Working Woman: Local woman speaks out on postpartum depression
WASHINGTON (ABC7) —
Adrienne Griffen had a successful career in military intelligence before starting a family. She graduated from the Naval Academy, worked on Intel at the Pentagon and at the White House.
"That involved briefing the National Security Advisor and the President on occasion about things that were going on in the world. So it was very, very exciting," Griffen said.
She had her first baby 16 years ago, and she says it was a breeze. But two years later she had her son, and it was very different. Griffen says it was a scary delivery and an emergency C-section. She was traumatized from the beginning.
"I knew right away something was wrong when they held him up, I was like whose baby is that?" Griffen said.
And when she got home, it just got worse. The baby wouldn't take a bottle, and she was breastfeeding every two to three hours.
"I was just so exhausted and overwhelmed. I have a toddler, and a newborn, I wasn't getting enough sleep. I was just really falling apart," Griffen recalled.
Griffen says postpartum depression is more often being anxious, irritable, and even angry. Often her cries for help fell on deaf ears.
"There was no awareness, there was no compassion, there no anything. So that's when I decided I needed to do something about it," Griffen said.
After retiring from the military, Griffen started a non-profit called Postpartum Support Virginia.
Services include support groups, outreach and education that are available at the hospital or doctor's office.
Griffen estimates they have helped some 250 women just this year. And all the time, she hears stories that reassure her she's doing the right thing. One mother, in particular, Griffen says, she was able to help in the support group.
"She said I spent five years and $50 thousand to have these twins and I don't want them, can I leave them here," Griffen said the new mother asked her.