Experiencing Postpartum Depression? There Are Resources That Can Help

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Postpartum depression is a common reality for mothers all over the world, impacting roughly one in seven women. Common symptoms of the condition include feelings of anxiety, a lack of energy, frequent crying, and irritability. Changes in typical eating or sleeping patterns can also occur in many cases of postpartum depression. There is no one simple cause for the mood disorder, either. Rather, it is believed to result from a confluence of physical factors such as lack of sleep, emotional factors (such as increased stress), and a genetic predisposition (like a family history of depression). Contrary to popular belief, postpartum depression can affect both men and women.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to combat postpartum depression. Some steps can be taken on your own, while others involve the assistance of professionals. Remember, no two cases of postpartum depression are the same — it may take some time to find an approach that works for you.

Try counseling

There are numerous professionals out there who can help if you are struggling with postpartum depression. Three types of therapy have been found to be particularly helpful for the condition:

  1. Psychodynamic psychotherapy: This form of depth therapy is useful for postpartum depression, as it is geared toward the resolution of psychological tension. While this method draws upon the work of Freud and other pioneers of psychoanalytics, it employs a less intense approach, typically involving just one or two meetings a week. Techniques include the sharing and analyzing of dreams, confronting challenging memories and feelings, performing free association sessions, and generally forming a strong therapeutic bond.
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): As it was originally developed with the aim of combating depression in general, CBT can be very well-suited for cases of postpartum depression, in particular. In sharp contrast to the prioritization of the unconscious in psychoanalytic therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy takes an action-oriented approach. Sessions are frequently geared toward coming up with effective methods to reach set goals and address specific symptoms.
  3. Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT): This method is the most structured of the three, following a clearly laid-out program that typically runs 12 to 16 weeks. While it was first developed in the 1970s as a way to help patients with major depression, IPT has been tailored to meet a variety of needs since then, including postpartum depression. The governing principal of interpersonal psychotherapy is the belief that life events, relationships, and mood have a bi-directional influence, and the method’s effectiveness has been supported by empirical evidence.

Join an online community of new moms

There is no better way to get through a difficult time than to connect with others who are facing the same challenge. Fortunately, in today’s technological world, there are no shortage of platforms new moms can use to connect with each other. Whether you’re simply looking for a Facebook group of new moms in your town or city, or you want to download a dedicated app such as Peanut, the right platform is out there for you.

Remember: if you are experiencing postpartum depression, you’re not alone. Powerful feelings of worry or sadness accompany nearly 15% of all births. There are resources out there to help you, whether that means talking to a professional, or simply finding other mothers in your area who can provide that vital support.

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