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Overcoming Postpartum Depression: A Doctor's Own Story

by Lois V. Nightingale, PhD
Nightingale Rose Publications, 1999

Reviewed by Carroll Beckham
Fayetteville NC USA
From NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 18 No. 5, September-October 2001, p. 192

Overcoming Postpartum Depression is a two-hour audio tape that will be helpful to many new mothers as they adjust to the demands of parenthood. Dr. Lois Nightingale, a psychologist, presents a personal and professional account of postpartum depression and offers practical suggestions that new mothers can use to begin feeling better immediately. The postpartum period is a very intense time of adjustment for any new mother, and though postpartum depression is very common, it may be difficult for the mother herself to recognize the symptoms. This tape addresses the important issue of a new mother's emotional health after the birth of a baby.

This tape gives a clear explanation of baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis and the treatment options available for each. Dr. Nightingale presents ideas for keeping mothers and babies together, even in severe cases. She also discusses causes of postpartum depression, including hormones, pain, sleep deprivation, side effects of medication, a loss of perceived control, and unresolved emotional issues from a mother's past. She notes that women who have very high expectations of pregnancy and birth may be at a greater risk for postpartum depression, as are women who experience many early breastfeeding problems or who have a family history of depression. She presents some very solid suggestions about rest, nutrition, gathering a support system, emotional healing, and preventing recurrences. Dr. Nightingale also discusses how breastfeeding can and should continue, despite problems the mother is experiencing. This tape also includes a section on how to help someone with postpartum depression. This section would be especially good for the mother's partner, friends, and family members to hear.

The format of an audio tape is ideal for the busy new mother who may have trouble finding time to sit down and read a book. She can listen to the tape in segments while she nurses, cares for her baby, drives, or rests. Mothers may also appreciate hearing Dr. Nightingale's warm voice describing her positive, practical approach, since her reassuring tone reinforces her message of hope and encouragement. The tape concludes with a guided relaxation to which a new mother may listen while she rests or breastfeeds. The verbal imagery and soothing music in the background will help her let go of tension, stress, and anxiety.

Although especially useful to the depressed new mother, Overcoming Postpartum Depression: A Doctor' Own Story is full of hints that would help any new mother make an easier adjustment to the changes in her life when a new baby arrives.

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