For postpartum women with depression and anxiety, the list of help-seeking barriers is extensive. Read More
I loved this article, and am please that Psychology Today is increasing awareness of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders and encouraging moms to get help.
I would like to request, on behalf of a therapist and a mom who suffered from postpartum depression, the Psychology Today's Therapist Finder explicitly identify practitioners who are knowledgeable about the treatment of these illnesses. Currently, moms who are looking for a therapist can't identify providers who have specific training and/or experience in treating these disorders. Please, help out by adding Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders to your list of conditions.
Thank you for your very valuable point. In the meantime, please know that you can find clinicians who specialize in this area listed on Postpartum Support International (PSI) website (postpartum.net)as well as a list of therapists who trained at The Postpartum Stress Center on our website (postpartumstress.com) I will be sure to pass your excellent suggestion along.
I appreciate your response. And I love your books! So glad you're out there leading the charge...
What a wonderfully written article Karen! I work with postpartum moms in my private practice and the issues you wrote about are so very common, yet the shame and isolation new mothers feel is incapacitating for them. I know there are many new mothers suffering out there and I hope they are able to find your article and get the help they deserve.
Thank you for your comment, Jill. It's always nice to know there are such enlightened therapists who are advocating for postpartum moms in their private practice. Thanks for that.
Yes. Depression is real. Yes. It can be treated.
But what if things DONT get better? If after 4 years, the mother is still battling herself to get out of bed while the toddler / child is left to their own devices for half a day? When does the neglect of the child finally become enough of an issue to remove the child from the home?
The emotional distance and confusion that depression brings to a child is extremely damaging. So when is it time to put the needs of the child, their emotional and physical well being, ahead of the well intentioned but chronically depressed mother?
If after 4 years, things are not better, and treatment has made little difference, it's way past time to augment or change treatment. In rare instances, chronic depression can fail to respond to good treatment and when that happens the healthcare providers and family need to discuss new alternative strategies so mom can get some relief. No one should "settle" for treatment failure. Seek other help. Seek other treatment options. There is help available.
Thank you for responding Karen.
Is there a time when keeping the family "together" does more harm to the child than finding a stable home for them to live in? I know that the mother is sick, that she is not choosing to neglect the child...but the neglect is real, even if unintended.
I worry about the damage being done on the child (again, unintentional). It seems that the child deserves a safe and nurturing upbringing, and the depressed mother cannot not do that.
Tessa, I'm not sure what your relationship is to this mother, but I don't feel like I'm in a position to offer advice at this point. I think it would be prudent for you to make contact with professionals who are local to your area and who are better able to address the specifics of this very sensitive situation. Please be in touch with member of her family to discuss your concerns.
My question is how is one supposed to handle a young mother who is suspected of having postpartum?
I sure want to help and would not want to judge or come across as judging but don't know what to say or how to say it or even what to do other than gently pushing the mother to get professional help. Any suggestions?
Good question! How nice that you are sensitive to how difficult this can be from all sides. Ask her if she's worried about the way she is feeling. Ask her if anything scares her. Ask her if you can help in any way. ANY way. Tell her you are worried about her because she.... Tell her if she doesn't seem to be acting like herself or if she isn't as ____ as she usually is. Tell her about a wonderful therapist you heard of or a doctor you know who can help. You aren't judging her if you are a good friend or family member who just wants her to feel better. Remember that she may FEEL judged even if you aren't judging her. So try to stand up against that and stay focused on your desire to support her. Does that help?
Thanks Karen for your prompt and helpful reply.
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Karen Kleiman is founder and director of The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment and training center for prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.
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