Naperville, Ill. — Bringing a new baby into the family can be a joyous, exhilarating time. But for some women, the experience can be stressful and overwhelming, leading to symptoms of postpartum depression—a debilitating condition suffered by up to 15 percent of mothers who have recently given birth.
Unlike the “baby blues—a short-term period lasting one or two weeks following childbirth, during which women can experience unprovoked crying, severe mood swings irritability and restlessness—postpartum depression can involve more serious symptoms of depression and last for weeks or months after delivery.
Common symptoms include anxiety; feelings of sadness, helplessness, hopelessness, low self-esteem, isolation, guilt, shame or being overwhelmed; fatigue and sluggishness; lack of concentration; diminished interest in the new child; fear of bringing harm to oneself or the baby; difficulty sleeping or over-sleeping; changes in appetite; and crying for no apparent reason.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some women are more vulnerable to postpartum depression than others, including teenage moms, smokers, victims of physical abuse during or before pregnancy, mothers with fewer than 12 years of education, and mothers under financial or traumatic stress during pregnancy.
Research indicates that, in addition to the physical strain of delivery, accompanying lack of sleep and psychological toll of parenting a newborn, rapid variations in hormone and thyroid levels after giving birth can have a powerful effect on moods, thus triggering postpartum depression.
While this diagnosable medical condition can be life impairing and serious, the good news is that postpartum depression can be effectively treated with medication and talk therapy. In fact, joining a support group involving other women suffering these symptoms has proven quite beneficial. One such support group was recently formed at Naperville Clinical Service—a group practice in Naperville dedicated to providing high quality therapy to individuals, couples and families throughout the western suburbs.
“It’s so important that these mothers know they’re not alone in what they’re experiencing,” said Mary Plonis, M.Ed, PsyD, licensed clinical psychologist and director of the practice. “Our support group is designed to give women a nurturing, comfortable environment in which they can come and express their problems and feelings to other women who can empathize with and relate to their issues.”
The support group meets at the practice, located at 2272 W. 95th St. in suite 115 in Naperville, every Thursday evening for an hour. The ongoing group offers an opportunity to meet other mothers in the community, share experiences and receive invaluable postpartum information, Plonis said.
Attendees can count on receiving helpful tips on ways to manage feelings of sadness, anger and anxiety, alleviate stress, better cope with the new responsibilities of having a baby, and adjusting the family dynamic around the new baby. Mothers are welcome to bring their babies to the weekly group meetings. “The media force-feeds us this image that being a new mom is always fun, easy and happy-go-lucky. But the truth is that it can be much harder work than you anticipated,” said Pamela Dockstader-Ortiz, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who runs the postpartum depression support group as well as an anger management support group at the practice.
“There are also a lot of unexpected pregnancies and difficulties experienced in labor and childbirth that can contribute to postpartum depression. Our group addresses all these kinds of issues.”
To register for the postpartum depression support group, determine if your health insurance plan provides coverage, or learn more, phone Cherie Drag at (630) 409-9700.
Naperville Clinical Services is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care in a confidential, supportive and comfortable environment. The practice offers a comprehensive array of treatment options—including individual, couple and family therapy—that address a wide variety of needs for adults, adolescents and children.
For more information, phone (630) 409-9700, visit
www.NapervilleClinicalServices.com or make an appointment at the practice, located conveniently next to Neuqua Valley High School, at 2272 W. 95th St., Suite 115, Naperville, Ill. 60564.