Tuesday, May 28, 2024

How To Help Postpartum Depression

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It’s not that you’re not allowed to help your wife feel better. It’s that you can’t make her feel like the only way she’s doing a good job is if she immediately feels better.

Along the same lines as the first one, you really, really have to get rid of the fixer mindset.

Know this: Nothing you say or do will instantly make her feel better.


Therefore, your goal is not to make her feel better in the moment… Your goal is to help her find the tools she needs to start working out of the funk. Theres no shortcut. Dont try to make her feel better. It will just come off as presumptuous and controlling.

Here are some of my most common mistakes that I learned to avoid:

You can’t make her feel like the only way she’s doing a good enough job is if the depression goes away.

  • I tried to correct her feelings or tell her why she should feel better.
  • I tried to tell her its not that bad.
  • I tried to tell her that she could feel better if she wanted to, that she was in control of her feelings. This is not true when you’re suffering from a mental illness!

Here Are Four Ways To Help Cope:

  • Therapy
  • Therapists and psychiatrists are still providing treatment, and many are now using telemedicine to meet with their patients. This allows you to receive care from the safety and comfort of your home.

    Talking through difficult issues and feelings arent always easy to do with family or friends, says Lauren Kaczka-Weiss, D.O., a psychiatrist at Hackensack Meridian Health. Therapy provides you with an outlet to discuss things you might not usually talk about, work through problems, learn techniques to help cope, and find a way to start feeling like yourself again.

  • Digitally connect
  • There are plenty of tools available for you to video chat with family and friends. Phone calls are good as well, but video chats will help strengthen your connection with others from the safety of your home using your phone, tablet or computer.

    Online groups help you connect with other mothers going through the same issues, especially during this time of social distancing. Ask friends or your doctor about what group they recommend.

  • Medication
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Youve already made changes during your pregnancy, but there are other important lifestyle changes you should consider as a mom. These tips may be especially helpful if you are suffering from depression or anxiety.

    Friends and family should still try to support a new mom as much as possible. A great way for them to help is by having groceries delivered or dropping off diapers or a few meals.

    Does A Mothers Postpartum Depression Affect Her Newborn

    The answer to this is yes. A mother who is battling postpartum depression is more likely to feel anger and resentment towards her baby.

    Although your baby cannot talk or express themselves, they feel that connection right away and will also feel that resentment.

    Because of this reason alone, I highly suggest you go to your doctor and make sure you are treated right away to give you and baby both a chance to thrive.

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    Try Psychotherapy And Medication

    If you have tried self-help, made lifestyle changes, and sought support but have experienced no improvement, your doctor may suggest that you try medication, psychotherapy, or both.

    • Psychotherapy, also called mental health counseling or talk therapy, can help you to discuss your concerns and feelings, set goals that are manageable, and learn to respond to situations positively.
    • Antidepressants may be recommended if your depression is severe or when other treatments have not improved your symptoms. Your doctor will take that into account if you are breast-feeding when prescribing your medication.

    Research may be able to explain why a particular antidepressant is effective in treating postpartum depression. Researchers found that Citalopram from a class of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and sold under the brand name Celexa may restore connections between cells in the regions of the brain that are adversely affected by stress during pregnancy.

    Other research indicates that if you are unable to cope with going to face-to-face talking therapy sessions, then Internet-based cognitive behavior therapy could your symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

    Remember: experiencing postpartum is nobodys fault. It is a medical condition that requires treatment.

    Clean The House But Dont Make A Big Deal About It

    Postpartum Depression Help Torrance California

    Do it while shes napping so she cant tell you to stop. Cleaning will be the last thing on her mind but looking around at piles of laundry, overflowing garbage bins or dishes in the sink will cause her unnecessary stress and anxiety. Its one thing to tell her not to worry about the cleaning, its another to make the clutter magically disappear. A clutter free environment will help her mind to feel clutter-free as well.

    If you notice that she starts to become obsessed about cleaning, she could be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Check out Jordans story to see if it relates.

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    Why Is She Experiencing Postpartum Depression

    Dr. Meltzer-Brody is part of an international team of researchers studying whether there is a genetic basis to perinatal mood disorders. That is, are women with postpartum depression made more vulnerable because of their genes?

    Dr. Meltzer-Brodys research group, Postpartum Depression: Action Towards Causes and Treatment, launched a mobile app, PPD ACT, to screen women for postpartum depression through a series of questions.

    Some women who take the screening will be asked to give a saliva sample through a kit theyll receive and return by mail. Dr. Meltzer-Brodys team will scan the DNA for each woman who submits a sample. If they do this for tens of thousands of women, they can identify if there are any genetic differences in women who experienced postpartum depression.

    The idea is that a better understanding of hereditary or environmental causes of PPD will lead to better treatments and less suffering.

