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Depressed with a New Baby?

Carolyn Woodruff
Dear Carolyn,

I am a new Father, and I think the mother of our new baby is depressed. I am concerned. She seems exhausted and stressed. I am helping and her mother is helping, but there seems to be a problem.  What should I do?

– Stressed with New Baby

Dear Stressed,

You need to get the mother of your child to her doctor for an assessment. Thirteen percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. You are naming some of the most typical symptoms, which are sleep deprivation, stress and exhaustion.

There are many celebrities who have spoken out about their personal experience with postpartum depression. One book I would suggest is Brooke Shield’s Down Came the Rain:  My Journey Through Postpartum Depression.  In this best-selling memoir, Brooke describes the joyous birth of her daughter followed by crippling depression. Brooke describes how she made her way back from the depression with talk therapy, medication, and time.

Shield’s real life postpartum depression was far different than the ironic role she played in The Blue Lagoon. In this famous movie, Shield’s character accidentally became pregnant. In real life, Shield’s had trouble getting pregnant and had numerous IVF cycles, as well as a miscarriage. After the birth of her real daughter, she described: “I was in a bizarre state of mind.”

I trust you can help the mother of your child go forward with medical help and recovery. This is a real problem, not a made up one. Do not be ashamed of this.

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This blog is revised from a previous Ask Carolyn published in the Rhino Times.