Parenting can be an exciting and overwhelming journey, especially for new moms. However, delivering a baby often comes with a host of changes in a woman’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It’s common for new moms to experience baby blues in the first few weeks after childbirth. Postpartum depression is a severe case of baby blues. This medical condition affects at least one in seven new mothers after childbirth. Therefore, mothers need to understand what postpartum depression is and how psychotherapy helps tackle the condition.
Postpartum depression explained
Postpartum depression or perinatal depression is a type of depression that manifests shortly after welcoming a baby. However, unlike baby blues which fade away within a few days or weeks of childbirth, postpartum depression lingers on longer and requires a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
Perinatal depression can trigger extreme mood swings, fatigue, and hopelessness. Postpartum blues can affect the quality of life hence the need to find a therapist. The condition can affect both parents, including surrogate and adoptive parents.
Common postpartum symptoms
In the first few days to a few weeks after childbirth, you may feel depressed, moody, and empty, a condition known as baby blues. However, unlike the typical baby blues, postpartum depression persists for weeks after giving birth. Symptoms may vary among individuals and can develop anytime after delivering your newborn.
Some indicators of postpartum blues include:
- Overwhelming sadness
- Feeling empty and helpless
- Lack of interest in tending to your newborn
- Feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Change in appetite
- Insufficient or lack of sleep
- Headache and stomach pain
People undergoing postpartum depression may have trouble bonding with their babies and feel they don’t love their bundle of joy. It helps to know that such feelings do not make you a bad parent. The good news is that with professional counseling, you can quickly overcome the disconnect with your newborn baby and improve your general quality of life.
Psychotherapy for postpartum depression
Once a person has been diagnosed with postpartum depression, they can pursue various treatment options, from interpersonal therapy to group session therapies. Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a common therapy that helps quell postpartum depression. Combining CBT therapy with antidepressants and other medication yields better patient outcomes than medication alone.
It is often a practical and hands-on session with a professional psychotherapist that may last up to 16 weeks after childbirth.
Benefits of psychotherapy for postpartum depression
Helps develop coping skills
Being a first-time mom can be quite stressful. New moms go through many challenges, from learning how to breastfeed to adjusting back to work after maternity leave. Postpartum depression is just one of the many challenges new moms encounter in the first year of childbirth. Psychotherapy helps manage stress levels by identifying triggers and devising coping mechanisms to navigate difficult situations. The strategies you learn through CBT and other therapy sessions will prove valuable long after the program.
The CBT program enhances learning, acceptance, and problem-solving skills, which help the affected persons deal with postpartum blues. Psychotherapy for postpartum blues focuses on identifying and altering the behavior patterns of the affected individual to improve how they feel about their baby and themselves.
Improves communication skills
Talking to a therapist helps mothers open up about their feelings and mindset. Interpersonal interaction allows therapists to understand your situation and recognize stress triggers before they become severe. By improving your communication skills, you will benefit from a more fruitful relationship with your partner, newborn, and family.
It’s normal for a newborn to be the center of focus during the first few weeks and months after childbirth. New moms may neglect self-care during this period to prioritize their baby’s needs. Furthermore, new moms may feel guilty when seeking help with babysitting. Engaging a therapist helps overcome guilt and realize the importance of self-care for moms. As a new mom, taking good care of yourself puts you in a great position to care for your entire family.
Postpartum blues is a serious condition best treated by a professional therapist. While dieting, meditation, and yoga might help, combining these remedies with professional counseling is best. Joining a local postpartum support group can instill confidence and minimize guilt and anxiety.