Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Surviving Post-Partum Depression

The sleepless nights, the hormone fluctuations, the stress... I am talking about the first few months with a new baby. It's not easy. For some women, it's too much to take. Some women may have bigger hormone shifts and their babies may be up more, cry more, etc. There's no shame for new moms who need extra help from a qualified professional. I am sure I could have used it with my first baby. I don't think I had clinical depression, but I do think I was borderline.

FROM NBC: Post-partum depression is one of the most common complications of childbirth, though very few women talk about it.
In fact, there's only one in-patient facility in the country that caters specifically to the needs of moms suffering the most severe forms of the condition. But the program is gaining attention from mothers across the nation.

Amy Martin is the proud mother of three children: her youngest, Avery, is two. She had the baby blues with her first two kids-anxiety and sadness typically explained by exhaustion and hormonal changes-and common in new mothers. But the day she brought little Avery home from the hospital, "I felt like the world was coming to an end."

Amy was suffering from severe post-partum depression. She was admitted to a pilot in-patient program at the University of North Carolina -- that caters to moms like Martin.
Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody - University of North Carolina/Chapel Hill: "They're not able to get through their activities of daily living. they are often having thoughts of wanting to die or having active thoughts of hurting themselves or thoughts of hurting the baby."

The UNC program is one of a kind in this country -- but was based on models used in Europe and Australia for decades. Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "Our goal was to create a mother-baby unit that would provide state of the art most holistic care to moms during this vulnerable time." Treatments can include medication, behavioral therapy, art, yoga -- anything that can encourage mothers to bond with their babies and cope after they get home.

The program has grown since opening in 2008 -- and is now inundated with calls... some from across the country.. as more and more struggling mothers speak up. Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "There is no stigma or embarrassment in getting something that happens to many, many women."
"You can't build a good house without good construction workers. "

Martin says the program gave her the building blocks to get back on her feet as a mom. "I figured, you know, I can give up 2 weeks with them to get better to spend my life taking care of them."
The doctors at UNC and many like them nationwide use the "Edinburgh postnatal depression scale" to help determine the severity of post-partum depression. It's a quiz women can take and score in the privacy of their home. you can find more information online.

Credible website where women can find the Edinburgh post natal depression scale:

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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