If a mother immediately loves her newborn

Postpartum Depression: When Maternal Feelings Are Missing

Individual therapy for postpartum depression

Juliane Böhm was not very surprised about her diagnosis. She struggled with depression before she became pregnant. "I'm also a perfectionist person," she says.

Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment and therapy are available on an outpatient or inpatient basis, for example in the day clinic of the Clinic for Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in Dresden. Six mothers and their babies can be accommodated here for an eight-week stay. "We are looking for the causes of the depression. To what extent does the woman's biography play a role? We clarify whether a drug is necessary and, above all, look at the bonding behavior between mother and child," explains Kerstin Weidner.

Doctors and therapists put together the therapeutic measures individually for their patients. Depending on whether there is a previous psychological burden or the woman has a personality disorder, therapy can take a longer period of time. Juliane Böhm did not have to go to the clinic as an inpatient. She met up with Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld once a week for a conversation. The therapist encouraged her to get support from friends and family in order to have some space for herself. It took away the fear of losing control of her life. It motivated her to establish social contacts because the small family had only moved shortly before Max was born.

Cry baby: Help with crying outpatient clinics

It was also important: Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld organized a visit to a scream clinic for Juliane Böhm and Max. "Here the expert assured me that Max was a cry baby and that it was normal for a child like him to take 45 minutes to fall asleep." Juliane Böhm's fear of putting her child to sleep disappeared. She could stand and understand Max's crying better now. Her son, in turn, felt that his mother was less tense and from then on found sleep more easily and quickly.

When her son was six weeks old, Juliane Böhm had the depression under control: As a mother, she felt competent and had found access to her baby. "A quarter of a year after the birth, I was totally in love with my Max."

Expert: "The subject is still shameful"

One thing is very important to Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld in her work with patients: to remove the taboo from postpartum depression. "The subject is still very embarrassed." Because, according to the expert, pregnancy and motherhood are often portrayed positively in society and the media, even if the topic has attracted increasing public interest in recent years. Not least because of prominent mothers who report postpartum depression.

"If a woman doesn't see everything as pink, she can quickly develop guilty feelings." It is normal that it doesn't always work out immediately to adapt to the new role. "It is right for a woman to seek help for this process. I encourage her to do so," says the psychologist.

Juliane Böhm is very open about her illness. She tells her friends about it. And she is always amazed at how many mothers have problems with their baby in the early days: "I think that's because nobody tells you what to expect as a mother. It catches you totally cold." After the young woman had completed her two years of psychotherapy with Silvia Oddo-Sommerfeld, she was no longer afraid of developing postpartum depression again in another child. "If it does happen, I know what to do: get me help quickly."