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     If you asked me while I was pregnant what my plans were for feeding my little one once she arrived, I adamantly responded with “we’re going to pump”. Period. End of discussion. My reasons were, and still are, justified: I wanted my husband to be able to bond with baby in that way, I didn’t want to be the one having to do all the night feedings while my husband lay snoring next to me, I didn’t even really want my husband to see me like that (how could he ever see me as a woman – and not just a mom – ever again?), and, after seeing the invisible tether between my friends’ boobs and their babies determining what they could do and when they could do it, it was decided that breastfeeding was just not for me. These reasons may seem stupid and selfish to some, but perhaps relateable to others. Little did I know, this was just the beginning to my - our - journey.
   

     My husband and I planned a home-water-hypno birth, and after learning how beneficial immediate breastfeeding is for baby and mama, we decided to have a little give in our plan and breastfeed following our birth. And this is where it all changed. That instinctual latch, those first gulps, the look in her big blue eyes, and those amazing “I’m really a mom” feelings.    

    To say our journey has always been this blissful and easy would be an outright lie. We definitely had our ups and downs. My milk took abnormally long to come in, our little one lost too much weight, then took to hour long feedings, and I continued to question whether or not every little thing I was doing was right. Many of the feelings behind my initial plan to abstain came flooding back: Sitting up in bed, half asleep, breastfeeding every 2 hours, having to seclude myself in another room for however long it took for baby to be satiated whenever company came over - how could they not? I even remember saying to my husband, in a stressed out state, “This is why I didn’t want to breastfeed!”

    And then something clicked. I took a deep breath, decided to stop stressing about how much she was getting, how long she was feeding for, how often she was feeding, why she was feeding, and just…let it happen! I was also fortunate enough to stumble upon some amazing articles online which helped me solidify my positive relationship with breastfeeding, and it was like the fog cleared:

“Easy, long term breastfeeding involves forgetting about the “breast” and the “feeding” (and the duration, and the interval, and the transmission of the right nutrients in the right amounts, and the difference between nutritive and non-nutritive suckling needs, all of which form the focus of artificial milk pamphlets) and focusing instead on the relationship. Let’s all tell mothers that we hope they won’t “breastfeed” – that the real joys and satisfaction of the experience begin when they stop “breastfeeding” and start mothering at the breast.”(1)

    The concept of “mothering at the breast”, along with understanding that this act is about more than an exchange of nutrients and calories, honestly changed my life. I began following such online campaigns as #milkmemo from Breastfeeding USA, which posts encouraging and uplifting photos and comments for moms who may be struggling with or questioning their breastfeeding experience. I began to feel confident, relaxed, and in love with this new relationship.
 
    We are now six and a half months into our breastfeeding journey, have begun to introduce food, and have no plans of ending our relationship with breastfeeding anytime soon. I am now the mama who sees breastfeeding as more than a meal. I am the mama who leans into the carseat to breastfeed while the hubby drives. I am the comfort breastfeeding mama. I am the co-sleeping, nurse-all-night-if-you-need-to mama. But more importantly, I am a mama who has learned that not everything works out how you planned, that feelings change, and then change again, and perhaps once more. That every woman and baby have the right to experience feedings (and any of the other myriad of things to do with parenting!) however they feel is appropriate for them and their family, and that these decisions should be respected, even if they change several times. That’s life. And that is most definitely parenthood. I’m sure this is just the first of many things my little one will teach me.

(1) Wiessinger, Diane. "Watch Your Language." Journal of Human Lactation 12.1 (1996) Web. 27 April 2014

Published in Feeding Baby
Friday, 09 August 2013 14:14

Breastfeeding With Lip Tie

When my daughter Jade was born just over a year ago, I planned on exclusively breastfeeding. I had successfully breastfed her sister Josie for 14 months, at which point Josie had self-weaned. I loved breastfeeding and the bond that it gave me with Josie. Breastfeeding Jade was something that I was looking forward to.

When I had Josie, I had minimal problems over the first couple of weeks, and I expected that I was an old pro and Jade and I would have no problems at all.

I couldn’t have been more wrong!

In those early days, breastfeeding Jade was very painful, but I assumed it was just my nipples getting used to breastfeeding. I was certain that by the end of the second week, I would be just fine. Instead, things just got worse. My nipples were cracked and bleeding. I slathered on the Lansinoh and walked around topless to the dismay of my five year old daughter. Still, things were not getting better. Every time Jade ate, I was in excruciating pain. Every time she ate, the sores were opened up again.

