The Great Pumpkin: Pumpkin Bread Recipe =-.

  17. I’m so glad you figured out what was wrong and that you’re feeling much better. I’m pretty sure I went through that with my little one, but I never did anything about it… just trudged through with lots of tears and impatience. It’s okay for women to admit that they’re really experiencing these things. You did the right thing here- raising awareness by sharing your own experience.
    .-= Lori @ RecipeGirl´s last blog ..A Brand New Food Blog to Share! =-.

  18. What an incredibly honest and thoughtful post. I know several women who are dealing with this and who benefited greatly from getting it out in the open. I find it remarkably sad that mothers are made to feel bad about experiencing a full range of emotions. Way to go speaking out about this issue and getting the support you need.

    And by the way, that cake looks pretty darn good too.
    .-= El´s last blog ..Secret Obsession: Chocolate Chip Buttered Pecan Cookies & Milk =-.

  19. How courageous of you to seek help, and even more courageous of you to speak so openly and honestly about it. I am sure there are so many who will be helped by this; more than you’ll ever know.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Turkey Bean Pumpkin Chili =-.

  20. I am so glad you are feeling better and really happy that you wrote about all this on your blog. I always had the typical views of ppd and would have had the same feelings as you about it. Now that you have educated me, I will know should I ever be so fortunate to have children and experience something similar (fortunate on the kids part, not the ppd – ha). xxo.

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  1. [...] Dealing with Postpartum Depression | Dine and Dish  Mail this post [...]

  2. [...] Kristen at Dine & Dish serves up her experience along with a recipe for Chocolate cake. Cuz yann… [...]

  3. [...] Dealing with Postpartum Depression | Dine and Dish – My surprise struggle with postpartum depression, presenting itself in a way I didn’t expect….and a delicious double layer chocolate cake recipe. [...]

  4. [...] been dealing with Postpartum Depression. You might remember, back in October, I was diagnosed with having symptoms of Postpartum Depression [...]

  5. [...] I blog because of the personal connection. I blog because of you…those reading my posts and supporting me along the way. I blog because I know that deep down, many of us have similar stories and through [...]

  6. [...] balls be the new “it” thing for me? Probably not. My preference for cake is still in layer cake or cupcake form, however, you can bet the next party I’m asked to bring a dessert to, cake [...]

  7. [...] suffered postpartum depression before, but in the months following my brothers passing I experienced a range of emotions I had never felt [...]

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