Sleepless Days by Susan Kushner Resnick
One Woman's Journey Through Postpartum Depression

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An unforgettable memoir of triumph and hope

She couldn't sleep. She couldn't stop trembling with anxiety. And she worried that she would throw her precious baby boy down the stairs if she continued to lose her mind. That is how Postpartum Depression tore apart Susan Kushner Resnick's world. And she had no idea that thousands of other new mothers were experiencing the same agony.

While she struggled to take care of her two children, Resnick searched for a book by a survivor of Postpartum Depression, something that would show her in black and white that she could survive the worst period in her life. But no such book existed. So, when she finally conquered her demons, she wrote one.

Sleepless Days is a brilliantly written, haunting memoir of her encounter with Postpartum Depression. It is a story for the other 400,000 women who are afflicted with PPD each year and are desperate for reassurances that others have felt their despair and recovered. It is a compelling narrative for anyone who has ever watched helplessly as a vulnerable woman fought against the weight of this mysterious disease.

Resnick's symptoms begin with the onslaught of insomnia, anxiety attacks, and a general apathy toward her newborn son. She loses weight and gains moodswings. She suffers from an ongoing tension that no glass of wine can cut through. She listlessly stumbles through each day like a zombie. And because an entire summer feels like one long night, she comes to think of her existence as a series of sleepless days with the same fogginess and hypersensitivity, the same sense of disorientation and loneliness one feels when gazing out a window at streetlights and moonshine in the middle of the night.

Feelings of isolation sear through every page of Sleepless Days. Resnick recounts the hours spent watching the television screen-wishing the people from the TV could smash through the screen and come sit with her. And she compares her battle with insomnia to a menacing soldier standing guard over her, threatening her with images of what could happen to her child if she dares to allow herself a peaceful night's rest. Her journey finally takes us into her world of therapy, which leads to her heartbreaking decision to forgo breastfeeding in order to begin taking antidepressants.

Through Resnick's devastating account shines a ray of hope. She develops an extraordinary friendship with a Holocaust survivor. She learns to lean on friends. And she accepts the lack of control that defines her life. Her own rebirth is juxtaposed with the arrival of Autumn. She poignantly writes, The trees on this street are starting to look as if a child dipped her fingers into red and yellow fingerpaints and smeared them over the green parts. They are dying a beautiful death. And she is coming back to life.

About Susan Kushner Resnick

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Susan Kushner Resnick worked as a reporter for various weekly and daily newspapers before becoming a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the "Hers" column of The New York Times Magazine, Natural Health, and other periodicals. She is currently working toward an MFA degree in creative nonfiction. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and two children.
Published March 2, 2000 by Golden Books Adult Publishing. 208 pages
Genres: Health, Fitness & Dieting, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

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Resnick, a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, was plunged into an abyss of insomnia, anxiety, depression and suicidal fantasies several months after her son was born, in stark contrast to the happiness and competence she felt after the birth of her daughter three year...

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