"If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow."
Rachel Carson

For Mothers of Infants

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THTM #10: Watch for signs
(Postpartum depression)

What is the key message?

  • Being a mother is a hard job.
  • You are not alone.
  • Postpartum depression is common (1 in 10 women are depressed after giving birth) and can hurt you and your family.
  • Depression is treatable. Help is available. Ask for it.

Who should receive this message?

  • Pregnant women.
  • Any woman with a history of depression or anxiety.
  • Postpartum women.

How can this message be used?

Open:

Give mothers the handout and ask them to take the quiz on back. Watch their body language as they take the quiz to identify which women might be struggling with depression. Have tissues handy. (Don’t ask women to reveal their quiz results. The quiz is for them alone.)

Dig:
  • Have you heard this saying: “Talk about your joy but keep your pain to yourself”? What kind of pain might a pregnant or new mother be feeling? Sample responses:
    • Overwhelmed
    • Guilty
    • Sad
    • Frustrated
    • Lethargic
    • Flat
    • Ashamed
    • Tired
    • Disappointed
    • Isolated
    • Exhausted
    • Tearful
    • Irritable
    • Sleepless
    • Impatient
    • Hopeless
    • Alone
    • Flawed
  • What might prevent a pregnant or new mother from getting the help she needs to get through a difficult time? Sample responses:
    • Shame of being depressed during “joyful times”.
    • Fear of what others will say about her.
    • Stigma about seeking help for depression.
    • Fear of others judging her.
    • Unaware that depression is common, and feeling alone.
    • Unaware that help is available.
    • Feeling so physically and emotionally debilitated that she can’t make the first move to get help.
  • A lot of women feel sad or depressed after they give birth. What are some of the thoughts that you’ve been having? Is this hard for you to talk about?
Connect:
  • Depression is a very common experience during and after pregnancy.
  • What is the difference between “baby blues” and depression? Sample responses:
    • Mothers experiencing “baby blues” may have mood swings, sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, sleeping problems and feel irritable but these feelings will go away within a few days to a week.
    • The difference between postpartum depression and the “baby blues” is that postpartum depression often affects a woman’s well-being and keeps her from taking care of herself and her baby for a longer period of time.
  • Think about the checklist you just completed. If you answered “yes” to three or more of those questions, you may be experiencing depression. It is important for you to know that depression is serious, you are not alone and there is help.
  • Being depressed does not mean you are a bad mom, only that you need help.
Act:
  • What can moms who are experiencing “baby blues” do to get through this time? Sample responses:
    • Take naps.
    • Leave housework for another time.
    • Ask friends and family for help.
    • Talk to other moms.
    • Stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything.
    • Get help with household chores.
    • Go for walks.
    • Get out of the house.
    • Spend time having fun with your partner or friends.
  • What can moms who are experiencing depression do? Sample responses:
    • The first step is to tell someone about how you are feeling. You and your baby don’t have to suffer.
    • Depression needs to be treated by a doctor.
    • Medications and talking to others are things that can help.
  • The first step to stopping depression is to tell someone, and that someone can be me. I have contact information for people that can help you.

  

Emotion-Based Messages