black-ish: postpartum mental health

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“I guess this means I need to nurture this baby myself…by giving him as much skin to skin contact as possible.”

My little doula heart flutters.  This boy was raised well.  The older children jumping in to help around the house is sweet.  Like Diane writing bitchy thank yous for the baby shower gifts.

Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) take many forms.

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“But I don’t need this many potatoes!”

Are you perseverating over the temperature of the baby’s milk, your baby’s breathing?  Are you not sleeping when you can?  (That’s my red flag question.)  That’s a heightened amount of anxiety getting in the way of caring for yourself so you can be a nurturing mother.  Are you not connecting to your child and telling yourself you’re a horrible mother?

“I keep asking her but she keeps saying she’s fine.”  The dad, Dre, is confused about how to help and why this is randomly happening with their fifth child.  He tries a gentle, not-subtle approach of taking a postpartum depression quiz in a woman’s magazine together.  TOGETHER.  So it doesn’t single her out.  Crying a leetle.  And men get PMADs too.

“Question 17.  Do you think your baby is cursed?  Yes.”

As a doctor and person caught in the thick of their own depresssion, Bow is relucant to go, but Dre gently pushes an appointment.  His fix-it mentality is both helpful and a burden to Bow as not every issue needs to be solved by your partner.  “I feel so powerless.”

Lol at the psychiatrist refusing the magazine quiz for her records.  If you want to take the gold standard, which I give to all my clients, and then share your results with a medical professional because you cannot ethically interpret the results depending upon your profession…there’s the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale (EPDS):

http://perinatology.com/calculators/Edinburgh%20Depression%20Scale.htm

Psychiatrist: “Postpartum depression is a mood disorder and it’s not something you can just power through.”

Your brain chemicals need help!  Like if you developed a physical condition postpartum and needed antibiotics.  Yes, you can still breastfeed on medication.

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Ooh, setting the boundaries with the in-laws and Dre backing his wife up.  Get healthy without all that noise!  Prenatally, I see the most fear around interfering parents and in-laws so I encourage both partners to agree on a postpartum plan for visitors and assistance.

 

Here’s some ignorant commentary you may hear:

“She’s weak.”

“It just sounds like…the baby blues.”

“Are you sure you want to leave her alone with that child?”

“Madeup disease”

“She’s doing drugs and nursing my grandson?!”

 

The episode was so textbook (not a complaint) that it should be required viewing for every childbirth class.

 

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