My midwife came to visit when I finally admitted that I wasn’t the successful breastfeeding mother that I thought I would be. I actually thought I had a milk bleb. My midwife took one look at me and said that it wasn’t a blister. That little bump I could see was all that was left of my nipple. She said that it was the worst nipple damage that she had ever seen. She advised me to express from that side until it healed, and to feed my baby the milk that I had expressed. 

I was stunned.

Having a newborn is such an emotional time. The reality was not matching up to my expectations. I had to go back to work when Josie was six weeks old. I expressed until she was nine months old and I was able to quit my job. I absolutely did not want to express to feed Jade, and in my irrational, just-had-a-baby mind, I was a failure. Never mind that Jade would be getting my milk. It was coming from a bottle! Making matters worse was that she struggled to latch onto a bottle. But I soldiered on, determined that expressing was going to be a short term fix and that I would be able to breastfeed without pain soon.

I wanted an answer. I saw nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants. I called breastfeeding helplines. The consensus was that Jade’s mouth was too small to make a good latch. I was assured that once she grew, her mouth would get bigger and breastfeeding would not be painful.

In the meantime I became very anxious every time I thought about feeding Jade. It hurt. I honestly would call it excruciating pain. I was in tears multiple times a day. I thought about quitting.  Even though I was super committed to making it work, if I hadn’t had a good experience with Josie I don’t think that I would have had the confidence or desire to continue with Jade. But I had taken on the mindset that I was a breastfeeding mother, and there was no way I was going to give up. I kept reflecting on the experience I had with Josie, and I knew that breastfeeding could be euphoric. I was determined to do anything I could to feel that with Jade. I affirmed to myself that I could breastfeed successfully.

Over time, my nipples both healed. Jade’s mouth grew and she wasn’t damaging me as she fed anymore. However, I knew that her latch still wasn’t right. It didn’t look like Josie’s latch. Her top lip was always tucked under. She was often gassy and fussy and I was still uncomfortable feeding her. At this point she was 10 weeks old.

I decided to search the internet for “baby’s top lip tucked under” and I found myself on a forum where mothers were discussing lip tie. I had never heard of lip tie. I know that the nurses, midwives, and lactation consultants had all checked Jade for tongue tie and said that her tongue was fine. But lip tie? Nobody had mentioned that. Lip tie, I learned, was when skin at the top of the lip is attached tightly to the upper gum. There was a link in the forum to images of lip tie.  I looked at the photo. Jade was in my arms. I flipped up her top lip, and she most certainly had lip tie. 

I cried. I was so relieved to finally know what was ‘wrong’. Then I was angry. It was frustrating that nobody had caught it. I expected that lactation consultants would have checked for this structural problem. But I couldn’t dwell on the negative. I had to switch my focus to fixing the problem. I decided that I could cope with the discomfort, but I had to determine whether this lip tie was going to cause Jade any long term problems.  The forum had led me to Dr. Lawrence Kotlow’s website. I studied his website, fact sheets, and videos. The research I did led me to believe that there was a risk of dental and speech problems if I left the lip tie. Dr. Kotlow was a dentist and he corrected lip tie with a laser. I started calling dentists in my area. None of them would perform the procedure.

I took Jade to the doctor to confirm that she had lip tie and to find out my options for treatment. I was told that I could take her to a pediatric surgeon. I did not want to put my baby under general anesthetic. I started to look into dentists in Sydney, which was about a three hour drive from where we live in Canberra, Australia. I was able to find a dentist that would use a laser to cut the lip tie. I sent the photo of Jade’s lip tie to the dentist and he confirmed that it was lip tie and that he could correct it. We made an appointment for a couple of weeks later.

My husband and I made the trek to Sydney. The procedure, though quick, was very difficult for us as parents. Jade hated being restrained, and Jon had to hold her very still on his lap.  There was more blood than I expected, and Jade refused to feed as she was very angry, numbed, and possibly sore.  What took a few minutes felt like hours, but eventually Jade calmed down and had a good breastfeed.

I wish I could say that this was the start of euphoric breastfeeding. It wasn’t. Because Jade was already three months old, she was set in her ways. On top of that, I was overly full many times and she wasn’t able to latch well unless I expressed first. The damage she had done to my nipple led me to have what the doctor said was a cyst from the poor latch. This ‘cyst’ remained until Jade was ten months old. She bit it one day as she was slipping off my breast and it opened and drained.  Finally I could feed comfortably.

