B was in deep despair when she came to me. She wanted answers as to what was wrong with her. Two nights before we met, she told me she almost threw her baby out of the balcony. Fortunately, her husband intercepted her in time. She said she resented her baby as he had given her so much pain and now, her once healthy body and svelte figure, have changed. She also said she felt her friends and family are neglecting her, now that all the attention is directed on to the baby.
Another mother, J, came to me as she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. She hated the child as he was always crying, causing her to go sleepless since he was born. She was so exhausted. At first, she thought the baby had colic but numerous visits to the paediatrician confirmed that he wasn’t. J was at the end of her tether and was serious about giving up the baby for adoption. She went as far as contacting the adoption agency.
These two women show symptoms of Post-Partum Depression. With early intervention, it can definitely be cured.
The Shock of Reality Vs The Bliss of a New Baby
With the arrival of a baby, shouldn’t a new mother feel ecstatic, contended and rewarded? Not necessarily. Some new mothers feel absolutely rotten! Have you felt sad, hopeless, empty, weepy, having difficulty falling asleep or just overwhelmed?
You may find yourself crying over issues that were not such a big deal before. You may feel exhausted, irritable, anxious and wonder whether you are a good enough mother. These feelings may also affect women who have experienced a miscarriage or still birth.
Support Is Very Important
Well don’t worry, you are not alone. About 80% of new mothers experience this “Baby Blues”. It is quite normal during the first couple of weeks after childbirth.
After childbirth, hormone levels drop drastically and suddenly. Bodily changes occur rapidly. Milk comes in and your breasts may be heavy and engorged. With exhaustion setting in, together with emotional factors joining the bandwagon of change, it is no wonder some mothers feel overwhelmed. With support these “blues” will go away in due course.
Post-Partum Depression (PPD)
However some of these mothers (about 15 – 20%), may experience a more severe form of “blues” known as Post-Partum Depression (PPD). Symptoms include interference with their ability to function on a daily basis. They may feel confused, scared, everything will annoy them. They will also feel resentment towards the baby or their partner. Post-Partum Depression can lead to anxiety too. New mothers with this illness may have suicidal thoughts and the inability to bond and care for their babies. This condition will last longer.
Don’t despair, you are not highly unusual, odd or aberrant. It is a common illness and it is completely treatable. Partners, family members and friends can play a very important role in helping PPD mothers overcome this illness.
Here’s How To Pull Yourself Up
1.Get Enough Rest
Get enough of rest and sleep, eat well and eat the right kinds of healthy food. Continue to take your pre-natal multivitamins and minerals. This is because the birth of a baby would have depleted your stock of vitamins and minerals from your body. Studies shows that it takes between one to two years to naturally replenish your body with these vitamins and minerals.
2. Build A Support Network
Ask for help immediately, don’t suffer in silence. Share your feelings with your doctor, family and friends. Join a support group over the internet. You will know that you are not alone, there are other new mothers who feel exactly the same way you do.
3.Talk To A Therapist
Talk through your feeling with a trained mental health professional like a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist. There are other specialists that would be able to help you as well. A counselor will work with you to understand your problems and point out your strengths while a clinical psychologist might be able to guide you through a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy session to help you change the way you think. However, if your PPD gets really serious, you should seek help from a psychiatrist who may prescribe some medications to you (please be careful if you are breast feeding).
The American Journal of Clinical Hypnotherapist, in their article in January 2007 reported that the use of hypnosis has successfully treated mothers with Post-Partum Depression without the use of drugs.
Hypnosis is actually a very natural state of mind. It is like getting a wonderful feeling of yourself, lying on your sofa, and being very comfortable and relaxed. At this time, with the help of a trained therapist, you will be able to focus more attention or visualize yourself becoming healthier, more confident, and instill self-belief or whatever it is that you want to be.
Thus, through hypnosis, a mother who is going through PPD will be able to address negative self-beliefs of self-doubt that she may have buried into her subconscious mind. She can tap into her own mind to bring out happy and positive memories or just a greater sense of achievement. This can help instill a stronger coping mechanism into her subconscious mind. It is also important that she becomes aware that feeling blue or feeling guilty is NOT her fault. Together with an experienced hypnotherapist, you can work on creating positive emotions as these will all come in handy when the going gets tough.
Not only would this help the mother, it would also strengthen the mother-child bond. Babies are able to pick up the mum’s emotions and they will react accordingly. A happy and positive mum will then lead to a happy and positive baby.