Therapist and Home Visitor Partner to Help Mother Overcome Postpartum Depression
Therapist and Home Visitor Partner to Help Mother Overcome Postpartum Depression
As early as 5 years old, Stacy recalls dreaming of being a mother. As she got older, her desire grew. In her teens, she was the primary caregiver for two younger siblings and was convinced she was destined for motherhood.
mother and child postpartum
She envisioned the many ways life would be different for her children — how she would nurture, love and support them, and give them everything everything Stacey and her siblings lacked in childhood. At 26, Stacy’s dream of becoming a mother came true. She enrolled in the Early Head Start Home-based program during her pregnancy and began receiving support from a home visitor.
Soon after the baby was born, Stacy’s home visitor began to get a feeling that something was off. While screens for depression showed no concern, and during weekly visits Stacy always verbalized feeling fine, intuition told her there was more than meets the eye with Stacy.
After several discussions with her home visitor, Stacy agreed to allow a Moving Beyond Depression therapist to accompany her home visitor to one of their meetings. The day of the meeting, Stacy cancelled the appointment, saying “there are other people who could benefit more from the therapy services. Those people should have my spot.” Fortunately, to her home visitor and MBD therapist, Stacy seemed to be saying “I am not worthy of getting help, nothing will help me.”
The MBD therapist continued to connect with the home visitor by phone, email and meetings, to support Stacy’s home visitor. This home visitor recognized Stacy’s low self–esteem might be keeping her from seeking help and continued to support Stacy in identifying her strengths, and to discuss the benefits of MBD for other moms in her program who shared some of Stacy’s challenges.
The home visitor laid the foundation for Stacy to think, process, and determine what would be best for her. Despite months of rejecting the program, Stacy finally agreed to meet with a MBD therapist. The home visitor fostered hope in Stacy, allowing her to think about how life could look different for her and her baby.
Despite only working with her for a few sessions, the work has been intense and had a positive effect on Stacy. Like so many of the moms in MBD, Stacy has experienced a lot of trauma. In their first few sessions with the MBD therapist, Stacy began to open up about her past trauma and her current feelings. She expressed how thing weren’t going the way she had been envisioning nearly all her life. She didn’t feel bonded to her baby, she felt overwhelmed and wondered is she should have become a mother in the first place and she felt guilty because she felt like her baby deserved better. Her therapist recalls telling her often, “we work together and decide how you can make small changes in your life to start feeling differently about the difficult times in your past.”
By building relationships on the foundation of the partnerships between clients and their home visitors, MBD therapists are able to connect at a deep level in a short amount of time. After only a few sessions of treatment, Stacy is reporting benefits of therapy to her home visitor and her hard work is building her self-esteem and acknowledge her value as both a mother.
More about Moving Beyond Depression:
MBD provides in-home therapy to mom’s who are engaged in a home visitation program and screen positive for signs of depression. Many of our clients have had negative experiences with mental health services, or are simply so overwhelmed by their life circumstances that they are unlikely to follow through with seeking services on their own. These moms are among the population in our community who, despite their need for treatment, are the most unlikely to get it in a traditional manner. Much of the success of Moving Beyond Depression is due to the work behind the scenes of home visitors, who use their skills to educate their clients about the effects of maternal depression, and then work tirelessly to foster in the client a willingness to accept help. This following story illustrates this process.