Expert Insight: Postpartum depression

A new Choice Mom wrote me to say how surprised she was — after all the planning and preparation she did to finally become a mother — that she was suffering from postpartum depression.

Logically, she knew PPD is not uncommon — and not something you can control. But, she was looking for support nonetheless. She had longed for the day when she would be a mother, so suffering from the hormonal depression after the birth of her child was difficult.

I consulted with mental health counselors in the Choice Mom network.

Here is what Joann Galst, New York City, had to say: “The teariness she is feeling at this time is most likely due to the precipitous drop in hormones she experienced after giving birth to her son. If she continues to feel very sad and finds her functioning impaired (i.e., inability to get out of bed, care for baby, shower, etc.), she might want to contact a mental health professional in her area (or a therapist she has seen in the past) to determine if she needs additional support. The expectations that mothers put on themselves to bond immediately, know what they are doing with their newborn right from the outset, and keep the rest of their life in order also add to the likelihood of PPD. She may have to reach out and ask for more help — no shame, but a necessity in this day of fewer relatives living nearby and available to help the new mother.”

Joann recommended that anyone suffering from PPD contact Postpartum Support International, 800.944.4PPD (4773), with online support at ppdsupportpage.com.

Said Gretchen Sewall, Seattle: “Feeling overwhelmed by love and loss and fear and hope, not to mention thunderstorms of hormones, crash of adrenals and the challenging thrill of lactation. With all that said this dear new mom should not be alone.”

Read our “Support” stories to find articles that might help you.

Patricia Mendell, NYC, sent an entire article on the subject, which you can find here.

Fellow Choice Moms…. offer your own words of support to this woman, and others, who have suffered from postpartum depression. Share your own story. — Mikki

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