A new study revealed that one of the primary symptoms of postpartum depression interrupts new mothers from obtaining treatment. The symptom is that we tend to normalize the symptoms.
What does normalizing look like? “Oh it’s okay that I keep getting scared that my daughter is not breathing in her crib.” Or “Your mother loves you so much, she won’t ‘let anyone else hold you.” Or, “Suicidal thoughts are not normal, but I am not going to hurt myself.”
The study interviewed 18 new mothers to track what happens after a referral for postpartum depression. In other words, why did they not go to a therapist? The studied concluded the following:
“Women’s normalizing of symptoms, limited understanding of postpartum depression, waiting for symptom improvement, discomfort discussing mental health concerns, and fears deterred care seeking; symptom awareness and not feeling like oneself were facilitating influences. Family and friends sometimes hindered care seeking because they, too, normalized symptoms or had limited understanding of postpartum depression. Care seeking was facilitated when women encouraged a health professional visit or expressed worry and concern. Health system barriers included normalizing of symptoms, offering of unacceptable interventions, and disconnected care pathways. Care seeking was facilitated by having established and supportive relationships, outreach and follow-up, legitimization of postpartum depression, and timeliness of care. These findings can be used to guide clinical practice and service provision.”
Waiting for symptom improvement is the one thing I see the most in my practice as a therapist.
Symptom improvement, feeling back to myself again, will happen but it takes about 3 years usually. Three years is a long time to feel agitated, nervous, exhausted and overwhelmed. Sounds like punishment. Punishing energy is very blunt and heavy. You all do not need that in your lives. None of you do. How to eradicate the self punishment?
Compassion towards oneself. Click on the word, link right here: link. If you read to this moment, you can click on this link and listen to this man’s voice. Meditation is a dirty heavy puritan word now. You are not allowed to meditate! Just listen to his voice and close your eyes and breathe for 2 min.
Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope. Maya Angelou