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Hope for postpartum depression!

answered 10:58 AM EST, Tue December 13, 2011
I am a new mom who has been diagnosed with postpartum depression. I am 24. My son is now 3 months old. I am taking Sertraline because it is safe for breastfeeding mothers although I am no longer breastfeeding. I am not breastfeeding mostly because I have relapsed back to drinking. I was more than 5 years sober and now I am drinking again and this obviously does not make me a very good mother.

My boyfriend is trying to be supportive but he is pretty overwhelmed right now with work and with the baby and I am sorry to say with me too. I find him kind of hard to take a lot of the time now also. I am supposed to travel North with my boyfriend over Christmas to show our baby boy off to all his relatives. I can’t imagine doing this. They would freak if they saw me drinking.

Actually my boyfriend doesn’t really know how much I am drinking. Maybe I should just go there and use the day I am going up as the day I don’t drink any more? I don’t know. I feel like I can’t think straight anymore. I am in a new town and I don’t know anyone and all I do is look at this crying baby all day and my mind just can’t focus.

Rachel Starck Says...


Firstly, good for you for five years sober, we know you can do it!  Having a baby is stressful for any of us, and some women struggle far more with mood changes and the effects of sleep loss.   Your hormones are all over the place particularly in the first several months, which affects our mood, our attention, our memory, our relationships.  What is your family support like? You mentioned your boyfriends family.   It sounds like your priority is to stop drinking as soon as possible, as alcohol is a depressant, and treating this your depression is critical in getting you on track as a mom! 

Who is prescribing your medication?  I would review whether your medication is as effective as it could be. You may need to adjust your dose or look at a different medication. 

Do you have access to a counselor?  I strongly recommend that you find support as soon as possible: 12 step meetings, a sponsor, a counselor, mommy support group in your town or on-line (google "support for new moms, postpartum depression").  Regarding the holidays, it may be healthier for you to be around people, rather then avoiding your boyfriends family.  Get to a meeting, make a plan, you can do it!  You did it before!

You are not alone in your struggles with postpartum depression, addiction, and new mommy-hood, and there is hope! 

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Page last updated Dec 19, 2011

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