The Smiling Mask

3 March 2010

The Smiling Mask: Truths About Postpartum Depression and Parenthood
by Carla O’Reilly, Elita Paterson, Tania Bird, and Peggy Collins
Published by Purpose to Prosperity Publishing
Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall
Price: $ 24.95 CDN ISBN: 978-0-9781341-3-6

The Smiling Mask uses the stories of three women who suffered from postpartum depression (PPD) to create awareness of the issues surrounding this disease.

The book begins with forwards written by mental health experts such as Sally Elliott, perinatal nurse/counselor at Regina YMCA. In the preface, clinical psychologist Marlene Harper identifies some of the controversies and complexities surrounding PPD.

Harper identifies degrees of severity in psychiatric symptoms. Postpartum blues, for example, are mild, including mood swings and confusion lasting up to about 10 days. Postpartum depression is similar to clinical depression and may last up to a year. Postpartum psychosis is a severe, rapid mental illness, usually requiring hospitalization. Harper also discusses potential treatment, including medications and counseling.

In the next three chapters, authors Carla O’Reilly, Elita Paterson, and Tania Bird give an earnest and heart-felt account of their journey through PPD. They discuss the “smiling mask” they used to try and hide their illness, and the difficulty of setting it aside to discuss their real feelings and experiences. These women state their nightmares and fears honestly, and talk about the strong support they received from family and friends.

Following that, the book includes a chapter detailing the points-of-view of their husbands, as retold by Peggy Collins. The book concludes with an interview, a chapter of strategies to help cope with the disease, and a section of notes and references.

One dollar from the cost of the book is donated to four charities chosen by the authors, including women’s shelters, Mental Health, the YMCA/YWCA, and NICU/Mother and Baby Units.


No Comments

Comments are closed.