Yes, it took ten months to breastfeed comfortably. Jade has just turned one, and I hope she doesn’t wean as early as her sister did. I’d like to enjoy our breastfeeding journey for a little while longer, while it’s still enjoyable.

I hope that by sharing this story I can raise awareness of lip tie. I think that if Jade’s lip tie had been caught earlier, we would have had a much better breastfeeding experience. I also know that if I hadn't previously breastfed successfully it's very likely that I would have given up due to the excruciating pain. I hope that by sharing my story I can prevent other mothers from unnecessarily giving up on breastfeeding, or from going through what I went through. I believe that when there are problems with attachment, health care providers should be checking for tongue and lip tie. I am happy to report that I was able to share Jade's photo with my midwife, who in turn shared it with her colleagues. I share the photo of Jade's lip tie with nurses and midwives when I get the opportunity. One by one, I know that my story and Jade's photo can make a difference in the lives of mothers. 

To learn more about lip tie, visit Dr. Kotlow's website - www.kidsteeth.com or see his fact sheet on tongue and lip tie here: http://www.kiddsteeth.com/articles/ttfactssheet.pdf

 

 

Published in Feeding Baby

Parenting is such a thing that everybody thinks she knows how to do it perfectly, especially if it not about her own child. Breastfeeding is also a ‘topic of everybody’ – when, where, how, how long and so on. It can be very confusing if everybody provides different information, and the situation is more problematic if they belong to your close family.

Here I’d like to collect some views about breastfeeding which can be useful in the first few months. I also had to face these problems, but now I know what to do to give the best to my child.

  • Challenges of the first few days – when you’re expecting your baby, you read a lot of things (e.g. magazines, Internet). There breastfeeding is shown as a very beautiful and happy thing without any difficulties (and I can tell you it will be!). Then your baby is born and you have to do it alone (if not, you are very lucky), you realize that it can hurt for the first time, you can’t provide so much milk as you imagined. But calm down. Your baby knows what she needs. Just lie down with her, leave her decide when she wants to connect to you. Don’t be surprised if she wants it all day. After the first few days it will be a lot easier. Don’t forget a child will not die of hunger on her own decision. (For the pain concentrated lanolin is a good choice.) 
  • Timing – (In Hungary) this is one of the biggest controversial topics. Unfortunately a lot of mothers watch the clock to decide whether to feed their baby or not. They think that it is not good for the baby’s tummy if they nurse them more often than in every 3 or 4 hours. But if you breastfeed your baby in harmony with your baby’s need, your life will be easier, your baby will be more balanced than ever.
     
  • Quantity measuring – In my opinion one of the biggest enemies of a well-feeded baby (the other is the clock) is baby scale. Can you imagine that you eat the same amount of food for every meal? Sometimes the baby is hungrier, sometimes she is just thirsty, or my personal favorite is when she just wants you. I call is ‘comfort-boobing’. (There can be cases when measuring is important for the doctor, but not in a case of a healthy child). Don’t forget a baby won’t die of hunger on her own decision. When our health visitor asks how much my daughter eats, I always say so much that she is not hungry.
     
  • Developmental leaps – There are stages in the baby’s life, when she wants more milk for her growing. It occurs after two weeks, three months, and six months. These are the developmental leaps. Your only task is to meet her needs. Milk producing is based on a demand-supply principle. The more you nurse, the more milk you can give her.
     
  • Breastfeeding in public – For the first time I would say that it depends on your temperament. Then for the second time I would ask: Do you eat only at home? If my baby wants to breastfeed, I give her the chance to do it any when and anywhere. You just need to wear clothes which are suitable for it. A textile diaper or a baby sling can help to wrap you. At last but not least I guess on the beach you show a lot more than during breastfeeding. Of course it is not necessary to make it a public event, but within certain borders it won’t disturb the others and the others won’t disturb you.
     
  • Vomiting babies – It can happen that you see back the unconsumed milk from your baby. Sometimes it seems a big amount but try to pour some to the floor, it will seem more than it really is. To avoid it with your baby, start breastfeeding for the first signs, she won’t be hogging it, and she won’t swallow so much air. Don’t forget, babies are born with immature digestive system, the older they are the less problems you will have with feeding.

I’d like to share two other problems with you with which I don’t have personal experience but I heard about them or some of my friends experienced them. I hope these will also be useful for you.

  • Mastitis – If you experience sudden high temperature and symptoms like flu, it must be mastitis. There are three types: supersaturation, infectious mastitis and non-infectious mastitis [1]. Most of the mothers usually experience mastitis because their breasts are full. The best thing to do is breastfeeding. Fortunately I’ve never had one, but some of my friends had. According to them choosing the best position can help a lot, even you fell it’s funny. For example you lie down your baby on her back, you go on your hands and feet and try breastfeeding this way. Gravitation will also help you. If you feel that it is needed and makes you feel better, try to use a breast pump. If you won’t get better within 24 hours, consult with your doctor because in case of infectious mastitis you’ll need some antibiotics!
     
  • Baby strike against breastfeeding – If a baby doesn’t want to breastfeed, it is not likely that she wants to stop it, just she has something uncomfortable feelings against it. The reasons can be various: pain because of illness, pain because of baby teeth, uncomfortable position during breastfeeding, changed daily routine, mom’s period come back [2], etc. Don’t be afraid, she will stop striking after a few days. During the strike try to help her. Start breastfeeding for the first signs and do it in a calm place. My children have never been on strike, but my little daughter dislikes eating in the living-room because it is noisy for her. Try new positions. My son loved eating in the bed, but my daughter’s favorite is armpit-position. The most important rule is: Think about breastfeeding as if it was the ONLY way to feed your children. This will also help you solving the problem.
     

This is not a complete list, but I’d try to collect the most common problems for the first few months. But it is not an impossible mission to overcome them. Believe me I’m a practicing mother of a 2-year-old boy and a 3-month-old girl and I’m a breastfeeding fan!

[1]Molnár, Á.(2012, September). A mellgyulladás kezelése (Treating mastitis), Anyák lapja, p14-16

[2]Mohrbacher, N. Szopási sztrájk (Strike against breastfeeding).  Retrieved July 17, 2013 from http://www.lll.hu/fuzetek/szopasi_sztrajk

Disclaimer: On occasion, a mother/baby breastfeeding dyad is be compromised by a medical situation. If your intuition tells you baby's signs are needing extra attention, please do what you believe is best for you and baby. Good sources for special circumstances in breastfeeding include LLLI and kellymom (do you have a good resource? Comment below!). Please don't give up, you can breastfeed as long as you would like! 

Published in Feeding Baby

For those of you who are not familiar with my writing, I am a 29 year old mother of two little boys (1.5 and 3). I worked full time (while pursuing my undergrad psychology degree) while I was pregnant with #1.  After #2 was born, I stopped working (since it would have cost me more than I made to put the kids in daycare) and became a stay at home mom.  I am now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. From the incredible amount of research and reading I’ve done as a result of my schooling, I’ve become passionate about the challenges of becoming a mom, especially when it comes to postpartum depression (PPD).   

During my first pregnancy, I lost my libido, and it has never fully recovered (more than 3 years later.)  This (among a number of other things) contributed to serious relationship issues with my husband (though we have since been able to work through our struggles and have devoted ourselves to improving communication and understanding).  What does any of this have to do with PPD?  Well among the diagnostic criteria for PPD, a libido that has not returned after you have been cleared to have sex again by your doctor is included.  Of course, everyone’s comfort level with postpartum sex is going to differ, especially if there was tearing that needed stitching.  That being said, if your baby is now a few months old and you still have no interest whatsoever in sex, it could be a sign that something else is going on.

The following is a list of diagnostic criteria (symptoms) for PPD.  The bold symptoms, even if they occur alone (but very frequently occur with other symptoms) are a major signal that a woman is experiencing some level of PPD.  The symptoms that are not in bold are still important.  I never had thoughts of harming myself or my children, nor did I have problems bonding with them; however, I did isolate myself and have excessive feelings of being tired, sad, and overly emotional about seemingly insignificant things even after my son was over a month old (and in general, your body’s hormones have leveled back out.) 

