Overcoming Postpartum Depression

Valerie Davis Raskin, coauthor of This Isn’t What I Expected
Topic:
Overcoming postpartum depression
Issues: Symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) and how it’s different than “baby blues”; dealing with panic attacks, stress overload, and obsessive urges; breaking the cycle of negative thinking; coping with the loss of self-esteem, when to get help; the dad’s role in support a new mom suffering from PPD

Secret Life of Sleep + More Than Baby Blues

Kat Duff, author of The Secret Life of Sleep
Topic:
What happens between the time you fall asleep and the time when you wake up?
Issues: What is sleep? Stages of sleep; commercialization of sleep; dreams; babies and sleep; insomnia;


Valerie Davis Raskin, coauthor of This Isn’t What I Expected
Topic:
Overcoming postpartum depression
Issues: Symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) and how it’s different than “baby blues”; dealing with panic attacks, stress overload, and obsessive urges; breaking the cycle of negative thinking; coping with the loss of self-esteem, when to get help; the dad’s role in support a new mom suffering from PPD

Mother Nature Never Had to Balance Work and Family

Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is five days old and today I had to go back to work. All day, I’ve felt an impending sadness that only gets worse. All I want is to be home with my family. I have to go to work and be responsible, but I can’t shake this horrible sadness.

A: Up to 85 percent of new moms go through what’s called the “baby blues”—feelings of sadness and depression that last for a few days or weeks and then slowly fade. It sounds like you’re going through something very similar. Plus, you’ve slammed right into one of the biggest challenges today’s fathers face: how to effectively balance their work and family lives.
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Standing up to Depression: Kids with Depressed Moms are Shorter

A few weeks ago I did a post about how depressed new moms are less likely to breastfeed than less-depressed women. A lot of studies show that breastfed babies do better in a variety of areas–lower risk of obesity, ear infections, and pneumonia, stronger immune system, and even increased IQ. But even though depression affects breastfeeding, which in turn affects babies’ health, it’s not accurate to say that depression is responsible for poorer outcomes.

So here’s another interesting study that links mothers’ depression with their children’s health–in this case, if their height. In a just-published study, children of moms who were depressed nine months after giving birth were more likely to be short at age three and beyond than kids whose mothers were not depressed.

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Dads Get the Baby Blues, Too

Dear Mr. Dad: I have a 2-week old baby boy, and I’m crazy about him. But I’ve suddenly started feeling really anxious, stressed, irritable, and sometimes even angry. My girlfriend says I could be suffering from male postpartum depression. I’ve never heard of guys getting postpartum depression, is it possible? If so, what can I do about it?

A: Your girlfriend is absolutely right. Most of us have heard of new moms experiencing the “baby blues,” or actual postpartum depression, but few acknowledge that paternal postpartum depression is just as real. In fact, quite a few people ridicule the idea. It’s wonderful that your girlfriend is not one of them.

According to Will Courtenay, a psychotherapist specializing in male postpartum depression, as many as 1 in 4 new dads experience the kinds of symptoms you mentioned, in the days, weeks, and even months after the birth of a child. Unfortunately, men rarely discuss their feelings or ask for help, especially during a time when they’re supposed to “be there” for the new mom. One big problem is that men and women express depression differently. Women tend to get tearful, men get angry or withdraw from their family and retreat to the office. Because depression—including the postpartum kind—is usually seen as affecting women more than men, many mental health professionals don’t recognize the symptoms, or write them off as normal adjustment to the challenges of new parenthood.
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The Joys of Sleep Deprivation

Dear Mr. Dad: Our son is three weeks old and my wife is exhausted from breastfeeding. I have to be out of the house early in the morning to make it to work, but I do help her out between 2am and 4 am. But when I try to get a little sleep before or after those hours, or if I’m too slow to wake up, she’ll say to our son things like “Daddy doesn’t care.” This hurts my feelings because I’m doing as much as I can, and I do have to put in an 8-hour day in the office. How do I handle this situation?

A: This probably won’t make you feel much better, but there are plenty of new parents out there who can totally relate to your dilemma. Fact is, being tired, sleep-deprived, and overwhelmed is a normal part of being a new parent.

I’m sure that everyone you knew tried to warn you that becoming a dad would turn your life upside down, right? And I’m sure you tried to prepare yourself for all the changes. But there’s a difference between watching a tornado on TV and having one blow the roof off your house. Now that your baby is actually here, it’s pretty obvious that nothing could have fully prepped you for the daily (and nightly) challenges of living with a newborn.
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