Postpartum depression, also known as PPD, is a mental health condition that can affect parents within a year of bringing home a new child. The condition most often affects mothers after the birth of a baby (“postpartum” literally means “after pregnancy”), but it can affect any new parent (including the father or adoptive parents). Research shows that about 10-20% of new mothers suffer from PPD.
While it is normal for new parents to feel more tired, stressed, and anxious than usual, if a new parent has excessive feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or extreme anxiety, it may be time to get help. If a new parent has thoughts or feelings of harming themselves or their new baby, it is even more imperative that they get the help that they need.
What Exactly Is Postpartum Therapy?
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of PPD, tell your doctor. They will help refer you to a trained therapist or counselor who can help with symptoms. A therapist or counselor can help new parents feel more like themselves again.
Talk therapy is a common type of therapy that will be recommended to anyone going through any type of depression, including postpartum depression. This will allow a parent who is struggling with a regular chance to talk to someone without feeling judged.
In postpartum therapy, therapists will guide new parents through their feelings (are you feeling overwhelmed? are you connecting with your baby?), their beliefs (do you feel like you are falling short of how new parents should be?), your behavior (are you doing anything that is making you feel worse about yourself?), your new life (are you finding it hard to adjust? do you miss your pre-baby life?), and more.
You and your therapist will discuss how often you two should be meeting and if there are anything things that you should do outside of your sessions that may help (such as self-care methods).
Hire A Professional Pregnancy And Postpartum Therapist
To find a postpartum therapist that will work for you, first talk to your general physician or OBGYN for their recommendations. If they cannot recommend a postpartum therapist, call your insurance provider. They may be able to help you find a good therapist that is covered by your insurance as well as give you information such as how many appointments are covered and what your out-of-pocket cost will be. Another good idea is to ask someone you trust that has also gone through a similar issue. If you have any friends, relatives, or coworkers who have also gone through PPD, they might have good resources for you to use.
As for some things that you should know before starting therapy, there are a couple of important points. When it comes to therapy, honesty is the first step. Your therapist is there to help you and if you do not tell them exactly how you are feeling, they will not be able to do their job in helping you improve. Do not feel ashamed of how you are feeling. Your therapist will not judge you and nothing is off-limits to talk about.
Can Postpartum Therapy Help You To Improve Mental Health?
Two main types of talk therapy are often used by postpartum therapists, and both of these techniques will help to improve a new parent’s mental health. In cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a therapist will help you to identify, and then change, the harmful thoughts and behaviors you have brought on by your PPD. In interpersonal therapy, a therapist will help you to understand why you behave the way you do and how you can work through those problems;
Postpartum therapy also helps new parents regain a sense of control in their lives, as well as to help them to begin to see the wonder in their life again. Additionally, the skills built-in therapy can also help people to learn the skills they need to prevent another depressive episode in the future.