  • Difficulty caring for baby’s basic needs
  • Difficulty bonding with baby
  • Shame or guilt (even if there is “no reason”)
  • Loss of interest in activities for pleasure
  • Loss of libido (after being cleared by M.D. or O.B. for resuming sexual activity)
  • Social isolation
  • Exhaustion and fatigue (beyond the normal adjustment period)
  • Thoughts of self harm, or harming the baby

Many of these symptoms are also symptoms of depression in people who are not postpartum, but have been modified according to research with women who are experiencing depressive symptoms and who are also postpartum.  It is estimated that up to 85% of women will experience some sort of mood disturbance after delivery, but most of this is contributed to the physical, emotional, and social adjustment that comes with having a baby.  Anywhere from 7% to 25% of women may develop PPD (these numbers are estimated because most researchers believe that PPD is underreported).  Even if you have only two or 3 of the less severe symptoms, you may be suffering from PPD if you have been experiencing them within four weeks of giving birth and the severity of the symptoms is not declining as time passes.

I recently completed a project for my human development class on the potential impact of PPD on child development.  While doing my research, I discovered a wonderful paper on PPD which attempted to analyze the current state of research and views of PPD.  The author completed her own study and subsequently came up with a number of recommendations to enhance the way we diagnose, treat, an ultimately view mothers with PPD.  The most important aspect of Mauthner’s research was that while it may be physiologically and emotionally “normal” to have a challenging adjustment period after giving birth, we must normalize and validate each woman’s experience without causing women to assume that it is normal to be depressed.  Indeed the drastic hormone changes that come with labor and delivery can wreak havoc on one’s body and mind, but by saying that PPD should be seen as a “normal” experience leaves women feeling as though they are inherently damaged.  

The shift in American society to small nuclear families means that instead of growing up with child bearing women around us, we often grow up seeing a mainstream, medicalized view of birth.  Instead of navigating pregnancy with our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, and friends around to help, we are often left to our own devices while still working, going to school, tending to other children, and all of the other roles that often come with being a woman, and we often do so alone.  

Mauthner sat down with 40 women and asked them to describe their experiences in an attempt to better understand and redefine PPD.  The following bullet points are a “nutshell” version of the meaningful information from this paper.

  • Mothers with PPD frequently experience a conflict between their idea about the mother they should be and the mother they actually are.
  • The expectation of culture is that mother’s should be happy post partum.  This often leads to mothers remaining silent about their struggles because when they do reveal their feelings, they are often invalidated or criticized.  This may lead to increased feelings of social isolation and withdraw.
  • Mothers who experience PPD may be facing the challenge of a difference in what they expected the experience of motherhood to be versus their subjective experience of new motherhood.
  • A combination of factors may contribute to the development of PPD including: access to social support, quality of social support, partner support (quantity and quality), relationship strain with a partner who is present, predisposition and/or history of depression, differences between expectations and reality of motherhood, a challenging or not as expected pregnancy and/or  birth experience, self esteem issues about one’s body after having a child, infant health, infant characteristics, breastfeeding challenges, and level of fatigue and exhaustion.

Inspired by Mauthner’s study, and in an an effort to better understand women’s subjective experience of PPD, I created a survey to supplement my research project.  I created a brief (10 question) online survey an asked for volunteers to respond to the survey at their convenience. Respondents varied in locations across the world due to solicitation for volunteers through the internet (a big thanks to TBS for posting it on the wall!) Women were asked if they experienced PPD and what their experiences of the post partum period were. Respondents (N=74)  reported on level and quality of support systems, whether or not they took medication and/or attended counseling, what helped, what did not help, and their history of family and mental health.

What women with PPD said about their support systems.

  • Report less support (or significantly limited support) from friends, family and partners than women without PPD.
  • Those who felt somewhat supported often described a partner who worked and thus was not around to help as much, multiple children, and/or lack of local friends and family available to help with every day needs.
  • Report greater frequency of relationship strain with partner, and higher levels of relationship strain with partner than women without PPD.
  • Report lower frequency of partner support and involvement than women without PPD.

What women without PPD said about their support systems.

  • Are more descriptive about positive support systems and report greater levels of family involvement such as their mothers coming to stay for a week or more, and friends frequently coming to help with household chores.
  • Describe their partner as being “very supportive” more often than women with PPD.
  • Those who do report relationship strain still describe their partners as being supportive and helpful, as well as being able to mediate relationship difficulties more easily than mothers with PPD.

Women with PPD were asked about what they think might have helped them manage their PPD and daily life. 

  • Someone to talk to
  • Not being told “You’ll be fine, just be happy you have a baby”
  • Validation and acknowledgement of their experiences and struggles
  • Greater frequency and quality of social support
  • Self care opportunities (such as showering, naps, or reading a book while someone else watched the baby)
  • More preparation about what to expect life with a new baby would be like
  • Talking to other women with PPD
  • Many reported they would have liked to try counseling but were unable to due to cost and opportunity

What women with PPD who received counseling or other services said about what helped them manage their symptoms.

