The fourth trimester is the 12-week period immediately after you have had your baby. Not everyone has heard of it, but every mother and their newborn baby will go through it. It is a time of great physical and emotional change as your baby adjusts to being outside the womb, and you adjust to your new life as a mother. Giving birth brings about all sorts of new changes and emotions, and many women experience the blues, but diagnosed Postpartum depression is more intense and full-blown. Postpartum Depression/Postnatal Depression affects women who have just given birth. It can range from moderate to severe. According to APA, (American Psychiatric Association)
“Peripartum-onset depressive disorders must be distinguished from the much more common “maternity blues,” or what is known in lay terms as “baby blues.” Maternity blues is not considered to be a mental disorder and is characterized by sudden changes in mood (e.g., the sudden onset of tearfulness in the absence of depression) that do not cause functional impairment and that are likely caused by physiological changes occurring after delivery. It is temporary and self-limited, typically improving quickly (within a week) without the need for treatment. Other symptoms of maternity blues include sleep disturbance and even confusion that can occur shortly after delivery. Perinatal women may be at higher risk for depressive disorders due to thyroid abnormalities as well as other medical conditions that can cause depressive symptoms. If the depressive symptoms are judged to be due to another medical condition related to the perinatal period, depressive disorder due to another medical condition should be diagnosed instead of a major depressive episode, with peripartum onset”. (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2022, p. 213).
If you feel like it might be more than baby blues I would like to encourage you to go and see a registered counsellor or a psychologist who will be able to help you identify whether it is Peripartum-onset depressive disorder, ensuring you get the correct treatment. They will also refer you to see a doctor to make sure that there are no medical conditions that can influence the way you feel. A registered counsellor has a limited scope and will be able to assist you with other matters like talking about the great adjustments of becoming a mother or welcoming a second child, they can guide you through working through many other challenges or adjustments, however, if a depressive disorder is identified they will refer you to a psychologist.
The following acts fall within the scope of practice of Registered Counsellors:
- being the first line of community based psychological support;
- providing preventative and developmental counselling services and interventions on all systems levels;
- performing supportive psychological interventions to enhance emotional functioning and mental well-being;
- performing basic psychological screening for the purpose of mental health as a preliminary screening tool in order to refer appropriately;
- developing preventative and developmental interventions on all systems levels;
- provide counselling in conjunction with interdisciplinary support teams
- provide psycho-education and mental health promotion.
- report writing and providing feedback to clients on interventions.
I am able to assist with the following:
Abuse and neglect
Aftercare support – Relapse prevention plans etc.
Coping with divorce
Phase of life problem
Sibling relational problems
Spouse or partner violence
Victim of Crime
I believe that sometimes self-disclosure is greatly beneficial in the counselling process, ensuring it does not harm the client, today in this blog I will be self-disclosing about matters regarding my postpartum period. It has been nearly 4 months since the birth of my second child. I realised that no two pregnancies are the same. My first pregnancy was an emergency c-section, and my baby was born prematurely this was greatly traumatic, the second one was a planned c-section, and the baby was full term. The bonding experience with the second child was completely different as he was full term and a breastfed baby.
Some of the things that I have realised in the 4 months are nothing goes according to plan and there will be expectations that will not be met. This for me meant that there will be a grieving process despite being in a season full of new life. There will be a grieving process for the baby that now needs to adjust to the new world that they have entered into, the transition from the womb to the outside world can take up to three weeks, and this can be a lot to deal with as a mother and for the newborn baby.
Some of the things that have helped me through this period, were to establish structure and routine. I had to adjust my daughter’s routine to make sure she felt secure, and I was establishing a new routine for my son and me, consistency created security for the both of us. This is also a form of self-care. In saying this I realised that making it a priority to go on a date night was not important, I had to fill my cup first before I filled the cup I shared with my partner, and he had to do the same. I have also had some counselling sessions to speak to an objective person about the adjustments and challenges I was going through. I could do all of these things because of the background and experience I have as a psychological practitioner. I hope this blog serves as an invite or as a form of direction for someone who might be dealing with some challenges and adjustments after giving birth, knowing it is okay to not be okay to get the necessary guidance.
My practice is currently closed as I am on maternity leave:
For support and guidance please contact SADAG 0800 567 567
From June 2023 I will be available again.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for an online counselling session. Let’s together create an environment where you can connect with yourself again, an environment that fosters and encourages authenticity. An environment where you can follow your gut and get to know what it looks like.
After doing an intake I might be able to help you with a few sessions using BWRT (Brainworking Recursive Therapy) read more about BWRT on another blog on my website: https://thewellsamaria.co.za/what-is-brainworking-recursive-therapy-or-bwrt/, or we will use another technique depending on your unique needs.
Contact Me & Book your online session!