Whether you are looking for help for yourself or someone you love, it may be helpful to keep the following things in mind:
► There are many useful resources to help you with pregnancy and postpartum disorders. They include books, organizations and a range of health care providers. The help you need is available. You may have to do some checking, however, to make sure the practitioners (both MDs and therapists) you’re working with are knowledgeable about PPD. Books and website information can provide a wealth of information, as well as confirmation that you’re not alone. If you find some pieces of information that don’t fit your experience or needs, you may want to read on to find the pieces that do.
► Getting help earlier rather than later can decrease the length and intensity of symptoms for the mother and suffering for the family. Postpartum depression and related disorders are very treatable. The important part is getting started with proper diagnosis and treatment.
► Postpartum disorders can be thought of as a syndrome, meaning that they include a group of symptoms that can arise from a number of causes. The multiple possible causes (one or more may be the main factor in any given case) include hormonal changes, lack of sleep, lack of social support, unrealistic expectations of pregnancy, birth or motherhood; history of losses or trauma.
► A variety of things may be helpful for someone experiencing a pregnancy or postpartum disorder. These include increasing social support, increasing sleep, appropriate exercise, nutritional changes, individual therapy, group therapy or medications. One or more of these treatments, or alternative treatments may be right for a particular person.
► An assessment by a knowledgeable professional or professionals is needed since other problems may mimic the symptoms of PPD. Physical issues, such as thyroiditis, should be ruled out. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, you and your provider(s) can make a plan that addresses your specific needs.
Information and Coping
Awake at 3 a.m.: Yoga Therapy for Anxiety and Depression in Pregnancy and Early Motherhood by Suzannah Neufeld
Beyond the Blues: A Guide to Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression by Shoshanna Bennett and Pec Indman
Dear Scarlet: The Story of My Postpartum Depression by Teresa Wong
Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts by Karen Kleiman
Good Moms Have Scary Thoughts: A Healing Guide to the Secret Fears of New Mothers by Karen Kleiman
Postpartum Depression for Dummies by Shoshana Bennett and Mary Jo Codey
This Isn’t What I Expected: Recognizing and Recovering from Depression and Anxiety after Childbirth by Karen Kleiman and Valerie D. Raskin
Sleepless Days: One Woman’s Journey Through Postpartum Depression by Susan Kushner Resnick
Down Came the Rain: My Journey Through Postpartum Depression by Brooke Shields
Setting the Wire: A Memoir of Postpartum Psychosis
Postpartum Support International
Women’s Mental Health Program at Emory University
Online Postpartum Depression Support Group
Website with Support and Information for Dads
East Bay Postpartum Stress Support Groups
Lee Safran, MFT 510.496.6096
Robyn Alagona Cutler, LMFT 415.309.8464