After weeks of feeling exhausted, anxious, depressed and perhaps even hopeless—you are finally diagnosed with a perinatal moodand anxiety disorder (PMAD) such as postpartum depression or anxiety. Knowing what is going on is an important step and the good news is that PMADs are very treatable. You have many options available including an effective method of treatment–therapy.
This week I interviewed Crystal Clancy, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), Mediator, and Parenting Consultant here in Minnesota about how therapy can benefit women who suffer from a perinatal moodand anxiety disorder (PMAD).
Ann: How does one go about finding a therapist? Are there any credentials or specific training they should look for?
Crystal: Pregnancy and Postpartum Support Minnesota (PPSM) has a website www.ppsupportmn.com that is a great place to start. The professionals listed on there have been screened to demonstrate competence in this specialty. Once you have some names, call their office and ask them specifics about their training and qualifications.
Ann: What happens when a woman sees you for therapy for depression or anxiety? What is the ‘process’?
Crystal: Our first meeting is a ‘getting to know you’ visit where the mother tells her story. I will complete the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), assess for trauma and safety, and determine the mother’s support network and her needs. The idea is that the mother will leave with ‘a plan’ for what is next. At our second visit we may cover family history, any marriage/relationship concerns and self-care topics, such as diet and exercise. The entire experience is really very individualized.
Ann: Do moms come alone? Or do they bring their babies?
Crystal: Most often they come alone but they can always bring their baby and/or their partner with them. It’s really about what will make them the most comfortable.
Ann: In addition to therapy, what are some other treatment options for women experiencing a PMAD?
Crystal: Other options can be very individualized. What works for some women might not work for others. Support groups, improved diet, exercise, sleep, yoga, acupuncture, journaling and massage are just some examples of other treatments for women who suffer from a PMAD. Medication is also an option; some women do well on it, some don’t.
Ann: Are there any risk factors that come into play more so here in Minnesota?
Crystal: Definitely! In the winter there is more difficulty getting outside due to the weather. This can lead to a feeling of isolation. Women may have added anxiety as they fear illness or driving on icy roads with an infant in the backseat. There is also less hours of light, which can contribute to depression. We have a Minnesota Nice stereotype here as well—one of not wanting to talk and keeping feelings to ourselves.
Ann: Any local resources you would recommend to women who suffer from a perinatal mood disorder here in Minnesota?
Crystal: PPSM, Amma Maternity, Blooma, and Doulas of North America (DONA). We also have two local moms who experienced postpartum anxiety and have written books about it: Un-Perfect, A Not-So-Graceful Journey Into Motherhood by Kelly Nordstrom and Supermom: A Postpartum Anxiety Survival Story by Stacey Ackerman.
Crystal Clancy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) working at Nystrom and Associates in Apple Valley, MN. She has extensive training and personal experience in the area of pregnancy-related struggles: infertility, loss, difficult pregnancies, and mood disorders during and after pregnancy. To make an appointment call 952-997-3020.