Whether you’re about to become a mom for the first time or you’re adding another child to your lovely family, pregnancy and motherhood change a woman’s life physically, mentally and emotionally. For countless women, the experience is profound—a miraculous event like no other. The love and bond a mother shares with their newborn are unlike any other. There is no greater joy. It’s also completely normal for women to feel a little gloomy, worried and exhausted one to two weeks after giving birth to a child, we call that the “baby blues”, which affects 80 percent of mothers, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. However, for some, the experience of becoming a mom for the first, second or third time can be truly overwhelming, where the feeling of sadness can last for several weeks, months, even years, and having a much more powerful effect on the new mom than the simple “baby blues.” If you are a mom who is experiencing this, it’s possible you are suffering from postpartum depression, which is a severe mood disorder, and neurofeedback therapy can help you find joy again. Neurofeedback training works on the root of the problem, altering the brain patterns affiliated with depression, regulating the brain’s mood for the positive.
Please do not feel guilty or ashamed if you’re suffering from postpartum depression. The fact of the matter is this mood disorder is incredibly common. For instance, in just the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control reported that between 11-20% of new mothers suffer from the condition. Surprisingly, this is approximately 600,000 women per year. However, please keep in mind, these numbers do not account for those who suffer from this illness in silence. Millions of women each year go undiagnosed and sadly never receive the help they require. What are the symptoms of postpartum depression? Symptoms can vary among women, but they can include sadness, loss of hope, despair, feeling unable to bond with or care for your baby. Crying a lot and for no reason at all, feeling incredible fatigue and sleeping all the time, having trouble focusing and retaining information—memory loss. In addition, other symptoms include loss of interest in sex, self-care and appetite.
Sadly, there is no exact cause of postpartum depression, but there are some factors that may contribute to the illness, these include a decrease in hormone levels after giving birth, low thyroid hormone levels, poor diet, alcohol misuse, lack of support, financial burden, and having children at an exceptionally young age. It’s extremely important for those who are suffering from postpartum depression to receive treatment. If left untreated, this severe mood disorder can affect a mother’s health, physically and mentally, in addition to having a negative effect on the development of the child. Furthermore, it can wreak havoc on a marriage.
Several of the lovely strong women that I’ve treated for postpartum depression have come to me for counseling in addition to neurofeedback therapy. I always advise them to include fun things into their day and to meet simple goals. Taking a brisk walk, putting on the music to dance or sing, write several positive affirmations to one’s self and leave the notes all around the house—on mirrors especially. Also, take time and meditate for at least five to ten minutes a day. These are all wonderful and effective activities that one can do while engaging in neurofeedback therapy treatment and counseling.
If you recently just gave birth to a child and are experiencing the symptoms I have listed above, for several weeks, and the symptoms continue to worsen with time, its imperative that you visit with your OBGYN.
Dr. Elena Eustache is a specialist in Neurofeedback Therapy, with a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Dr Eustache helps her patients reach their full potential so they can live the life they have always dreamed of.