Throughout a woman's pregnancy, she gets regular care for her and her baby. But once a woman has her baby, the care should not be over. New mothers will likely be given an appointment to see her obstetrician or doctor for a follow up appointment. This is usually around six weeks but may be scheduled any time between three to eight weeks after the delivery. This appointment is a way for the doctor to make sure the new mother's body is healing appropriately.
But this is also the time when the new mother can share her mental and emotional health. Sometimes new mothers will experience temporary feelings of tearfulness or sadness for the first seven to ten days after childhood. It even has a name, "the baby blues". The baby blues are not uncommon and do not require treatment. But a more serious disorder may occur in less than one percent of all births called postpartum depression. It usually occurs within the first month after delivery although it can occur any time during the baby's first year.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include: a feeling of being unable to cope with life, deep sadness, lack of concentration, gaining or losing a lot of weight, physical complaints, sleeping too much or too little, feelings of guilt and unworthiness, feeling tired all the time, agitation, anxiety, having trouble thinking clearly, lack of energy, feeling restless and loss of interest or pleasure.
A new mother who has any of these symptoms, should tell her doctor and get help. This may include the use of antidepressants. Women who are nursing are often referred to psychotherapy. Another tool for postpartum depression is hypnotherapy. This should be considered an adjunct therapy while under the primary care of a medical doctor. Hypnotherapy is brief therapy. When I work with a client with postpartum depression, a session would include a clinical interview that gives the client a chance to talk at length about their symptoms and how they want to feel and a forty-five minute hypnosis session. I record the session so the woman can continue to listen to it at home as needed. This may be all she chooses to do with hypnotherapy. Or the client may choose to use and occasional hypnotherapy session until she feels better and the symptoms are gone.