This week, in honor of Maternal Mental Health Month, Imagine Hope is discussing the different aspects of postpartum depression, and important things to consider when working through this difficult issue. Postpartum depression is more than just the difficulty of adjusting to life after having a baby. It can be physically, emotionally and mentally debilitating-- but there is help! As stated earlier, there is so much shame around postpartum depression, even though it can happen with anyone-- we truly hope to help educate everyone on how this issue presents and what can help with treatment, in order to get rid of the unnecessary shame associated with something that is more common than you might know. Early detection and treatment show great promise in helping new mothers during an already difficult and emotional time in their life.
Using the acronym A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S, we will continue with the final two components, Social Support and Spirituality today: (If you haven't already, go back to the earlier blog posts from this week so you don't miss out on some great information!)
S= Social Support
As stated before, following the birth of a child, a new mom becomes so engrossed in the care for the new child that it can make it difficult to find the time (or emotional energy) for outside social support. It has been well documented in research, however, that social support is one of the most important things for new mothers, in order to adjust well to the birth of a child. Having both emotional and practical support is critical for the successful recovery of postpartum depression. This may take the form of having someone safe, supportive and understanding to talk to about your feelings and struggles, having someone who helps you with child care so that you can run errands or schedule appointments for yourself, or someone who can help you out with household chores that you no longer have the time to do. Postpartum depression can create so many feelings of shame and low self esteem that it can be difficult to reach out and ask for help or share your feelings (of which you might already be struggling with), but it is imperative to break the silence and share with someone trusted about what you are feeling and needing.
Postpartum depression is often a time of feeling not only shame, but also feeling a lack of hope or joy. For women who struggle with postpartum depression, many will find themselves asking questions such as, "What is wrong with me?" or "How could anyone understand what I am going through?". Spirituality can be a great tool or means to feeling more peaceful, hopeful, and also can help in finding meaning in the experience and making meaning out of the distress that accompanies postpartum depression. Religious commitment and spirituality has been found to improve stress control, coping strategies, increasing social support systems and understanding.
We hope you have gained some knowledge about postpartum depression through this week's blog, and hope that it has helped those who are relating to the devastating symptoms of this topic. If you know of someone that could be struggling, please share this blog post series with them, and encourage them to seek help! Please remember, asking for help does not mean that you are a failure as a mother. There is no need to suffer in silence.
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.