How to Help Your Clients Cope with Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum depression is a possible experience that affects thousands of women each year. However, many women and their partners rarely recognize the signs of postpartum depression, and some women understand the symptoms but do not have the resources to seek treatment. This situation can be problematic, as it can affect relationships and care of the baby and other children. Luckily, people who do seek help for postpartum depression can take steps for resolution.

Understanding postpartum depression

There are two types of postpartum depression. On the one hand, circumstantial symptoms of depression are called postpartum blues. These symptoms are expected to follow giving birth to one’s child. On the other hand, there may be more pervasive symptoms that evolve into a mood disorder called major depression with postpartum onset. Either one of these conditions may lead mothers to seek help in counseling.

Pregnant woman holding her stomach

One in five women who experience postpartum blues may also experience major depression with postpartum onset. Mothers might take antidepressants during this time and go through psychotherapy with a counselor to sort through their experiences. It is very unhealthy for women to ignore these symptoms and assume they will go away. The truth is that, in some instances, depressive symptoms may indeed be indicative of major depression disorder.

Counselors understand the differences between postpartum blues and postpartum major depression, so they know how to handle the different severity levels of postpartum depression. While some counselors may have a few different approaches, most will deal with these clients using similar tactics. How do counselors help clients with this condition feel better? Consider these tips:

  1. Encourage them to find support

    Professional counselors may have to screen new mothers to rule our major depression disorder following the birth of their children, but to address any neuro-vegetative symptoms, professional counselors also may help clients identify social support networks. The assumption to this strategy is that close relationships may be helpful and sometimes supportive to new mothers experiencing depressive symptoms.

    Having this support and understanding can help make the process easier. However, mothers with depression often attempt to isolate themselves because they are ashamed of feeling this way.
    It may also be wise for women with postpartum depression to join a support group. Here, with the help of a competent group leader or professional counselor, women can discuss their thoughts and emotions in a comfortable setting where others understand what they’re going through. Women also will be in different stages of this condition, from its very beginning to the tail end. These groups can teach women that it’s OK to open up and discuss their feelings, which may make them more comfortable being emotional outside the group, as well.

  2. Ask them to go easy on themselves

    A woman experiencing postpartum depression is often tough on herself. She might think she is unfit to be a mother and will feel guilty and worthless about being sad during what culture portrays as a happy time. That’s why counselors may tell women to loosen the reins. Instead of worrying about minor chores they need to accomplish, they simply should focus on a few tasks each day and let someone else worry about the rest.

  3. Advise them to take care of themselves

    Women experiencing postpartum depression often forget to take care of themselves. But self-care is an important supplement to the counseling process. These women need an adequate amount of sleep, as a lack of sleep can amplify uneasy emotions. They also should take time for themselves each day without the baby. Some examples of ways to spend this time include enjoying a favorite hobby, watching a television show or taking a walk outside. Getting some fresh air and sunshine can prove helpful for women trying to grapple with a slew of emotions and feelings.

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