31 10, 2014

Older First Time Moms at Increased Risk of Depression

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00October 31st, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

A recent study showed an increased risk of postpartum depression in women of advanced maternal age. Specifically, first time moms between the ages of 40-44 had statistically higher rates of depression than women ages 30-35.

older mom and baby from freedigitalphotos.net and hyena reality

The MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health reported on the article, which was published last month in a Canadian journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The researchers did not uncover WHY older mothers are at an increased risk for postpartum depression, but they did have two theories. One, they believe it is possible that first time moms over 40 may have more difficultly during pregnancy and a more difficult adjustment to motherhood. Another possibility is that older moms may feel less peer support if they […]

15 10, 2014

Culture and Language in Therapy with New and Expecting Parents

By |2017-02-04T23:06:45-07:00October 15th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health, Postpartum Health Alliance|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |6 Comments

Recently I attended a lecture sponsored by the Postpartum Health Alliance on “Cultural Considerations when Working with Expecting and New Parents.” The lecturer happened to be an old friend of mine, Dr. Mariela Shibley, Psy.D. She shared with a group of maternal mental health practitioners, First Five home visitors, and other professionals interested in helping pregnant and postpartum women. As I focus on helping women of childbearing years in my psychotherapy private practice in San Diego, I always look forward to learning more and connecting with other practitioners at the PHA lectures. You can see more posts inspired by the PHA lectures here: Postpartum Couples and the NICU Experience.

Mariela shared some of […]

23 08, 2014

Some GRAPES a Day Keep the Psychiatrist Away: A Self-Care Checklist

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00August 23rd, 2014|Categories: Blog, Mental Wellness|Tags: , , , , |5 Comments

Everyone knows that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. The vitamins and fiber are great for our physical health. But what about our mental health? Is there something simple to keep the psychiatrist away? Why not try some “grapes”? I am not referring literally to the fruit, although grapes and grape products (ahem, wine) are delicious (in moderation, of course.) I am talking about the acronym “GRAPES”: Gentleness, Relaxation, Accomplishment, Pleasure, Exercise and Social. These elements help keep us happy and content and are ways to practice healthy coping skills. Use the acronym as a way to quickly remember activities to practice self care.

Grapes Self-Care Infographic

Let’s break down the elements of GRAPES. As we go through each one, try to brainstorm activities that are specific to […]

16 08, 2014

Is Suicide Preventable? Is it 100% Preventable??

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00August 16th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Giveaways/Free Resources, Mental Wellness|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Suicide has been in the news a lot this week with the sad passing of Robin Williams. People from all walks of life have been surprised to learn how much the death of an actor has affected them. This week, and perhaps for another week more, the media will talk about depression, mental illness and suicide prevention.

suicide is preventable 800-273-8255

I have worked for a community college mental health counseling center since 2007. In addition to working one on one with students, we work on a campus-wide basis to raise awareness, fight stigma, and promote mental wellness. Typically in any given year, we also sponsor one or two fairs around wellness. During National Suicide Prevention Week (the 2nd week of September) we often hold suicide prevention […]

29 07, 2014

Postpartum Anxiety is More Common Than Postpartum Depression, But Rarely Screened

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00July 29th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health|Tags: , , , , , , |4 Comments

Most people have heard of postpartum depression. With good reason. It affects 1 in 7 new mothers. But what about postpartum anxiety? Most studies document that this “other postpartum” mental health concern is even more common than PPD, with as many as 1 in 5 new moms struggling with postpartum anxiety. 1 in 5!

postpartum anxiety is common but we can make it better photo credit: sunset girl via unsplash

 

When suddenly a parent for the first time, there is much to worry about. I remember watching my first baby as a newborn sleep at night, worrying she would stop breathing in the middle of the night. And then there is breastfeeding… is baby getting enough milk? Is she gaining enough weight? Does he […]

14 05, 2014

Helping Parents Overcome the Trauma of the NICU Experience

By |2014-10-15T09:56:19-07:00May 14th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health, Postpartum Health Alliance|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

Thanks to my association with the Postpartum Health Alliance, I recently attended a lecture by Dr. Krishelle Marc-Aurele, of UC San Diego/Rady Children’s Neonatology Division, on “Coping with the NICU experience.” Dr. Marc-Aurele is board certified in pediatrics, internal medicine, neonatalogy, and palliative medicine. She has been a Medical Director at San Diego Hospice and neonatal attending at UCSD. She is also a lovely human being who conveys a genuine caring for her patients, a deep understanding of very difficult times, and a sincere desire for families to overcome the trauma of the NICU experience.

overcome the trauma of the nicu experience

Her talk covered birth stress and birth trauma for parents who have had experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit. I was surprised to learn how prevalent birth trauma can be, which she states […]

3 03, 2014

7 Ways To Find Your Circle of Support When Pregnant and Postpartum

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00March 3rd, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health|Tags: , , , , , , , |5 Comments

Pregnancy changes many things. One thing you may find is that your old circle of friends no longer understand what you are going through. Just when you need more support. So how can you find or create support when pregnant or a new parent?

7 ways to find your circle of support when pregnant and postpartum

 

 

1. Birth education classes

 

Challenge yourself to strike up a conversation with at least one interesting woman during one of your birth education classes.

2. Consult existing friends who already have kids

 

Parents love to give advice to those following their footsteps!

3. Online support

 

Find a Facebook group of local women going through the same thing. Google+ can be a great place to find communities with common interests. And Babycenter and What to Expect have “birth month clubs” that can be […]

8 02, 2014

Traditional Family Roles Contribute to Maternal Isolation and Depression

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00February 8th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Maternal Mental Health|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

I recently read Julie M. Smith’s article on “The Anthropology of Providing and Nurturing.” She challenges the notion of a “traditional family” consisting of a father who works and a mother who stays home to nurture the children. As an anthropologist, she examines the roles historically taken by each parent.

What’s more, she discusses the risk to maternal mental health in continuing this model. She writes:

“It’s unusual cross-culturally and historically for mothers to go it alone in the isolation of a single-family household while dad goes off to work. It’s very difficult to figure out how to be a mother for the first time, without someone more experienced there to coach you along the way and give you lots of breaks. The isolation and the overwhelm contribute to maternal depression rates. […]

6 02, 2014

Online Test for Depression During Pregnancy and Up to One Year Postpartum

By |2016-11-01T21:48:42-07:00February 6th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Giveaways/Free Resources, Maternal Mental Health|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

Pregnancy and the postpartum stage are times of major changes: physically, emotionally, socially, professionally, hormonally…. you get the idea… just about everything is shook up. Anxiety and the blues are common. But when is it more than just baby blues???

When is it time to reach out to a mental health professional for postpartum depression?

 

postpartum depression

Take this ten question online test* and see. A score of 10 or more (out of 30 possible points) is usually an indication to talk to a professional therapist or doctor.

–> Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale <–

*The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a widely used, 10 question questionnaire, to help screen for postpartum depression. It can also be used during pregnancy.

–> If you are having thoughts of suicide today, […]