Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wednesday's Word: Depression During and After Pregnancy

I was different than most women I have talked with, I struggled with depression during pregnancy not at all after my baby was born. I struggled with it majorly while I was pregnant with Jackson. Some days I could not get out of the bed. I truly believe it is very complicated but huge change in hormones during and after pregnancy are a major factor. Most women struggle with an imbalance of hormones after they give birth, but my problem happened while I was pregnant. Major weight gain I feel was also a factor for me.

I talked with my Christian OBJYN and she said since I struggled with depression so severely while I was pregnant with Jackson that I needed to be on a pretty intense work out plan before I got pregnant again. So, I started back up with step and combat classes and worked out till I was 8 months pregnant with Abigail, and I was not depressed while I was pregnant with her. The second I give birth my "blues" go away. I was prepared for the battle with Abigail and I fought it with everything I had by exercises and eating better, and being attached to God's Word.

  1. Post Partum Depression --- 10-20% of first time mom have some version Baby Blues 1 week after birth, massive hormone changes.

Here are my notes on Depression from my counselling class at SEBTS. I hope this is helpful and would love to hear your feedback.

Key Points on Depression:

  1. Depression=self focused, hopeless, emotional pain; an introverted form of suffering that totally obscures hope.
  2. “Causes” of depression are multiple and sometimes complex. Depression is a pneuma-bio-social phenomenon. Depression always has significant spiritual components. Spurgon, Rainer, and Carey all struggled with depression
  3. Suffering invariably reveals that allegiance of our hearts. Depression is more than just a feeling. It is something we “do.” Depression speaks; it says something.
  4. Key spiritual foci when counseling depression: excessive self-focus and hopelessness
  5. Initial counseling strategies:

Lead with mercy and compassion (Jms. 2:13)

Provide biblical hope and encouragement (Rms. 8:28)

Understand and assess

Explicitly commit yourself to counsel/disciple them as long as necessary

  1. Develop and elicit commitment to initial steps of trust and obedience: assign direct, simple, achievable homework/goals
  2. Diagnose heart condition/spiritual/God-related issues.
    1. Invite the counselee to examine their own heart
    2. Identify hopelessness and self-focus
    3. What is the depression saying?
  3. Renew the mind (Rom 12:2; Eph. 4:23, Phil 4:8)
    1. Take the soul to task; “you must preach to yourself (M. Lloyd Jones); the depressed person must talk to themselves rather than just letting their depression talk to and beguile them into staying in the pit (Ps. 42, 43)
    2. “Watch how you muse and what you choose when you lose” (Jim Berg)
  4. Deal with passivity and lack of motivation
    1. increase pleasure activities
    2. increase competency activities
    3. increase altruism/love others
    4. attack procrastination
  5. Practice RX: put off/putt on – from/to
    1. sleep
    2. exercise
    3. diet/nutrition
    4. spiritual disciplines
    5. relationships
      • Discipline of Grace, Jerry Bridges is a great book and has great examples. Many Christians just put it on cruise control
      • 2 Tim. 4 (The Race and The Fight) War is going on in her heart. Remind her over and over again who she is in Christ. Sin is not stronger than she is.
      • Must get that following God is not passive, there is no shortcuts in holiness. No book can do it for her, she needs to fight, fight, fight.
      • Many women describe depression as a pain that is crippling, a room, a black hole that they just cannot get out of. Ask them what they mean! It is a form of suffering (Prob. 18:17) and women are 2 times more likely to become depressed than men. It is not simply hormones, it is very complex.
      • Could be many biological factors even chronic stress, lack of sleep, overworking
      • What are your goals when counseling (Big Picture)

        1. For God to be glorified in her life and be sanctified
        2. to know Him and trust hum
        3. her faith to be purified
        4. grow in the fear of God
        5. mind of Christ
        6. love others
        7. her heart reveals who/what she is living for
      • Best book to read is Depression a Stubborn Darkness by Welch
  6. How would you recommend a women fighting depression during and after pregnancy? I would also add that if you are still struggle with it months after giving birth, you probably want to go see an endocrinologist to make sure you do not have some sort of deficiency, such as a vitamin deficiency, that could be causing you to feel depressed...especially if you have never struggled with depression before.

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