Thursday, February 22, 2007

Annotated Postpartum Bibliography

There are so many postpartum books out there, it's hard to know which ones will speak to a person's condition. I'm including a brief list here along with my notes in the hope that it will save some precious time and money for postpartum parents seeking information. If you know of a book or other postpartum resource that should be added to the list, please add it in the comments section. I'm always interested in hearing about what books or resources have been helpful to others. Also: almost all the books I've found have focused on postpartum mood disorders. I'm having trouble finding books that focus on other postpartum family issues (e.g. learning to become co-parents, maintaining a strong couple relationship, grandparenting effectively, balancing financial decisions and family needs, deciding if/when to return to work, single parenting etc.) If anyone knows of books that address these issues, please let me know--or I may just wind up writing the book myself!

Beyond the Blues, by Shoshana Bennett, PhD., and Pec Indman, EdD., MFT. This book has great descriptions of perinatal mood disorders accompanied by women's real life stories. Advises parents on how to choose a therapist and how partners can give support. The appendix on medical and healthcare professional terms is a great vocab lesson!

Conquering Postpartum Despression, by Ronald Rosenberg, Deborah Greening and James Windell has a good section on alternative treatments for PPD and the importance of a ppd team and a strong social support network. One caveat: They argue mood disorders are more common during pregnancy than postpartum. I would argue that diagnosis is more common during pregnancy because a pregnant woman sees her doctor at least once a month. I believe that ppmds often go undiagnosed because postpartum families tend to be isolated.

A Deeper Shade of Blue, by Ruta Nonacs, MD. I especially like the chapter titled, Helping Yourself, which gives practical medical advice on good sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and parenting practices. It also gives suggestions on how to enlist helpers to support the family while a parent is coping with depression.

Down Came the Rain, by Brooke Shields. Shields is very candid about how ppd affected not just her, but her partner, friends, family, and other support people. Ultimately, Shields recovered with the support of her loved ones, a baby nurse, a good therapist, and medication.

The Ghost in the House, by Tracy Thompson. Part memoir, part investigative journalism. Thompson surveyed 393 women about their experiences with depression and its effects on parenting. Responses revealed that while some suffered PPD, others continued to suffer (often in silence) throughout their children's lives. I especially like Thompson's frank discussion of how depression affects her husband and daughters. The silver lining for Thompson's (and some other mothers') journey through depression is that she was able to recognize the onset and get treatment for her daughter's childhood depression and has been able to model to her kids that--with self-awareness, therapy and medication--she can be a more empathic, hopeful and determined mother than she might have been without depression. Highly recommended!

The Mother-to-Mother PPD Support Book, by Sandra Paulin. This collection of women's stories about ppmd might be good for someone who wants to know there are other people who lived through it and came out the other side but who may not want to join a formal support group.

Overcoming Postpartum Depression and Anxiety, by Linda Sebastian gives very clear definitions of different postpartum diagnoses, treatment options, and coping strategies for the sufferer's partner and support network.

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