Karen Kleiman, MSW
Postpartum Depression Expert
Karen Kleiman, MSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, co-author of This Isn't What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression and author of The Postpartum Husband: Practical Solutions for Living with Postpartum Depression as well as What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression, has been working with women and their families for over 20 years.
A native of Saint Louis, MO., Karen has lived in the Philadelphia area since 1982 with her two children and her husband. After graduating in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her Masters in Social Work, she began her practice as a psychotherapist, specializing in women's issues. In 1988 she founded The Postpartum Stress Center where she provides treatment for prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety.
In addition to her clinical practice, Karen provides training and inservices for healthcare professionals as well as consultation and supervision to therapists. She frequently lectures and continues to write on the topic of postpartum adjustment. Her work has been featured in local and national magazines, numberous radio shows, local and national television shows, "Inside Edition", The Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw.
Currently, Karen is affiliated with a number of on-line sites, where she writes articles, facilitates support chats and addresses concerns of postpartum and pregnant women. In addition to her work at The Postpartum Stress Center, Karen maintains a general private practice where she treats individuals, couples and families:
"...Women are rarely informed about the range of emotions that can develop after the birth of their baby. When they experience difficulty, they are often silenced by well-intentioned healthcare providers or family members: 'all mothers experience this,' or 'this is normal,' or 'you'll feel better if you get out of the house,' or 'find a hobby.' This advice doesn't work. In fact, it can make her feel worse, misunderstood and isolated. As her usual coping skills diminish, and her feelings of shame and guilt abound, her depression deepens."
Karen explains, "It is this scenario that has compelled me to do the work I do. To reassure mothers that they are they not alone, that there is help available and contrary to what they may think, they do NOT have to continue to feel hopeless and sad. We live in a society that does not make it easy to admit that being a mother sometimes doesn't feel so good. Sometimes, it's hard, it's exhausting, it's overwhelming and it's just not always what we feel like doing. And even in the absence of a clinical depression, motherhood can challenge a woman in a way she has not previously known. Women need a private place they can go to talk, to cry, to be angry, to be by themselves, to rediscover who they are, what they need and how they can get it. A place where they are safe to disclose their most secret and painful thoughts. A place where they no longer have to prove how strong they are, how perfect they are, how in control they are. A place where they can reclaim their lost self and find the courage to explore where they are and where they would like to go from this point forward. The Postpartum Stress Center offers them this opportunity."
Q & A's: