Friday, May 26, 2006

Low-Cost Ideas to Aid in Recovery

GET A BREAK FROM YOUR BABY

Ask another mom (or moms) to do a babysitting coop with you: ask a friend to watch your baby so you can get out on your own for an hour or two to exercise, meet a friend, return a phone call, or just do a crossword puzzle without being interrupted. You may not feel that you have the energy or interest to do any of these things, but it is important that you try to get your mind off of the baby for a little while. You may also want to consider hiring a “mother’s helper” for a few hours every week. A mother’s helper is younger and often less experienced than a babysitter or a nanny, so she is paid significantly less money per hour. If you are able to hire a mother’s helper, try to spend the time when she is at your home in another part of your house or apartment, where you won’t be able to hear your baby. Put in ear plugs if necessary – the helper can come and get you if you are needed. To recover from PPD, it is essential that you find some uninterrupted time for yourself away from your baby.

Once your mood has begun to stabilize and your symptoms are subsiding a little bit, consider joining a local gym that provides inexpensive (usually $5 - $10 an hour), on-site childcare so that you can exercise. In more severe cases of PPD and other perinatal mood disorders, psychotherapy, often in conjunction with medication, is necessary to become well enough to begin (or resume) exercising. The idea of exercising may seem daunting, requiring more energy than you could possibly muster, so start small and set realistic goals for yourself – a short bike ride or a walk, for example. Exercise stimulates seratonin levels in your brain, which elevates your mood. Studies have found that exercise is at least as effective as antidepressant medication in relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety.

GET SOME SUPPORT & FIGHT THE URGE TO BECOME ISOLATED

Consider joining a support group to help you feel less alone. If you are not comfortable with the idea of joining a group, try an online group by searching on Yahoo! or Facebook. These groups should be free of charge.

Familiarize yourself with resources for new moms sponsored by your church, synagogue, local library or university. Check out bulletin boards for flyers advertising free or low-cost activities such as knitting circles or writing groups.

Remember that you will not always need as much help caring for your baby as you do now. This is not the time to be too proud to accept help. Your emotional and physical health is essential to your baby’s development and overall wellbeing.

PAY NOW OR PAY LATER

There is a wide range of options when it comes to the cost of psychotherapy. On one end is psychiatrists (MDs), who can prescribe medication in addition to providing therapy, and also tend to charge the most for their services. On the other end is social workers (LCSWs), who often charge on a sliding scale (that is, you and the social worker agree on a fee based on what you feel you can afford). Typically psychologists fall somewhere in between. If you or someone you trust suspects you may be suffering from PPD or another perinatal mood disorder, it is essential that you are assessed by a licensed mental health practitioner. Unfortunately, if you don't pay for professional help now, you could end up having to pay more later, whether it's in the form of hospital bills, plane tickets for out-of-town family members to help out, or other expenses that may have been avoided if more immediate action was taken.

Please email us if you have other ideas to add to our low-cost recovery list.

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Who We Are

Brooklyn PPD Support was started in 2006 by Molly Peryer and Chris Lindsay-Abaire, two moms of young boys who each struggled with Post-Partum Depression and Anxiety. Between them, they experienced insomnia, loss of appetite, nervousness/hypervigilance about their babies, suicidal thoughts, escape fantasies, feelings of worthlessness, anger, guilt, hopelessness, agitation, inability to concentrate, joylessness and other symptoms associated with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). They both made full recoveries.

In Spring of 2014, Brooklyn PPD Support was joined by Melissa Paschke, LCSW. Her intention was to bring a new voice, experience and professional model to the peer support group. Melissa is an LCSW who has been practicing medical social work since 1994. She is also a mother of two boys and a certified yoga instructor. Melissa also offers individual, partner and group counseling, crisis intervention, family support, health and wellness counseling, and yoga for the pre-natal and postpartum mother. Please reach out to Melissa directly for inquiries about individual treatment. Melissa is a graduate of Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work and holds advanced clinical training certificates from the NYU Silver School of Social Work and Seleni Institute.

Please contact Melissa for information about group participation or individual therapy.

See Melissa on Psychology Today: https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/prof_detail.php?profid=293007&search=11231&ref=10&sid=1492869015.7836_3799&zipcode=11231&tr=ResultsName
What We Do

If you are a pregnant or post-partum woman experiencing Depression, Anxiety, Psychosis and/or other mood challenges, you are welcome to join our group. We advise that you also reach out to your medical provider to receive treatment for these mental illnesses. Group can also be used as an adjunct to any private psychotherapy you may be receiving or you may inquire about private therapy with Melissa Paschke in addition to Brooklyn PPD Support Group. The group meets twice monthly, and babies are welcome to join us. There is a suggested fee of $35 to attend. It is our wish to remove as many barriers to treatment as possible, so if childcare or added financial burdens are preventing you from joining, please reach out to Melissa. You are encouraged to attend as many meetings as you wish. Please understand that this is a closed group; only women experiencing symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder will be allowed to participate. Graduate students, researchers and well-meaning friends and partners may not sit in on meetings.

Emotional support from empathic listeners is one key part of expediting a woman's recovery from PMADs. Ours is a safe, confidential, nonjudgmental environment where women can share their experiences. Women in all stages of illness and recovery are welcome. Even if you aren't sure or formally diagnosed with a PMAD, you are welcome. We are here to share, witness and validate each others experiences. We can also facilitate referrals for any additional treatment or supportive services that may be needed.

For more information about the symptoms of and recovery from PMAD please see our section titled "Helpful Websites". We are growing this site and will be adding more educational information, strategies for recovery, and resources for partners, family and friends in the near future.

Postpartum Support International's Universal Message:

You are not alone
This is not your fault
You will feel better