A Plea to Healthcare Professionals and Mamas in Distress
Posted Apr 20, 2015
Women besieged by symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety are often shamed into silence and are understandably reluctant to disclose how they are feeling. This is partly cultural and partly personal. It's hard to admit outloud that having a baby doesn't feel good for some women. And for 1 out of 7 women who give birth, it makes them very sick.
If you are a healthcare provider, or a therapist, you are in a position to make this much easier for her. You are in a position to rise above the stigma and widespread misinformation and create a safe place for mothers in distress to fall. This is not just a compassionate response; it will significantly improve her recovery and healing.
Make sure you convey these messages. Loud and clear. And if these do not resonate for you, do your homework and study postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. The answers to these questions should not scare you. They should motivate you to help her.
As a therapist who specializes in the treatment of perintal distress my message to all mothers is:
Find a safe place so you can:
1) Tell me if you don't feel like yourself.
2) Tell me if you cannot stand the way you are feeling.
3) Tell me exactly what you are thinking, no matter what it is.
4) Tell me what your worst fear is.
5) Tell me if you are worried about your safety or your baby's safety.
6) Tell me if you are ashamed or embarassed or so distressed that you cannot function the way you usually do.
8) Tell me if you are afraid you are going crazy.
9) Tell me if you are having symptoms that scare the hell out of you.
10) Tell me if you are pretending to everyone else that you are fine, but you are not.
11) Tell me if you are afraid you will never get better.
12) Tell me if you are worried that this is just how being a new mother feels.
Talk about your postpartum depression. So you can get better.
Copyright 2015 Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW