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Getting help for postpartum depression

Published On: Mar 11 2013 08:58:23 AM EDT

Post-partum depression


Having a baby should be a happy time for a new mom, but what happens when it isn't?

Some women suffer from debilitating postpartum depression that keeps them from really enjoying anything.

Lots of women experience what has been known as the baby blues after giving birth..but that's not what we're talking about here.


Postpartum depression is a severe hormonal imbalance that can make life as a new mom extremely difficult.

Two-year-old Hannah and her mom Melissa Barbehenn of Macungie have that special bond that makes them forget other people are even in the room.

When Melissa was pregnant, she dreamed of moments like this but when Hannah was born, something different happened.

"I believe it was about two weeks after I had her that I felt like my whole world fell apart," Melissa said. "I felt like I was a horrible mother. I didn't have the connection with her. I felt like I was doing everything wrong," she added.

Melissa had postpartum depression. She found solutions in a postpartum support group run by counselor Jennifer Perreault through Lehigh Valley Health Network.

Jennifer said, "It's very overwhelming . You get this guilt feeling. You feel like what's wrong with me? I must be the only one who feels this way when in fact you're not."

Jennifer also dealt with postpartum depression. Both women want moms to know there is help and post partum depression isn't a choice.

"Women cannot decide to have this or not have this. So it's something that happens after you give birth, up to a year. So if it lasts longer than six weeks, it's probably postpartum depression," Jennifer said.

For Melissa, the road back was a long one.

"Looking back, it took a long time: months and months of counseling. Feeling that way it was so hard, it hurt me so much because I wanted to be a good mom."

The postpartum support group meetings are open to any new moms as well as their husbands or partners.

The idea is to give women a safe environment to get advice and support.You can find out more by going to Jennifer's website.