  • Counseling:
    • women who saw a female counselor reported positive experiences while women who saw a male counselor reported negative experiences.
  • Medication to manage extreme depressive symptoms
  • Networking with other moms (play dates, moms-only groups)
  • Self Care opportunities (and encouragement by others to engage in self care)
  • Dietary changes towards better nutrition
  • Exercise
  • Breastfeeding success (and support from others to do so)
  • Faith based activities such as attending church

So what does this all mean?  Essentially, I believe that PPD should be considered as being on a spectrum: some women have more difficulties, while others have fewer difficulties.   Women with fewer difficulties should not be overlooked as being “less important” than women suffering from severe PPD.  Between the physical, emotional, and social changes that take place when we spend 9 months creating a life and then bringing that precious live into this world, it is a TON to handle, much less handle it without much help.  Even mothers who have a great deal of help still get PPD, and there are mothers with no help who never develop PPD.  There are so many things that contribute to any mental health challenge; thus there should not be a “one size fits all” idea about PPD or any other mental health disorder.  It should not be assumed that PPD is normal, but that if it does occur, it is not necessarily abnormal.  

Many women get through PPD without any outside help, but nobody should have to.  If you have had depression before, or are depressed while you are pregnant, take a few moments to listen to yourself if you begin to feel overwhelmed after giving birth.  Just because you experienced depression before doesn’t mean that you necessarily will after giving birth, but you may be at a higher risk than mothers who have never been depressed.  Also, just because you have never been depressed does not mean that you have a significantly less chance to develop PPD than someone who had depression before.  

If you are experiencing PPD, consider seeing a licensed mental health counselor.  A good counselor will not think that you are a hypochondriac because you are concerned that you might have PPD.  In fact, most counselors believe that everyone could benefit from counseling from time to time, regardless of whether or not they meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis.  Counseling is especially beneficial to people navigating a drastic life change, even if it is not causing extreme distress.  The benefits of having someone listen to you talk about your feelings and struggles can make a world of difference; especially when that person does not tell you that “everything will be fine,” “you’re overreacting,” or try to fix you.  Skilled counselors will refrain from trying to cheer you up and giving you advice; they will listen to you talk because they know that sometimes the best healing and change comes from acknowledging and accepting the emotional struggles we deal with on a daily basis.  

The journey of motherhood is full of joys and wonders.  If you are struggling, reach out to someone for help.  It is a failing to mothers and children that society often sweeps the struggles of mothers under the rug as if our challenges are not worthy of meaning.  There are lots of people who can help, and many will be happy to help if they know it is needed.  

As I close I leave you with this task.  Next time you are standing behind a new mom at the checkout line in the grocery store and want to tell her how lucky she is and how happy she must be, instead, say this to her: “Your baby is beautiful!  How are you feeling?  I’m a mom too and I know how it can be both wonderful and occasionally challenging.”  Maybe she won’t open up to you (especially if she is a stranger) but instead of walking away feeling guilty about her sadness, she may have some hope that she isn’t alone in this journey.  By doing this, you will be working to bring women one step closer to joining together for the greater good, rather than segregating us through the one thing we all have in common; our ability to create and nurture life.

A note to the reader: I am not yet a licensed counselor and I am in no way offering medical advice.  If you are concerned, please contact your practitioner immediately.  Also, please be aware that there is a difference in mental health licensing and titles.  Counselors are trained to listen, cannot prescribe medications (but can consult with a psychiatrist who can) an provide an opportunity to “talk through” your struggles. Psychiatrists have a medical degree and the emphasis in their education is diagnosis and treatment.  If you have had a negative experience with a mental health professional before (such as a psychiatrist who prescribed meds and “didn’t listen,” consider seeking a counselor instead.  They can be identified by their title of LMHC. (I’m not trying to bash psychiatrists and I know of many who are great listeners, but many people are not aware that there is a difference between a counselor and a psychiatrist.)

References:

Mauthner, N. S. (1999).  Feeling low and feeling really bad about feeling low: Women’s experiences of motherhood and postpartum depression. Canadian Psychology, 40(2), 143-161. doi: http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/h0086833

Continue reading: Postpartum Depression (Part 2): Why We Must Support Mothers Struggling With PPD in More Constructive Ways

 

Published in Mom's Recovery

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