This Isn’t What I Expected – Overcoming Postpartum Depression (8)

The eighth chapter is titled “No One Understands Me”:  Getting the Support You Need.”  This chapter has some self-help check lists to take to see if you need more support.  It provides a lot of advice about establishing and keeping a good social support system.

–  “Not only can negative thought patterns make you feel worse emotionally, they can cause you to withdraw from other people, adding self-imposed seclusion to the natural tendency to stay home after childbirth.  Social support is a powerful factor affecting the severity of stress during the postpartum period.  Social support is a criticial factor in the origin, course, and outcome of PPD.  The lack of social support does not cause PPD all by itself, but it does contribute to a mother’s vulnerability to PPD, and improved social support is a key part of PPD treatment and recovery.”

–  “A lot of women are used to doing everything for themselves, and that’s exactly how they like it.  But the truth is, right now you need to learn how to ask for help.”

–  “Many women who used to enjoy the give-and-take of a supportive friendship find that the combination of being home with a baby and having PPD gets in the way.  If asking for help frightens you, stop and ask yourself how you feel with a friend or loved one asks you for help.  Do you judge, reject, or belittle her?  Think about it.”

–  “Women frequently find it much easier to give social support than to receive it.  Women’s difficulty asking for help is what the term “codependency” refers to:  caring for everyone else’s needs without regard for your own.  Some women are so used to giving to others that they no longer even know how to get in touch with their own needs, let alone ask for help.”

–  “Codependency is a new term for a very ancient way of relating:  Women have been the traditional caretakers in most cultures since the beginning of time.  Society tells us it is feminine to support others.  Think of traditional female roles:  mother, nurse, teacher, secretary – they all involve being selfless, nurturing others, and putting one’s own needs last.  For some women, adopting the caretaking role is an automatic reaction, often a survival mechanism left over from growing up in a dysfunctional family.  Being the caretaker is predictable – it puts you in control and protects you from feeling disappointed if someone lets you down.”

–  “Part of successfully getting support involves asking the right person for what you need.  Since the people in your life have strengths and weaknesses, it is best to target a specific need to a specific person.  The idea of a support network is key:  Studies indicate that women with multiple sources of support adjust to the postpartum period more easily than women with a single source or none at all.”

–  “Isolation is a dangerous condition during this time of transition.  Avoid surrendering to feelings of isolation – getting out of the house every day must be a top priority right now.”

Some ideas for overcoming isolation:
–  Invite a friend over to watch TV, or take a walk together
–  Meet a friend for lunch
–  Join a mother’s group
–  Start attending a mother-baby exercise class
–  See what is happening at your church or synagogue
–  Go to the park or playground in your neighborhood and start up a conversation with another mother
–  Bring the baby to your husband’s office for lunch
–  Join or start a babysitting cooperative exchange
–  Attend a support group for women with PPD
–  Put up a sign at the grocery store:  “Mother of infant looking for same to start play group”

If you are local, in the Tucson area, I am currently moderating a Mom’s Group … North / West Tucson Moms Support Group … check it out!

~ by cmb0414 on June 12, 2010.

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