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10/06/05



  

Postpartum Depression - It's REAL!

Postpartum Depression” Often Contains Anxiety

 

By Lauren Culp, M.A., MFT, CD, CPD

 

National Depression 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.” 

 

Support for 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.

 

Family 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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Lauren Culp, MFT

 

 




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