How Do You Prepare for Birth AFTER Surviving a Postpartum Mood Disorder?
Lauren Hale openly shared her painful (yet heartening!) journey through two bouts of Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in this episode of The Mommy-Muse Is In: Empowering Your Journey into Motherhood, Unexpected Blessing. Even if you didn’t catch the interview (and you still can!), I’m passing on critical highlights with excellent alchemical tips for every woman preparing for birth following recovering from a postpartum mood disorder:
- Pick up Karen Kleiman’s book, What Am I Thinking? Having a Baby After Postpartum Depression.
- Pregnant on Prozac, by Shoshana Bennett, is essential. Anybody who is pregnant and on an antidepressant or some sort of medication for psychiatric conditions needs to read this book.
- The primary thing you really need to focus on after a PMD (postpartum mood disorder), when you’re pregnant, is yourself.
- Educate those around you about postpartum mood disorders. Share with them what your triggers are, what you need to empower yourself and to make sure you don’t get stressed out.
- Take care of yourself; make sure you arrange or childcare for the older child after the new baby arrives. That way, you’re not overwhelmed with, “Oh my gosh, now I have two of them. What am I supposed to do?”
- Arrange little breaks for yourself.
- Stock up on gift certificates for local restaurants. Buy one a week while you’re pregnant. That way, you have gift cards for easy meals you or your partner can run out and get. You don’t have to cook and you have the opportunity to actually getting out of the house (if you wish), at no cost to you at that point in time.
- I put together a postpartum action plan, which your listeners and readers are more than welcome to contact me for. It included my triggers, my symptoms, and successful and unsuccessful treatments. It also included my doctor, therapist, emergency contact names, and numbers. I listed people with whom my condition could be discussed and people with whom I would rather not have know anything. I also listed helpful websites and resources so that my family members could go to these websites and resources and educate themselves, if they were wondering, “Is she acting normal, is this something I need to be concerned about?” One of those websites was Karen Kleiman’s Postpartum Stress. She has a wonderful section for family and friends. She also has a postpartum pact at her website that couples can print out and go over together.
- Educate yourself about your treatment options. Make sure the doctor you see is on board with what treatment options you know work for you. You don’t want to change your treatment to something that may or may not work for you when you know you have a sure-fire treatment that was successful for you last time around. It may not be successful this time around, depending on what you develop, but if you know there is something that was successful and your doctor is like, “No, I think we’re going to go ahead and try this, no matter what happens,” you probably need to find another doctor.
Notice ALL these alchemical tips focus on doing things ahead of time to help alleviate stress after the baby comes. This way you have an effective action plan that your family, your friends, your doctor, and all the healthcare workers you are working with know about, so everyone is on board. The support network is already set up to make it as smooth of a transition as possible. For additional information on postpartum mood disorders (and conditions that mimic them), be sure to read Postpartum Mood Disorders: Are You Crazy or Normal? and Under Cover: What’s Masquerading as Postpartum Depression?