Childbirth can trigger a range of emotions for new parents.
Aside from the excitement and joy most mothers have, a newborn can also bring on depression, as professional counselor Kathleen Rhodes found out first hand.
"I ended up finding a psychiatrist and a therapist who at that time were rare in that they had knowledge of this illness," she said.
Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth, most often occurring within the first three months after delivery.
"Isolation and the sadness and guilt I felt at the same time, and that stays through my mind and to think of another mom going through that makes me very said," she said.
In the 1980s, when Rhodes had her child, postpartum depression was rarely spoken of. She said most people wrote it off as having the "baby blues." But the symptoms are much more severe and can end up deadly if left untreated.
"Some moms feel so guilt they become suicidal," Rhodes said. "They're worried that they may hurt their child and the other parent. They're at a loss. They don't understand often times, 'We just had a beautiful baby. What's happening here? Why do you have no energy?'"
Some symptoms of postpartum depression include a lack of sleep and change in appetite, feeling unable to love your baby or having anxiety attacks. You could also have thoughts of harming your baby and feel sadness.
"Really what we want is for women, moms, to be educated about these symptoms so there can be an intervention before it gets so severe," Rhodes said.
She, along with the Center for Families, are now offering a seminar for new moms who may feel they suffer from postpartum depression.
"Educate moms early on, so they don't reach the point where symptoms become so severe that it becomes challenging to treat," she said.
As for mothers who are diagnosed, Rhodes said it's important that you remember to take care of you first.
"Be gentle with yourself, don't put pressure on yourself to do what you did pre-pregnancy," she said.
If you believe you could be suffering from postpartum depression, the Center for Families is holding a seminar from 6 to 7 p.m. March 25 at their 864 Olive Street location in Shreveport. The cost is $55 until March 21. To register call 318-222-0759 or visit their web site.
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