Postpartum Depression - It's REAL!
Often Contains Anxiety
By Lauren Culp, M.A.,
MFT, CD, CPD
Screening Day is Thursday Oct. 6 and this year’s focus is on
Postpartum Disorders. As a Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist, a Certified Postpartum & Birth Doula (Greek
Word meaning “woman servant,” or Doulas of North
America translate it to be “wise woman of birth”), and an educator,
lLauren has worked with moms with newborns with various postpartum
adjustments for over fifteen years. She
often makes house calls to families with newborns supplying
educational, emotional, and psychological support.
In her experience, many new mothers feel high levels of fear
and anxiety and will not seek treatment because they cannot identify
themselves as having “postpartum depression.”
families with newborns is essential. For those who can afford to
have in home help, The Chapman Family Center of Santa Monica (310)
453-5144 has a doula and a postpartum doula registry that can send
postpartum doulas immediately to the home of a new mother.
members and friends of new parents can be asked to bring food to the
new family, do errands for them, or can volunteer to stay with the
mother and baby while the mother rests or seeks professional
care. Bodywork or massage helps any woman after delivery but can be
especially grounding to a new mother. Good nutrition is also
essential. With the permission of the OBGYN, gentle exercise can
benefit the mother as well.
If restlessness, tears, and anxiety continue, a medical evaluation
by a psychiatrist or referral by an OBGYN to a psychiatrist is
the next step with individualized follow up medication adjustments
(there are medications that can be taken while breastfeeding).
Counseling with a mental health professional that takes the form of
crisis intervention giving the mother step-by-step tools to get
through the day and evening is most helpful. With immediate
support and good professional care, a couple will recover and
discover the joy of being parents.
Lauren Culp, MFT (www.Laurenculp.com)
has a private practice in
Santa Monica (310) 917-9969.
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