What to Do If You Think You Have Postpartum Depression
Follow these steps to get the support and PPD treatment you may need.
Unfortunately, at a time when you feel the rockiest, you might have to take the initiative to get help. “Often, doctors don’t know the right questions to ask, and women aren’t telling their doctor how bad they really feel,” says therapist Karen Kleiman, coauthor of Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts. If you are suffering in silence, take the following steps.
Make a doctor’s appointment.
It could be with your family physician, midwife, obstetrician, or therapist. You can also look for a reproductive psychiatrist, a doctor who specializes in mood or psychiatric conditions related to reproductive cycles.
Clearly communicate how awful you feel.
You might say something like, “I’m worrying so much that it keeps me up all night. Can you please help?” If your health-care provider doesn’t take your concerns seriously, see someone else.
Stick with your treatment.
Your doctor might suggest psychotherapy, a new regimen for stress relief, or medication. Most meds are safe if you’re breastfeeding.
Know that you’re not alone.
Finding friends who empathize is crucial. To search for online and local support groups and health professionals experienced with postpartum issues, contact Postpartum Support International (postpartum.net). “Hearing that your condition has a name and you are not crazy can be a tremendous relief,” says Tamar Gur, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, in Columbus. “I tell women that this is a common condition that’s very treatable.”