I Have Postpartum Depression, Help Me!

07 December, 2019
Q Salam Alaikum,

I am married with a newborn baby Alhumdulillah. I have postpartum depression and anxiety for which I go for counseling. However, I have a tendency to be anxious and feel I need to resolve this matter through religion. Since I found out I was expecting I have become paranoid. I think my baby will get this disease or that disease. Or baby will have this disability or that disability.

I read articles about kids with disabilities and I just cry and cry and cry - it is so tough on them and their families. I pray to Allah to protect my baby but the fear overwhelms me and paralyzes me. When my baby smiles I just cry - I feel guilty for enjoying the moment and I am ‘waiting’ for a calamity to strike me.

People say I should be optimistic and trust in Allah but Surah Baqarah does say that we will be tested - so difficulty is inevitable. What should I do?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Discuss these feelings with your counselor.Tell her about your depression and fears that overwhelm you.

•There are specialized therapies and treatments the counselors can utilize to help with what you’re feeling, such as stress reduction techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy.

•Connect with your family and close friends as well and let them know what is going on, perhaps they have also experienced postpartum depression and can be of support.


 

As-salamu Alaykum sister,

I’m sorry to hear that you have postpartum depression and anxiety.

Postpartum depression occurs often and many women go through varying degree of postpartum depression ranging from mild to severe-from experiencing it for a few days to months or longer.

As you stated that since you found out you were pregnant you became paranoid, I am wondering sister if you had any of these symptoms before or if they are new?

Did you have any mental health symptoms as a child or young adult?

If you had a history of mild depression or mild anxiety, possibly stress and or hormones associated with pregnancy and or childbirth could have exasperated it.

I Have Postpartum Depression, Help Me! - About Islam

The point is, being paranoid and worrying about this disease or that disease, or if the baby will have a disability or not, and reading articles about disabilities and crying and being fearful to the point that it paralyzes you are not typical reactions.

That’s not to say that others don’t go through this, it’s just to say that it’s to the point where it needs serious intervention. Psycom (1) discusses paranoia in context of postpartum depression stating:

“Postpartum psychosis is a related mental health condition that can also develop after childbirth. This rare and serious condition includes symptoms of hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), paranoia…”

 

Talk to your counselor

As you stated you are seeing a counselor I would highly suggest that you discuss these feelings with your counselor.

Please do tell her about your paranoia, about your fears that overwhelm you and paralyze you, and your crying episodes.

While I’m not sure what type of treatment you are receiving from your counselor,  there are medications that can help and possibly some which don’t interfere with breastfeeding (if you are breastfeeding),  if that is the route that you take.


Check out this counseling video


Stress reduction techniques

If you do not want to take medication there are other specialized therapies and treatments the counselors can utilize to help with what you’re feeling, such as stress reduction techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy and other methods to not only help you to relax but also insha’Allah help correct the faulty thinking that may be causing these feelings.

At this time sister, your hormones are dropping as you know and for some women, this is a most difficult time until their bodies readjust to a pre-pregnancy hormonal state. Nonetheless, it does need to be addressed.

Additionally,  please connect with your family and close friends as well and let them know what is going on, perhaps they have also experienced postpartum depression and can be of support.

You are not alone sister, you just need to get this resolved as soon as possible so you can fully enjoy your new baby.

Postpartum depression is a serious matter and I kindly suggest sister that you do insist upon a more intensified treatment plan from your counselor.

Postpartum depression can be treated

Postpartum depression and anxiety can be treated insha’Allah, you just have to find the method that is successful for you.

This will be a joint effort of both you and your counselor. You need to reach out to her and be totally honest about what you are going through and feeling and she needs to provide the appropriate treatment plan which will bring you relief.

While you are worried about harm coming to your baby because you love her so much if at any time sister, you feel like harming yourself or your baby please do reach out immediately for help. You can also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).   (2).

We wish you the best you’re in our prayers

Salam

1-https://www.psycom.net/depression.central.post-partum.html

2-https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/depression-hotline/

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.