As a therapist, what are your thoughts on the new postpartum pill that was recently approved by the FDA?
I do believe that there are forms of depression that are in some way, biological. This can usually be identified when therapy is not yielding the desired results. When this is the case, medication intervention is sometimes necessary and would allow for the therapy process to be more responsive.
How can this new pill work in conjunction with other options for healing?
Medication management can help set the foundation for other interventions (e.g., dieting, exercising, therapy, etc) to be efficacious. If we are to compare this to the structure of building a house, the medication can serve as the foundation of which the house will be built on. The rest of the structure of the house such as the walls and the roof can end up making up the remaining portion of the house. However, if the foundation (i.e., medication) is not strong enough, further work on the house such as its walls (e.g., exercise) or its roof (therapy) may not be sturdy enough to hold the entire structure of the house. Similarly, therapy and other interventions such as an exercise program may not yield the best results if medication, when warranted of course, is not present to provide the necessary support.
For someone who might be struggling with postpartum depression but is hesitant to take a pill for it, what are some other options you’d recommend?
Nonmedical interventions can always be tried first as one can never really be sure that a pill is needed unless you try something else first. If one has given other holistic interventions an opportunity and depression persists, then it can be a good idea to have a conversation with their doctor about it. One way to consider medication management is considering the effects on one’s quality of life when considering symptoms of the depression vs. the side effects.
How can therapy help with postpartum depression?
Therapy can be of help in a multitude of ways. For starters, it can help mothers and their partners to understand that postpartum depression is real and is valid. Additionally, therapy can also help mothers feel supported and emotionally guided throughout the experience. Therapy can help assure that the emotional bond from the mother to the child as well as from the mother to her spouse is consistently present and present in a healthy manner.
Will postpartum depression “go away” on its own or does it always need to be treated?
If the depression can be treated with therapy or lifestyle changes then it can be improved and go away. However, if it’s organic in nature then this would need to be discussed with a medical provider.
If a woman suspects she might be struggling with postpartum depression, what should she do first?
Speak to their medical care provider about her concerns. From then, the medical provider can provide their professional opinions.
Is there anything a pregnant mom can do to prevent postpartum depression from occurring?
Self care and consultation with their medical doctor. Self care can involve getting proper exercise, a healthy diet, and assuring sufficient rest. Minimization of stress as well.
Any other tips you’d recommend or advice to share?
The importance of treating postpartum depression is important and helpful for the sake of both the mother and her child as this can compromise the quality of the attachment between mother-child, which is crucial in the very early formative years. The effects of depression can hinder our ability to be emotionally available and present to anyone in general and thereby, affect the quality of our relationships to others. When it comes to children, especially when they’re newborns and during infancy, helps with the healthy formation of attachment that the child needs to grow in a safe world. Regardless of how a mother chooses to address her postpartum depression, it’s simply important to address it.