Having a baby is idealized in our society. Consequently, the challenges a woman and her partner face, both physical and emotional are kept quiet and often come as a shock. Maternal ambivalence—the mixed feelings we have about our mothering role and sometimes our children is hardly mentioned.
The period around pregnancy and the postpartum period is a vulnerable one, with at least one in seven women experiencing a mood or anxiety disorder during this time. Many postpartum woman experience worry, depression, sleep disorders, sadness, irritability and other symptoms that interfere with their well-being and enjoyment of life. Not only are these symptoms unpleasant in and of themselves, they are confusing and distressing. Compounding the distress are feelings of shame and embarrassment that cause many woman to suffer in silence. They say to themselves. “Isn’t this supposed to be a happy time? What’s wrong with me?” “Does this mean I’m a bad mother?” Many women soldier on, but unfortunately, these symptoms, if left untreated can put a woman, her infant and her family at risk. There is no need to suffer in silence. Help is available.
What Are the Symptoms of PPD?
There are many “faces” to postpartum depression. Following is a list of the way PPD might be showing up in you: may include:
- a loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex
- changes in appetite--eating much more, or much less, than you usually do
- anxiety—a lot of the time—or panic attacks
- racing, scary thoughts, especially about the baby
- feeling guilty or worthless typically around mothering—blaming yourself
- mood swings--excessive irritability, anger, or agitation—sometimes directed at baby but often at spouses
- sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time
- deep worry that you are not a good mother
- fear of being left alone with the baby
- feeling miserable
- inability to sleep, sleeping too much, difficulty, falling or staying asleep
- disinterest in the baby, family, and friends
- difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- * thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
If you’ve had these symptoms for 2 weeks or longer, it would be a good idea to seek consultation. Postpartum depression is highly treatable, but can become chronic if it does not remit on it’s own.
What causes postpartum depression?
Neurochemical changes during pregnancy and postpartum to ensure proximity of mother’s and infants.
“vestigial lactational aggression” an endorinological by-product or left over from an intense intolerance of others that was once adaptive among mothers who might need to protect infants from either pred
The central focus of wellness involves learning how to take care of yourself in the context of learning how to care for and bond with your baby as well as attend to the central relationship in your life. This is a tall order and takes time—often more time than any of us would like. Together we will discover the right combination of self-care ingredients for you.
- Therapy – individual and group**
- Support groups* **
- Medication* **
- Bright light therapies/Sun Exposure* **
- Essential fatty acids (Omega-3s) * **
- Exercise (increasing heart rate)* **
- Yoga* **
- Mindfulness meditation
- 6-8 hours of sleep a night* **
- Balanced diet (ideally rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables)* **