A relative has confirmed to the Free Press that Lisa Gibson, 32, has been treated for postpartum depression.
Police are still searching for Gibson, who went missing on Wednesday morning after her baby and her toddler were found in the family’s Westwood bathtub and later confirmed dead.
The Free Press received the following letter from a Winnipeg mother who does not know Lisa Gibson but has also suffered from postpartum depression. The Free Press has agreed to withhold the identity of the letter writer.
As I have been reading the stories over past two days about Lisa Gibson and the death of her two precious children, I feel such sorrow and grief over what has transpired.
For me, postpartum depression was a never-ending pit of despair, one I thought I couldn’t ever bring myself out of.
My daughter was born in July of 2006, and by September I felt like I was living in a prison that no one could see but me. Everyone around me was thrilled about the baby and kept saying "you are so lucky, you must be so excited, isn’t it wonderful...." But I dreaded every moment that I had to spend alone with my baby.
I couldn’t sleep, no matter what. And many doctors will say that lack of sleep is one of the first signs of depression. If I tried to sleep, my mind would keep saying "the baby will wake up, you’re going to have to wake up, you need to take care of her first." I would beg my husband not to go to work, but I couldn’t even explain why I didn’t want to be with the baby.
I didn’t want to take care of her, I just wanted to lay down and die. The very idea of having to move through my days made me physically ill. I thought it would be better if I was dead. I never wanted to hurt her, but I thought everyone would be better off if I died. No matter how hard I tried, I could not express the joy and happiness everyone so desperately thought I should be feeling. The guilt of not being in love with your child is overwhelming.
When I did get to go out on my own, I would drive to parking lots or empty streets and cry in my car - I literally could not see a way out. The thought that I would have to take care of this baby every day, not matter what, scared me more than death.
I finally went to my doctor for help. At that point I hadn’t slept in almost a month and there are weeks in the fall of 2006 that I don’t remember. I was prescribed medication, however, it takes six weeks for it to take effect.
One Saturday morning, my husband was supposed to leave to play baseball, and I would NOT get out of my bed. I would not feed the baby - I wouldn’t even speak to him. I lay in the bed crying and moaning, completely out of my mind. That was my breaking point. I was only a few days into the anti-depressants, but my mind and my body couldn’t function anymore.
Fortunately, I was rescued - by my husband and my family. The baby and I went to live with my in-laws for over a month, round-the-clock care until the medication started working and I felt human again. I also joined a support group through the Women’s Health Clinic. However, it took close to six months before I could honestly say I was "better."
Postpartum depression is not simply crying over little things, or being a little sad. It consumes your whole life and can cause tragic consequences.
I am lucky, but not everyone is.
The home at 3 Coleridge Park Drive remains taped off today and police have also blocked off a trail through Benjaminson Park that winds its way to the Assiniboine River.
Police say the searchers are focusing on Westwood and sections of the Assiniboine River, although the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service confirmed it does not have boats in the water this morning.