‘Postpartum depression almost took the life of my newborn son’: One woman’s story

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HARTFORD -- "I wanted to suffocate or drown him. It's hard to give voice to the thoughts, because they are so unspeakable."

Like many other new mothers, Heather Quinn  struggled with postpartum depression after her second son, Sean, was born. As many as 1 in 7 women in the United States, or nearly 15% of new moms, is believed to suffer from some form of mental illness during or after pregnancy, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Earlier this week, "Nashville" actress Hayden Panettiere checked into a treatment facility to address her struggle with postpartum depression.

Quinn, who told her story to FOX CT's Erika Arias Thursday, had no problems after the birth of her first son, Jack. However, immediately after her second son Sean's c-section, she felt a disconnection and an emptiness.

"I laid on the table, sliced open and empty," she said.

She didn't want to breast feed the baby and frequently went into what she describes as a very dark place.

"Postpartum depression almost took the life of my newborn son, my life, and my marriage," said Quinn.

She said she was stuck in that dark place "between impulse and action" for a year before she sought help. Quinn said she made a casual comment to a coworker at Hartford Hospital and by the end of the day she was seeing a psychiatrist. She was prescribed anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and started treatment immediately.

Today, Quinn speaks publicly about her struggle. "I'm here today to tell women that there is light at the end of the tunnel. For so many women, this is a deep dark secret. For me it is a survival story."

Hartford Hospital suggests if new moms are having great fears about their baby’s health or their own; suffering from headaches, chest pains, panic attacks, inability to sleep and loss of appetite (or overeating), or feeling irritable, anxious, not wanting to be with people or fear of being alone they should call their health care provider.

Medication and counseling can help mothers suffering from PPD.

For more information on symptoms and treatments, go here.