    Take Care Of Yourself And Prevent Postpartum Depression

    The first year after the birth of your baby can be stressful, exhausting and scary. But it is also an amazing experience caring for your new baby and watching him grow.

    Whether you are a first-time mom or have a large family already, postpartum depression can affect any woman after giving birth. Follow these tips to take care of yourself and help to prevent postpartum depression.

    This post is from Catherine at Laid Back Mama

    Catherine is a blogger, writer and registered mental health nurse. She is now a stay-at-home mum living in Kent, England with her 18month-old son. Her blog explores parenting, lifestyle, and wellbeing. She is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of those she works with. Catherine loves to share her experiences and advice on how to keep positive and relaxed about parenting, reduce stress and enjoy the journey into motherhood.

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    Can Ppd Be Prevented

    The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that certain kinds of counseling can prevent perinatal depression for women at increased risk of depression. Counseling is when you talk about your feelings and concerns with a counselor or therapist. This person helps you understand your feelings, solve problems and cope with things in your everyday life.

    The Task Force recommends counseling for women with one or more of these risk factors:

    • Current signs and symptoms of depression
    • A history of depression or other mental health condition
    • Being pregnant as a teenager or being a single mom
    • Having stressful life circumstances, like low income
    • Being a victim of IPV

    The Task Force recommends two kinds of counseling to prevent PPD for women at increased risk:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy . CBT helps you manage negative thoughts by changing the way you think and act. Common kinds of CBT include working with a therapist to help you set goals and identify negative thoughts and behaviors so you can begin to think and act differently.
  • Interpersonal therapy . IPT helps you identify and deal with conditions and problems in your personal life, like relationships with your partner and family, situations at work or in your neighborhood, having a medical condition or losing a loved one. Common kinds of IPT include working with a therapist in role-playing, answering open-ended questions and looking closely at how you make decisions and communicate with others.
  • Not Cut Out For Motherhood

    How do I help a friend through Postpartum depression?

    My wifes main concern was the suicidal thoughts she started having after her OB-GYN prescribed Zoloft.

    About a week after starting Zoloft and telling her OB that she was having intrusive thoughts, the doctor doubled her dose.

    Alexis started researching alternate treatment options and made an appointment to review them with her OB. She also wanted to level with the doctor Alexis wanted to say she felt abandoned in the delivery room, and tell her about the PTSD diagnosis.

    It didnt go well. The doctor was so offended that she told Alexis to go on birth control and not have any more babies. She told Alexis, Youre not cut out for motherhood.

    When Alexis came out of the exam room, it was as if all the anxiety and stress was gone. I asked Alexis why she was so relaxed. She said she knew what she had to do.

    Alexis told me she needed to take everything one day at a time. That night I took a picture of her looking at our perfect baby girl. They were looking into each others eyes. Alexis was smiling with her perfect smile.

    I sent the picture to her parents to let them know that I thought she had turned a corner. I thought she was going to be alright.

    Adriana cried and cried that night. I sat in the nursery rocking her and singing Coldplay songs to her. Alexis came into the nursery at about 3:30 in the morning and said Pop, youre so good with her. I dont know how you do it. Youre going to be the best dad. When she falls asleep will you please come snuggle with me?

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    Ways To Help A Mom With Postpartum Depression

    Do you know a mother who recently had a baby? Youre probably over-the-moon excited for her and cant wait to ogle over pictures or snuggle her little cherub. But what happens when you call her on the phone or go to her house to visit and she confides in you she has postpartum depression ? Maybe she doesnt share, but based on her behavior you have come to the conclusion yourself. Whatever the situation may be, your friend or family member needs your help now more than ever.

    You may be wondering whats going through her mind and how you can help. Below is an open letter from mothers with postpartum depression to anyone with a helpful heart.

    Listen To Her And Let Her Know You Arent Judging

    Allowing new moms to have the space to share their feelings and thoughts without judgement is one of the best ways to support them.

    Intrusive thoughts are common in postpartum. Most people dont feel comfortable sharing these disturbing thoughts even in therapy. However, speaking them out loud often gives the scary thoughts less power. A great book to refer her to is Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts by Karen Kleiman.

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    Support For Friends Of The Affected

    If postpartum depression has affected your friend, you may be concerned about how to best support her. It may feel like she is ignoring your attempts to help or that shes withdrawing from your friendship. It is important to note that these are common symptoms of postpartum depression and you should treat your friend delicately during the recovery process.

    Here are some tips on how to support and help your friend as she recovers from postpartum depression.

    Causes & Risk Factors

    10 Things To Say To A Mom With Postpartum Depression

    There is no single cause of depression . Physical, hormonal, social, psychological and emotional factors may all play a part in triggering the illness. This is known as the biopsychosocial model of depression, and is accepted by most researchers and clinicians. The factor or factors that trigger PPD vary from one woman to another. For example, sleep deprivation resulting from having a new baby can make a woman vulnerable to other factors that trigger depression.

