Q:  I am out of my mind with anxiety and worry.  This isn't postpartum depression, is it?

A:  Postpartum Depressive Disorder is an agitated depression that includes a huge component of anxiety. If symptoms of anxiety are interfering with your ability to function (and take care of yourself and the baby), please make sure that you seek help. Nearly all new mothers experience more anxiety than normal after the birth of their baby.

 

Q: How do I know if I have postpartum depression?

Symptoms of Postpartum depression include 

frequent crying, mood swings, irritability, extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, loss of sexual interest, anxiety, appetite changes, negative scary thoughts, feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness and despair. In addition, thoughts of suicide and feelings of anger, shame and guilt are often present.  Postpartum Psychosis is extremely rare and includes hallucinations and thoughts of harming the self or the baby.  Postpartum psychosis as well as any suicidal intent is a medical emergency. Please see for the  postpartum quiz to screen for postpartum depression or anxiety

 

Q: My wife is getting treatment, but I'm a wreck.  Is there help for me too?

There is help for dads too!  Please see the resource section for information relevant to dads.  Dads are an integral part of the healing process and deserve relief too.   You can see a therapist with your wife or come in for an individual consultation.

Q:  I want help, but don't have insurance. How can I afford therapy? 

If you qualify financially, Dr. Buysse can help you apply for the Dawn Gruen Scholarship which can be applied to psychotherapy sessions for postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.

Q:  I'm  having thoughts of harming the baby, but I swear I would never harm him.  Do I need to worry about my child? Will they take my baby away?

You may be suffering from Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.  Mothers with Postpartum OCD do not hurt their babies, and they do everything they can to protect their babies from harm. Properly trained,professionals are taught to support and advocate for mothers with OCD, not take away their babies. Therapists only need to contact authorities when they suspect child abuse or other actual dangers.

Q:  I don't want or need to see a therapist, but I could use some group support with my new baby.  What are my options? 

 

 You can join a postpartum emotional support group.  There are many groups that meet in the Seattle area.  Please visit www.perinatalsupport.org to find these groups. On the bar across the top, choose "for parents" and on the next screen choose "support groups". You can search by city to find a group nearest you.  Unfortunately, there are currently no groups in Snohomish County. 

There are many groups for new moms that can provide support and break the isolation of new motherhood. Some of these include PEPS, MOPS and the Family Life Education Program at Edmonds Community College.