Postpartum Depression

Chicago Tribune, January 31, 2013

Dear Editor,

Thank you for the article “Man defends wife who stabbed baby; Postpartum depression becoming more widely understood…” I am 89-and-a-half years old and want to share my experience, which I’ve never talked about before.

Our first baby was stillborn; a year-and-a-half later, I bore a beautiful baby girl. When I got home from the hospital, my husband, who was a minister, explained that he had to supervise a summer work camp for our denomination’s youth. This meant that I would be home alone for that first week.

I had never handled a baby before because my parents would not let me take baby-sitting jobs. After five days the baby was still crying so much, I was exhausted. That day, I decided that I would turn on the gas at night without lighting it so that the baby and I could sleep. Fortunately, the parsonage we lived in was large, and a small apartment was rented to another couple, who invited me upstairs for dinner. We finally managed to get the baby to sleep, and their invitation obviously saved my life.

I never told my husband about it even when another minister friend tragically lost his wife. A week after their baby was born, the wife jumped off the roof of the hospital and died.

I share my story now in the hopes it might help someone else.

Bernice Klosterman, Evanston, Illinois

That’s a True Story if I ever heard one.