The first week I went to the Postpartum Resource Center (PRC) support group for my Postpartum Depression (PPD) it was a week the group wasn’t meeting; I happened to come upon Jen and the volunteers discussing the upcoming session for the group. I was embarrassed and turned to retreat, but Jen invited me to sit and share my story.
These individuals were all were very helpful and gave good ideas for dealing with PPD. They suggested a multi-faceted approach:
1. Group Therapy, for an objective outlet
The PRC of Kansas organization was an integral part of my recovery plan. I feel the group was very helpful and introducing me to other mothers I could relate to, and provided an outlet for what was on my mind. In going through PPD, I needed an objective outlet more than I ever did in my life; well-meaning friends and family were not as much of a comfort as having a therapist and the support group. I knew friends and family would try to be understanding and be helpful, but unless you have gone through PPD, I believe it’s hard to understand what it feels like and how to help.
2. Individual Therapy, to focus on building personal strength
At my doctor’s suggestion, I met with a Psychiatrist for a consultation. The Psychiatrist just wanted to put me on medication, so I asked to see a therapist instead. In the meetings with the therapist, I realized how my experiences (moving, miscarriage, isolation, etc.) all contributed to my symptoms, along with the hormone fluctuations.
3. The Plan, 7 steps for managing PPD without medication
In coordination with my OB/GYN, I devised a plan for getting through my PPD:
• I attended the PRC Support Group for an 8-week session and continued with the group throughout the following 2 sessions.
• I met with a therapist weekly at first, and then worked to scale back to every other week until I felt I no longer need it.
• I tried to exercise daily (preferably in the mornings to get the “feel good” hormones pumping).
• I tried to eat a nutritionally-sound diet (cut back on or eliminate caffeine, alcohol and sugar).