What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression is a type of depressive disorder where disruptions in mood are present during pregnancy or following delivery that might be present up to a year.
What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
Individuals who experience Postpartum Depression may present with the following symptoms:
- Feeling intensely sad or depressed for most of the day, nearly everyday
- Lacking interest in activities normally enjoyed
- Not feeling connected or bonded to their baby
- Experiencing a loss of energy and fatigue
- Eating a lot more or less than usual
- Sleeping a lot more or less than usual
- Feeling guilty or worthless as a parent
- Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Having frightening thoughts about harming oneself and/or their baby
When is it time to get help?
Having a child is a major life event and it creates biological, emotional, familial, social, lifestyle, and financial changes. The new parental role and/or having a newborn is commonly linked with sudden changes in mood and sleep disturbances known as “baby blues” or “maternity blues”. However, these symptoms are not considered a mental disorder and it differs from postpartum depression, which causes significant problems in relationships with one’s partner, family and friends, leisure activities, and overall daily functioning.
If you have been experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression that last more than two weeks, it might be time to seek professional help. It is important to note that many women who experience postpartum depression will also have symptoms of anxiety (e.g., excessive worrying, irritability, restlessness, and/or panic attacks), which can also be addressed with professional support.
How can CBT help Postpartum Depression?
Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based practice that is widely used in the treatment of depressive disorders, including postpartum depression. CBT will help mothers understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and physical reactions. CBT will allow mothers to identify their negative thinking patterns about themselves and evaluate whether these thoughts are realistic, as well as change underlying assumptions and expectations about motherhood that might not be helpful. Treatment for mothers with postpartum depression may include:
- Identifying and challenging depressive thoughts and thinking traps about oneself as a parent, their baby, their situation, or about their future
- Improving mood by increasing both pleasurable and responsible activities through achievable goals
- Problem-solving new challenges associated with motherhood
- Learning coping strategies and tools to better manage distress
- Regulating emotions through relaxation and mindfulness-based techniques
- Improving self-care through balanced nutrition, exercise, sleep, and increased social supports
How can the team at Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy help?
At the Oakville Centre for Cognitive Therapy, we have trained psychologists with experience in supporting mothers during pregnancy and after childbirth with depression. If you have symptoms of Postpartum Depression and are interested in receiving evidence-based treatment, please call us at 905-338-1397 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via our Contact Us page.