Licensed clinical social worker Katie Monarch introduces herself and describes postpartum depression and postpartum blues.
Katie L. Monarch:
My name is Katie Monarch and I am the Project Director for the Post Partum Depression program at St. Joseph Hospital, and we applied for a grant, which we received through UniHealth Foundation for three years to start a formalized postpartum depression program. And so what we did with that is, we designed an educational component as well as a screening, and what we are currently doing is we screen 100% of our moms here at St. Joseph Hospital through our Bridges program using the Edinburgh Depression Scale.
When a mom scores moderate to high off of that Edinburgh Depression Scale then the program follows that mom either from the time that she goes home or at four to six weeks she will receive a follow-up call from us doing the Edinburgh Scale again, and then she also receives another screening at three to six months.
Moms are able to enter the program at any time, and once they enter the program they receive treatment through individual counseling with a licensed clinician once a week, as well as a support group with other moms on a weekly basis.
The Post Partum Depression program is a little bit different than say a Mommy and Me group in the sense that it allows the moms to talk about how they are feeling, are they enjoying this, how are they bonding with the baby, how are they getting along in their relationships, how is their anxiety, sadness, any type of feelings that they may have.
We also work with our OBs, pediatricians, and family practice doctors, and we actually notify the OBs if a mom scores at bedside moderate to high, sending them a letter that lets them know that when their patient comes in, please let her know that she did score moderate to high on the scale and to give the Post Partum Depression program a phone call.
OBs’ offices as well as pediatricians make referrals. If they see more that they think may need a little bit of help, if she is tearful, if she is just not coping well, if she is overwhelmed, exhausted, they call as well, and the program will make a referral.
Postpartum blues begin at anywhere from three days and last up to ten days. And those are days that you may experience feeling down, tired, a little bit overwhelmed, but you do see some light. You can see that there is some blue in the sky. You can find some joy in life and the things that you like to do. You can find some joy in the baby or with your significant other, but you have some periods where you are depressed and down, but you have periods where you are feeling good.
Postpartum depression can last anywhere from right after birth up to a year. That’s where you have more bad days than you have good. So if I wake up on a continuous basis and I am just extremely overwhelmed, I am anxious, I am not able to sleep, I am having some thoughts of “What have I done? Oh my gosh! I don’t know what to do with the baby. I am frightened.” I start having perhaps some panic attacks, I am breathing, I think I am going to be fainting, than you are probably going into a postpartum depression. And the depression is basically lack of sleep, like I said, feeling overwhelmed, feeling anxious, sometimes having some obsessive thoughts about something, perhaps maybe the cleanliness of the baby. I have to change the baby every hour on the hour, or thoughts such as, ”I am afraid to carry the baby because what if I drop her or what if she rolls off the bed,” even though she may be one or two days old.
So that’s the difference. The difference between postpartum blues is, it’s kind of a depression that all of us experience in our lives, where postpartum depression continues and it just doesn’t seem to get any better.
About Katie L. Monarch, L.C.S.W.:
Katie Monarch is the Project Director for the Post Partum Depression program at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, California, where she helped design an education-focused facility. At this hospital all new mothers are screened for postpartum depression through the Bridges for Newborns program using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).
Visit Katie L. Monarch at St. Joseph Hospital