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Joining me now is Dr. Kyle with Women's Care. Dr. Kyle specializes in gynecology and is an expert on women's health in Eugene. We're talking about Postpartum Depression... something that affects one in five women. Can you tell us what it is, and how long it can last?
"Postpartum Depression is a mood disorder that a woman can have after she gives birth. Sometimes it happens after the postpartum blues, that affects eighty percent of all new moms, in moms of new babies and it's associated with being more tearful, not being in control of your emotions as much.. and just feeling really stressed out. But, it usually goes away after two weeks. When it tends to sink into feelings of desperation, sadness, guilt, worthlessness... that's Postpartum Depression.
80 percent is a lot. what are the symptoms friends and family should watch for?
"When you see that the new mom is not really connecting with her baby, when she seems excessively anxious or worried over things that can happen... those are symptoms. Also, symptoms like not eating when she's able to eat, not sleeping when she's able to sleep. And, letting us know as soon as soon as possible is the first thing to do."
Are there places in the community where women can go for support?
"First and foremost, we are blessed in this community to have Well Mama. Well Mama is a nonprofit that's been in Lane County for ten years. We connect women and their families who are going through postpartum, anxiety, depression, mood disorders to resources. We want to help them get into counselors and a support group and also they can connect to a peer support leader who's been through it themselves. The contact information is www.wellmamaoregon.com
What should you do if you're worried about someone you know?
"That's a great question. If you have a feeling that someone you know isn't coping quite as well, try to talk to them and let them know that there's nothing wrong with them. There's nothing they should feel guilty or ashamed about.... that they should really try to reach out and let them know how you're feeling so that you can connect and you can help them get connected to resources."
And, you can just jump in and help them, do the dishes... bring them dinner?
"Absolutely! And don't wait to be asked for help. Go ahead do the dishes, do the laundry, take care of that child so she can get some sleep."
I think it can be hard for women to admit that there's a problem, so what can women do to help themselves if they're afraid to call?
"Reach out to a friend. Tell somebody how you're feeling.... that you're not going to be judged for feeling the things that you do. Also, trying to make that first step, picking up the phone or going online. Just knowing there's a community of women and it is okay to talk about this. It doesn't mean you're a bad mom. It just means you're having challenges that so many moms do."