DBT for Managing Emotions for New Moms
Taking care of a newborn is all encompassing. It is exhausting. And it’s natural to want to give our all to our baby.
How can a new mom maintain emotional balance? It would be insulting to give a simple answer to this complicated and nuanced question.
Postpartum Depression, Shame and Stigma
Clara just had a baby. But she was not feeling very…well, happy. Yes, she felt overpowering love for her new baby. But she also felt irritable, depressed, nauseous and she was crying alot. Even worse, she started having nightmares. Scary nightmares that she dared not talk to anyone else about. They were, well, just plain disturbing. They centered around things that she imagined could just happen to her baby that were outside of her control. She was trying to hide behind a veil of smiles and perky laughter.
Clara felt very scared and very, very, ashamed of herself. She wondered why she wasn’t happy. She didn’t want to admit she was depressed. After all, she couldn’t possibly have a mental illness! Weren’t people who are depressed kind of crazy and lazy? What couldn’t she talk herself out of this?
5 MindBody Ways to Care for Mental Health During Pregnancy
Be mindful of your mental health during pregnancy. For many women, pregnancy is the most joyous times of their lives, but for some women it can be a time of increased anxiety and depression. If you have certain risk factors, such as a personal or family history of trauma, depression, anxiety or bipolar disease, you have an increased chance of becoming depressed, anxious or having a manic episode in your perinatal time.
Stress during and after pregnancy increases the likelihood of depression or anxiety. Mindfully taking care of yourself is just as important as your doctor visits and decorating the nursery!
Part One: Recovering from birth trauma
Betty was feeling very down, anxious and disconnected. She had given birth to her third child just twelve weeks ago! Her new baby was a joy. He was beautiful and perfect. And so much work as well! Betty had never missed sleep so much in her life! He was her second baby, her first son. She thought she should feel very happy. But she just felt empty. There was so much work to do, so much laundry and so much responsibility! She was crying often and felt distant from her family: her baby, her other child and her husband.
She felt happiness sometimes, but often felt removed from her life, like she was standing outside her body. Her husband researched some therapists she could try to see close to her home. At the urging of her husband and her mother, she called three and settled on someone who was trained in perinatal mood disorders and trauma therapies.
Good question – how much stress in pregnancy is too much?
Like many things in life, the question of how stress affects a woman’s pregnancy does not have a simple answer. Because each individual has her own emotional and physical tolerance for stress, exactly how much stress is a causative factor for depression and anxiety is not known.
Plus, there are different types of stress. There is chronic stress, major negative life events and everyday stress.
Helping Children Cope When the Family Has Infant Loss
A pregnancy loss is a primal, deep loss. And often these parents have young children who were looking forward to having a little brother or little sister. Even in their time of pain, parents need to find ways to answer their surviving children’s questions about death and help them cope with their emotions. Miscarriage is a family event. In my previous article there is some information about how to talk to children about infant death.
Children best express their emotions using right-brain activities like play, drawing and story-telling. Books are a great resource for parents to help their children sort out and express their feelings.
Did you know that 99% of women who stop breastfeeding due to medications can actually continue?
As a new mother 22 (short?) years ago, I suffered postpartum depression. I was breastfeeding and refused to take any medications for it. I think I would’ve come out of the depression sooner if I had opted for medication. But, I was afraid. There weren’t many studies back then. Now there are a lot of studies on this topic and there’s a lot of information available about medications and pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Gossipist Magazine did an interview of independent thinker, Rae, about her decision to pursue a home birth for her second childbirth experience. Her first was in a hospital. For both births, she used birth hypnosis techniques. I was her birth hypnosis therapist for those births. Read on….