As a doula who works with mothers before, during and after birth, these have been my experiences of postpartum depression:
1. Catch it early. Most tragedies occur when the mother hides her feelings, or family/friends never notice- or tell her to get over it.
2. Open communication with the maternal health care team. If the mother suffers depression before the baby is born, the chances are excellent that she will be a candidate for postpartum depression. Clear communication between patient-health care provider and among all members of the health care team will provide for better access to recognize the symptoms and assist the patient.
3. De-stigmatize depression in all forms. More women would feel free to come foward and reveal their true feelings if they were not burdened by people telling them it will be all right, buck up, you will snap out of it, etc. Some women fear letting their family down; others fear that they are inadequate to motherhood. They need support and encouragement from others who have been through the same cycle.
4. Caregivers need to recognize and understand the signs and symptoms of post partum depression and the best ways to address them. It requires a team of care in which the medical and psycho-social aspects are working jointly to elevate the woman's mental outlook.
5. The plan of care needs to be implemented immediately; too often, people wait, hoping for the best when in reality time is of the essence, and the sooner the intervention, the better.
In my practice, postpartum depression is automatically screened for in all new mothers. Even if there are "borderline" symptoms, a rapid and reassuring response is taken immediately to ensure maximum mental health for the mother.
Some of the resources that I use include:
recommendation of counseling, postpartum doulas, visiting mom programs, judicious diet and nutritional supplements, yoga or other physical activity and medical care.
Recent research done by Denver investigators has revealed that postpartum depression can interfere with and even derail the mother-baby bond.
Thus, it is imperative that a national standard plan of care be instituted, effective immediately.
For further information, please feel free to contact: 760 458 7070 M-F 8A-1P.
Smiles and blessings,
-- Doula Angelita