"Women decide to have or to not have another baby for a variety of reasons. For you who decide to go forward with another pregnancy after postpartum depression, the path from a previous experience with depression to the unknown events that surround another pregnancy can feel insurmountable. My purpose in this book is to make this next journey a bit less scary for you, to arm you with information and the confidence to know you are moving in the direction that is best for you, and to support your own ability to make a choice that is right for you and your family." - Karen Kleiman, M.S.W. from What am I Thinking?
Postpartum depression remains the most misdiagnosed, and under-treated complication after pregnancy. Women remain terrified of their symptoms and are most often reluctant to disclose them to doctors for fear of judgment, or worse, fear that their baby will be taken away.
For women who have previously experienced postpartum depression (PPD), and are considering another pregnancy, this is particularly scary. What if it's worse this next time? What if I really do something to hurt my baby? What if I never get better? The risk of another depression after a subsequent pregnancy is significant and if not treated properly, the depression can indeed be worse.
What am I Thinking? provides these women with the much needed support and concise information they need to proceed through this apprehensive time with confidence and less anxiety. Having this information will enable women and their partners to feel more in control of this very unpredictable journey and equally important, it will prepare the groundwork for a smoother postpartum recovery. One of the hallmarks of this book is the detailed ways it helps the woman coordinate the healthcare she is receiving from various disciplines in order to maximize her treatment options and empower her to be her own best advocate. During these days when healthcare constraints make time and individual attention less and less available, this book provides the tools a woman needs to manage this uncertain course she faces as well as its outcome, as much as possible.
Women who have experienced postpartum depression before know very well how much is at stake here. If healthcare providers were as concerned as they should be, they would make this book mandatory reading for all women with a history of PPD who are considering pregnancy.
Karen Kleiman covers topics in her book based on the voices of many women she works with in her practice. These are the worries, fears and concerns that are common among women who come to her, and how they begin to gain control:
- What if I get depressed again?
- What if I get anxious again?
- What if I really go crazy this time?
- Reviewing your options
- Understanding PPD and your risk factors
- Taking a history
- Assessing your resources
- How have you changed?
- Anticipating medication questions
- The wisdom of your decision
- Fortifying your resources
- The impact on your family
- Making a postpartum plan
- Great expectations
- and an appendix from a husband who's been there and back and there again...
Included is a very enlightening and helpful chapter that discusses marriage and the impact PPD has on the family. It seems that in some cases, the more supportive the partner is, the more guilt many women feel about their depression. In some cases for a husband, it can be difficult to "say the right thing:"
- If you tell her you love her, she won't believe you.
- If you tell her she's a good mother, she'll think you're just saying that to make her feel better.
- If you tell her she's beautiful, she'll assume you're lying.
- If you tell her not to worry about anything, she'll think you have no idea how bad she feels.
- If you tell her you'll come home early to help her, she'll feel guilty.
- If you tell her you have to work late, she'll think you don't care.
The author takes important steps to diminish these scenarios, and offers easy options to work through unfinished tasks of letting your husband know what he did last time that worked or didn't work. The tools of communication and teamwork are set for the couple so that these roadblocks are removed now, creating a much better working surface for both partners.
The advice in this book is not only amazingly resourceful, helpful and supportive, but time tested and right on target. As you prepare for your next birth, you will gain a sense of mastery that will be a well you will drawn from to maximize personal control and minimize any feelings of helplessness. StorkNet highly advises anyone worried about PPD a second time around to read
What am I Thinking?
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a medical condition that can be treated successfully. PPD is a clinical depression that can occur any time immediately after birth up to a year postpartum. The disease is not discriminatory and can affect anyone at any time. Women who are at higher risk for PPD include women who have a genetic predisposition to depression with a history of mood disorders in their family, they have experienced a previous episode of depression, they have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, they have had an early childhood loss; particularly the death of a parent, and life stressors such as a change in jobs, move to a new city, loss of a loved one, divorce and separation. These risk factors do not cause depression, rather they increase the likelihood of it happening.
"What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby after Postpartum Depression", written by Karen Kleiman, MSW, offers valuable advice and support for this very traumatic disease that afflicts 15-20% of all women after the birth of a child.
Karen Kleiman is a licensed clinical social worker, author of The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression (Xlibris, 2001) and co-author of This Isn't What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression (Bantam Books, 1994). She founded The Postpartum Stress Center in Rosemont, Pennsylvania and has been executive director of the center for the past 16 years. For more than 20 years, Ms. Kleiman has been working with women and their families. Please visit postpartumstress.com.
Be sure to read our interview with Karen R. Kleiman, M.S.W. Visit our Postpartum Depression Cubby with more questions and answers by Ms. Kleiman.
• What am I Thinking?
• What am I Thinking?
• What am I Thinking?