Positive Lessons are often the outcome of Postpartum Depression

One of the major themes of my book, “Happy Endings, New Beginnings: Navigating Postpartum Disorders,” is that positive lessons are often the outcome of perinatal illness. For that reason, I was pleased to read a recent blog post from Anastasia Pollock, MA, LCMHC, KSL, who is the clinical director of Life Stone Counseling Centers.

Through her work with women who experience PPD, she recognized that many of her patients were not only suffering from depression, but also a series of misguided beliefs, expectations, and practices that were hampering their lives. And, it was these negative affects, which likely were in place before pregnancy, that were now exacerbated with the demands of a new baby.

An additional insight from her work — and one that I cannot repeat enough — is that once those harmful behaviors are addressed, and new attitudes move in to take their place, positive outcomes can be a result of PPD. Rather than re-write Pollock’s excellent lessons, I’m quoting edited versions:

“1. I am doing too much.
Sometimes depression is our body’s way of telling us to slow down. This is particularly true when we don’t listen to our bodies regularly and take the cues it is giving us to say “no” to requests of others and take time for ourselves.”

“2. I need to take better care of myself.
A person who is being mindful of their self-care, and following through with it, is far less likely to experience continued depression. The tricky part is that time is now more limited with a new baby in the house. Self-care must be made a priority and supported by those in the support network so the mother can be successful in caring for herself and her child.” (My underlining, for emphasis.)

“3. I am too critical of myself.
Self-criticism is not usually constructive feedback. Treating yourself like a good friend is a great practice, whether you are suffering from depression or not. It is a great preventative tool for future bouts of depression.”

“4. I can readjust my expectations of myself. Postpartum depression is sometimes what forces us to readjust the expectations we have of ourselves as mothers, partners and women.”

“5. I can accept myself even though I am not (nor will I ever be) perfect.
There is no such thing as a perfect mom, partner, or human for that matter. Part of treating postpartum depression is helping the woman to accept the depression for what it is: a message from the brain and body, alerting her that changes must be made.”

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~ by ppdsus on August 25, 2014.

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