    Risk factors:

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    Navigating Postpartum Depression At Work

    More people are starting to become aware of the basics of postpartum depression and how common it is in the weeks and months after giving birth. But most people dont know that PPD can strike up to a year after giving birth long after most maternity leaves are finished and that the stress of returning to work is a risk factor for exacerbating PPD. Failing to understand PPD before and during return to work can be dangerous to your wellbeing and your career. This article will help you understand some small steps you can take to lower your risk and return to work with confidence. These include: calling on your village for support, embracing who you are, avoiding social media, reclaiming sleep, educating yourself, returning to work slowly, and recognizing when your return to work plan needs a change. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the spectrum of PPD, but making these investments in your own postpartum physical and mental health are investments in your career and well-being.

    While AJ was well and thriving, Sarahs time on leave was full of complicated transitions. She and her husband decided to move from San Antonio to Austin for his new job, and in the new city she felt lost, with little comfort or connection. Even so, she was sure that her return to work after a three-month parental leave would bring her back to feeling like herself, flourishing and in control.

    How To Help Your Wife Or Partner

    Encourage her to talk about her feelings. Listen to her without judging or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix things, simply be there for her to lean on.

    Offer help around the house. Chip in with the housework and childcare responsibilities. Dont wait for her to ask!

    Make sure she takes time for herself. Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take breaks, hire a babysitter, or schedule some date nights.

    Be patient if shes not ready for sex. Depression affects sex drive, so it may be a while before shes in the mood. Offer her physical affection, but dont push if shes not up for sex.

    Go for a walk with her. Getting exercise can make a big dent in depression, but its hard to get motivated when youre feeling low. Help her by making walks a daily ritual for the two of you.

    Anna Glezer, M.D. is a Harvard-trained clinician with joint appointments in the reproductive psychiatry and OB/GYN departments at UCSF Medical Center. She is the founder of Mind Body Pregnancy.

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    Postpartum Depression Is More Than Baby Blues

    You may have heard of the baby blues, when women experience unpleasant emotional changes in the aftermath of delivery. Symptoms can include mood instability, feeling depressed, weepiness, sadness, irritability, anxiety, lack of concentration and feelings of dependency.

    These symptoms happen to a lot of new momsfrom 50 to 85 percentbut usually subside within a few weeks after delivery.

    In contrast, the more severe postpartum depression occurs in about 10 percent of women who have given birth. PPD typically emerges over the first two to three months after childbirth but may occur at any point after delivery. Unlike the baby blues, symptoms of PPD last longer, typically for more than two weeks.

    Pick Your Battles & Respect Her Limits

    Mothers dealing with postpartum depression on long waitlist for help

    If there is something that you disagree about, let her have the final call, especially if it affects her more than you.

    Ok, I have to give some background on. Here are two examples where I did NOT follow this advice:

    I Pushed Too Hard For Breastfeeding

    Both times that Kalee suffered from postpartum depression, there were major instances when I held on to what I wanted for too long.

    If I could go back in time, I would say, “Kalee, I trust that you know your limits better than I do.”

    After Eden was born, it was the breastfeeding. I really wanted to wait at least 6 months before even starting to introduce formula. This is something Id decided before Eden was born, and I stuck to it even though Eden had a tongue-tie and even though our pediatrician wanted us to start using formula at the 3-month mark.

    Kalee was pumping around the clock and Eden still wasnt getting enough, but I held onto what I thought was the right decision.

    I refused to see that the added pressure or breastfeeding was killing my wife, and that despite what the breastfeed-only camp would have me believe, formula wouldnt ruin my daughters development. In fact, it helped it because she was finally getting enough to eat.

    If I could go back in time, the moment that Kalee told me that she wanted to start using formula, I would do one thing I would say, Okay, I trust your judgment.

    I Pushed Too Hard For Foster Care

    With our foster son, we were in a similar-but-different situation.

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    Postpartum Depression Signs And Symptoms

    Symptoms of postpartum depression can be hard to detect. Many women have these symptoms following childbirth:

    • Trouble sleeping
    • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness
    • Thoughts of death or suicide
    • Thoughts of hurting someone else
    • Trouble concentrating or making decisions

    Symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder that are new rarely occur in the postpartum period . The obsessions are usually related to concerns about the baby’s health or irrational fears of harming the baby. Panic disorder may also happen. You can have these conditions and depression at the same time.

    Untreated postpartum depression can be dangerous for new moms and their children. A new mom should seek professional help when:

    • Symptoms persist beyond 2 weeks
    • They canât function normally
    • They can’t cope with everyday situations
    • They have thoughts of harming themselves or their baby
    • They’re feeling extremely anxious, scared, and panicked most of the day

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