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
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).
• I was diligent about drinking more water (I had stopped keeping track of this since quitting breastfeeding).
• I attempted to get enough sleep nightly, or allowed myself a nap during the day.
• I asked for help from my husband if I needed it, and let him do things his way (not always the easiest thing to do, but I had to learn to let some things go).
Once I began, and kept to "The Plan," (as I affectionately began to call it), I started to feel much better. I just felt like I was doing something about the situation, and letting things I couldn’t control be. If I didn’t stick with "The Plan," my symptoms would creep back, so I can honestly say that it helped. It also helped to have a great partner I could lean on, one to pick up the slack a bit while I focused on getting better.
Christine Jeffries is a writer/editor for work and at heart, and lives in a home of testosterone with her husband and two sons. Christine is interested in women’s health and promoting strong women.
PRC of Kansas (www.kansasppd.org, 1-866-363-1300)
Kansas City Women’s Clinic (913-894-8500)