Edmonton

Climb Out of The Darkness lifts stigma of postpartum depression

Climb Out of The Darkness, an annual fundraiser in Emily Murphy Park, was held this weekend to raise awareness of postpartum depression.

'We've lost a lot of moms to this disease,' says survivor of postpartum depression

Kayla and Jake Kreuger said postpartum depression was a reality for them after the birth of both of their daughters. (CBC)

The birth of their children should have been one of the happiest times in their lives, but for the Kreuger family, something wasn't quite right.

Jake Kreuger could see his wife, Kayla, was struggling. She was lethargic, she wasn't eating, and some days, she wouldn't even get out of bed.

"I felt helpless," he said. "The problem is I had to go to work every day and I had to stay home. I had to trust when I left, that she wasn't just going to stay in bed.

"If you've ever had to leave your home to go to work and wonder if your family is going to be alive when you get home, it really puts things into perspective really quickly."

If you've ever had to leave your home to go to work and wonder if your family is going to be alive when you get home, it really puts things into perspective really quickly.- Jake Kreuger

Kayla was suffering from postpartum depression, an illness that can affect one in seven mothers at any time during pregnancy until a year after the birth of a child. Only around one in five of these mothers receive help for the illness. 

Kayla suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of both of her daughters. She decided to seek help when she realized the symptoms of her depression, which culminated in self-harm, were affecting her children. 

'We've lost a lot of moms to this disease'

She found help through Postpartum Progress, an organization that offers information and support for mothers struggling with postpartum depression.

This weekend, Kayla helped host Climb Out of The Darkness, an annual fundraiser in Emily Murphy Park to raise awareness of postpartum depression.

The more we fight, the more moms are not alone, and the more we can get them the right help.- Kayla Kreuger

Dozens of mothers and children picnicked and did a group walk through the park for the cause. 

"We've lost a lot of moms to this disease," Kayla said.

"The more we fight, the more moms are not alone, and the more we can get them the right help. I ... hope that moms can know that they're not alone, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it just may take a little bit to get there."

As the family played and read books in their home this Father's Day weekend, Jake said it's also important for spouses of those suffering from postpartum depression to understand the illness.

"I knew that it existed, but I had no idea of the amount, the depths of what it actually does and what it can do. I had no idea… of the reach the disease has," he said.

"I'm so proud of her."

(CBC)

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