New Moms and Depression: Where to Go? What to Do? Whom to Call?
By Abbie E. Goldberg
February 19, 2015
The Huffington Post Parents
As the lead investigator of a Massachusetts study on postpartum mental health among diverse women, I and my research team have the chance to speak to women during their pregnancy and a couple of times after they give birth, including as early as three months postpartum. Although all these women reside in Massachusetts, their experiences with trying to get support and mental-health services vary widely. Some women describe supportive, knowledgeable, and sympathetic providers, while others have come face to face with major barriers as they try to get support for themselves and their families. Some women, for example, are aware that they need emotional support but have felt that their providers (including OB/GYNs, primary care docs, and pediatricians) lacked knowledge and understanding of the challenges that they were experiencing during their initial period of adjusting to the parent role. In addition, providers were not always aware of the need for or location of support resources (including support groups, therapists, and psychiatrists).
In one particularly memorable interview, a woman described how she dragged herself to her provider’s office to talk to him about her increasing sadness and poor mood and whether to go back on antidepressants. She acknowledged that she was struggling with this decision in part because she strongly valued breastfeeding and didn’t want to stop breastfeeding. Looking for support around this decision as well as specific information about medication and breastfeeding, she was surprised to find out that her doctor was unfamiliar with the risks of breastfeeding while on antidepressants.
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