May is Maternal Mental Health Month so I decided to dedicate this issue of What Your Therapists are Reading to the topic of maternal mental health and more specifically perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. This list is not comprehensive by any means. There are lots of great books written for both professionals and as self help. These are just a few that people have shared for this particular post. This list is meant for educational and informational purposes only. If you are in need of help please contact Postpartum Support International help line at www.postpartum.net
So what are your therapists reading when it comes to maternal menal health? It is impossible to think about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders without thinking about Karen Kleiman, LCSW. When asking for resources that other professionals use for this post, someone wrote “anything by Karen Kleiman”, which speaks to how important her work has been to this area of mental health. Karen Kleiman, LCSW has written several books for both professionals and those struggling with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Instead of listing all her books, you can find them here. In her descriptions, she shares which books are for clients and which ones are for professionals. Below is one book that all professionals could benefit from reading. I personally am very grateful I had the opportunity to have attended her training, as she has been a gift to this field. Please check out her website www.postpartumstresscenter.com. Become familiar with all the work she has done for those struggling, training professionals and working to fight the stigma. You can connect with Jessica Fowler, LCSW at jlfcounselingservices.com
For professionals I recommend Therapy and the Postpartum Woman: Notes on Healing Postpartum Depression for Clinicians and the Women Who Seek their Help by Kleiman. It is really easy to read and the author draws on real cases she’s treated in a way that makes you feel like she’s inviting you to her office for case consultation! This book really helped set the foundation for my practice in treating postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. This book helped me understand how to “mother the mother” in providing the safe space in therapy for women to work through postpartum struggles. You can connect with Laura Parry, LCSW at laura-parry.com
by Daniel J. Siegel, MD & Mary Hartzell, M.Ed
Our experience in the parent-child relationship begins with our own childhood and, as we transition to the role of parent, those experiences remain relevant. I think many people acknowledge and accept this on the surface, but Parenting from the Inside Out offers a vehicle to explore that premise and better understand ourselves so that we can be more connected as parents. This book offers clear, concise information on child development that is grounded in attachment theory with “spotlight on science” sections that explain the related neurobiology in plain language so you can really understand the how and why. Further reflection is encouraged through “inside out exercises” that help you dig deeper and apply the content to your own experience in the parent-child relationship. You can connect with Alexa Weeks, LMSW, RN, CD at https://www.mindfulwellnessrochester.com/
Ms. Merkin provides an honest look at what it is to suffer from depression. Through her unique voice the reader can better understand that depression comes in many forms and doesn’t discriminate. Powerful read. Highly recommend. You can connect with Marisa Mahler, Psy.D. at www.drmarisamahler.com
I love this book because 1) it is based on my original research and I can testify that the principles are real 2) it not only explains the reasons women struggle with PPD, it gives you ways to help yourself through it and 3) I tell my own story of having PPD. You can connect with Kimberly D. Thompson PhD. at www.the-mommy-mentor.com
by Ashley Hanna Morgan, LCSW
Even though I’m a therapist and had tried my best to prepare for parenting, I still felt completely overwhelmed by postpartum depression and anxiety. Creative writing was a major component of my healing (as well as reconnecting to my body and releasing all of that pent up energy and emotion through yoga). I wanted to write about postpartum depression from behind the eyes of someone who lived it and healed from it so that others won’t feel so achingly alone. Most importantly, I wanted to tell the story of HOW to heal in snippets of poems that can be read and mulled over in a short amount of time since that’s all we have as parents! If one parent feels liken they have hope for healing from reading about my experiences, in my opinion it was all worth it. You can connect with Ashley Hanna Morgan, LCSW at ashleyhannamorgan.com
This workbook offers cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to practice for those struggling with anxiety, worry, panic, obessions or compusions. This book was submitted by Lucy E.Doherty LICSW
Although I normally share books, the reality is that most of us do not have a ton of time to read, either as a new parent or a therapist. So I thought I would also share two of my favorite podcasts. The first is Mom & Mind hosted by Dr. Kat Kaeni. Dr. Kat describes the podcast as “This podcast focuses on the Maternal Mental Health struggles related to becoming pregnant, being pregnant, birth and early parenthood. We talk about all of the stuff that you wish someone would have told you BEFORE you tried to be pregnant or have a baby. Postpartum depression is only part of the story.” The second podcast is birthful hosted by Adriana Lozada. Adriana shares that she “talks with pregnancy, birth and postpartum experts to distill that information down the relevent stuff. Think of us as your own specialized team of birth pros.” Both these podcasts cover much more than perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, but for the purpose of this post, one thing I love is that both are talking to experts in the field and sharing invaluable information.
I hope that you have found something to be helpful if you are interested in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders or are struggling. We all need to talk about it and fight the stigma! If you are a professional who treats PMAD’s and have a book you would like to add to this list, let me know as I will continue to update it. Please remember that perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are treatable and reach out for help if you are struggling. Please contact Postpartum Support International.
Happy Reading and Listening,
Jessica Fowler, LCSW
*This blog post is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not an endorsement of those that contribute to the article or the books.