The Baby Blues: Treatment


Many women experience a time of sadness after they give birth to a baby. This is called the baby blues, or postpartum depression. Joshua Leo and Liz Waid look at treatments for postpartum depression and the baby blues.

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Transcript


Voice 1

Thank you for joining us for today’s Spotlight program. I’m Joshua Leo.

Voice 2

And I’m Liz Waid. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1

For thousands of years, doctors have recognized that childbirth can have a big effect on a woman’s mind and body.

Voice 2

You may have heard a Spotlight program about the baby blues and postpartum depression before. In that program we described the signs of these mind sicknesses. In today’s Spotlight program we will share some ways to treat these sicknesses. The baby blues and postpartum depression affect new mothers. But they also affect whole families. You can help women suffering from the baby blues or postpartum depression.

Voice 1

Doctors do not know the exact cause of postpartum depression. But they believe that an imbalance of brain chemicals is probably the cause. Hormones are natural body chemicals. They affect a person’s emotions. During and immediately after pregnancy, a woman’s hormone levels change a lot. So, a woman’s emotions and ways of thinking also change a lot.

Voice 2

Other brain chemicals also influence the way a person feels. They physically affect the brain. They make a person feel depressed. There are ways to fix and balance these brain chemicals.

Voice 1

Some medicines, called anti-depressants, can help to treat postpartum depression. But these medicines may cost a lot of money. And not all people can get them. However, there are ways that women may be able to treat and recover from these sicknesses without medicine.

Voice 2

If you are a new mother suffering from the baby blues or postpartum depression you should know that you are not alone. There is hope. Other women have had the same experiences. They have lived to have happy and healthy lives. If you are a husband, friend, or family member of a new mother, you should know that you can help! You can support the new mother. You can share this information with her. You can help her find hope. Here are some ideas that other women have found helpful.

Voice 3

Remember that you are not alone. Find a support group in your area. Talk with other new mothers who have similar feelings and pressures. Find someone to talk with about your feelings.

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Do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask someone to help you with your responsibilities. New mothers need rest. Remember that you do not have to be perfect.

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You might feel like there is too much work for you to do. It is normal to feel this way after a new baby is born. Childbirth is a life-changing event.

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It may be hard for you to imagine doing everything you need to do. So, if you can, do only one thing every day, even if it is hard for you to do. Small successes can encourage you. Do not get angry with yourself if you cannot get everything done.

Voice 3

Do one thing every day just for yourself. If you like to make art, then make art. If you like to sing, find a time for you to sing. If you like to spend quiet time to yourself, then spend quiet time with yourself. This is important.

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Finally, if you can, visit a doctor or health worker. Be honest about your thoughts and emotions. A doctor or health worker may give you advice or medicines that can help.

Voice 1

These are only a few of many ways to help a new mother.

Voice 2

Joanne suffered through postpartum depression after two of her pregnancies. Here is Joanne’s story.

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“My first experience with postpartum depression was with the birth of my second daughter in 1995. The first few days were great. My husband’s mother stayed with us for the first week, and immediately after she left, the blues began. I was tired, my oldest daughter was full of energy, my body was in pain from the birth, and I began to be afraid and concerned. My fear of being alone was more than I could bear. I spent the majority of the day crying and wishing I had never decided to have a second child. I had no energy, no desire to leave my home, and no idea what I was experiencing.

I finally visited my doctor. I found out then that I had postpartum depression. My doctor gave me medicine to treat it. And he asked if it would be possible for my mom, dad or sister to come and stay with me. They did come, and they stayed with our family for seven weeks. They would take the baby at night and let me sleep. And I would look after her during the day.”

My postpartum depression was hard on my relationship with my husband too. He did not understand why this was happening. I am sure at times he wondered where his wife had gone. There were times when he would get angry when I cried. And it was hard for him to understand that sometimes I just needed him to hold his arms around me.”

Voice 1

Many people around the world are not able to visit a doctor like Joanne did. They may not have enough money. They may not be able to get medicine. But there are many things that any person can do to help a new mother deal with these sicknesses.

Voice 2

Joanne asked her family for help. Some women may not want to ask for help. They may believe that it makes them look weak. This is often the case in developed countries. Women in the United States report more cases of the baby blues than in other countries. In some developing countries, though, there is more support from family and friends. However, the WHO observes that cities are spreading. And systems of support for new mothers are also changing.

Voice 1

One place Joanne found help was on the internet. She found a website where many mothers met to tell about their experiences with postpartum depression. Other women’s stories helped Joanne to see that she was not suffering alone. Joanne has also written her story on the internet. At the end, she writes:

Voice 5

“To all of you suffering, or wondering if you have postpartum depression, I hope my story will help you. Finding a support group helped me. I could see that I was not alone in this, and that many others had ‘been there.’ The sooner you seek help, the sooner you will recover. Seek help from family and friends, support groups - whatever it takes - and be open about the thoughts you are having. From my experience, it does and will get better. There is hope - AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I found hope - and you will too.”

Voice 2

Computer users can hear more Spotlight programs on our website at www.radioenglish.net. You can also find links to helpful postpartum depression websites on the script page for this program. This program is called “The Baby Blues: Treatment.”

Voice 1

You can e-mail us at radio@radioenglish.net. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye!

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Quotes in this program have been adapted into Specialized English.

Question:

Are you good at asking for help when you need it? Who do you ask for help?

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