Dr. Dunnewold discusses postpartum depression (PPD) recovery.
Well, I think when women come in the very first time they are completely overwhelmed, and they are worried that there is something the matter with them. They feel like terrible people and terrible mothers because they aren’t fitting this Hallmark card picture-perfect new mother thing that they thought they were going to get. They just feel terrible and they're not really functioning very well much of the time, either.
They are riddled with anxiety or they are not able to sleep or they don’t like this baby and they just are in the worst place in their lives often, and I watch them first of all be so relieved to just have a label put on it and a validation that you’re not alone. You’re not the only one that has gone through this sort of thing. That just seems to be huge for many women to say, “I am not going crazy. It really is okay, 10 to 20 percent of new mothers feel this.”
It’s incredibly powerful for them to say, “There isn’t anything wrong with me,” and that I can say to them, too, “You’ll come out of it.” And then I think over the course of treatment, what we do, what I try and do with women in particular, is give them real concrete tools, things that they can learn like how can they get 30 minutes for themselves in the day while they are taking care of 1 or 2 children or more, perhaps working a job, too.
How can they put themselves first, how can they learn to change their thinking pattern so that they’re not looking at their day and focusing on what they didn’t do and didn’t get done and how there are still dishes in the sink and they didn’t get the thank-you notes done, and look instead at what they are accomplishing and that they may have changed 16 diapers and fed the baby 16 times and cleaned up spit-up and managed to get a bath for themselves.
So we try and make that switch to over the course of treatment from looking at things negatively to be able to look at things positively and realize they are doing a good job and that what they are doing is incredibly valuable to their family, and that it’s okay to take care of themselves in order to be able to continue to do that job.
About Dr. Ann Dunnewold, M.A., Ph.D.:
Dr. Ann Dunnewold is a licensed psychologist practicing in Dallas, Texas. With 25 years experience helping women cope with life issues, Ann assist in addressing parental guilt and worry, creating a balance between family, self and work, postpartum depression, couples counseling and more. She received her M.A. and Ph.D in counseling Psychology from Ohio State University and is registered by the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology. Dr. Dunnewold uses an eclectic therapy approach to focus on the here and now and changes thinking to change behaviors.