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  1. #1

    Teen Pregnancy and Post Partum Depression

    Hi all,

    I have a young cousin, 14 years old, and she recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Mum and babe are doing fine, but about two weeks ago, this teen mother lost her own mother to a sudden heart attack. There were small signs that Taylor (the teen) might be suffering from slight depression after the birth of her child. I've never given birth myself, so I wasn't sure if this was normal. Some people in my family assured me that it was in some cases, and since they have children of their own I listened to them. However with the loss of Taylor's mother, I'm starting to get worried. Taylor's son, Elijah, was born in January, so he's barely two months old. And he's a colicky babe as well. Taylor's mother was doing the majority of the childcare, but now that she is gone most of that is falling on Taylor as her father is really at a loss himself for what to do, and he is grieving the loss of his wife as well. My fear is that Taylor's depression is worsening. It could be simply from the grief over losing her mother, but she has a child that is largely relying on her and I fear for them both because Taylor is in such a fragile emotional state. I know there are several support groups for mothers suffering PPD, but I'm not sure about any specifically geared towards teen mothers that are suffering from this form of depression. I would value any insight you all might have into this situation. I wanted to get some advice before I speak with Taylor's father, so any help you all can provide would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Hopefulmom

  2. #2
    Hello Hopefulmom,

    Your family is to be commended for supporting your cousin during her pregnancy at such a young age.

    A few ideas...

    1. Stress is often a big cause of depression, and in your cousin's case, post partum depression. She went through a difficult 9 months of being pregnant (stress on the body), having to make critical decisions during her pregnancy, and having to deal with social pressure of being pregnant while attending high school (emotional stress). Now that baby is here, she has had to heal (physically) and care for her baby (physical and emotional stress).

    If she did not eat a highly nutritious diet during pregnancy and after, she is likely suffering from some degree of adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals get tired, they aren't able to produce hormones in the proper amounts and then a biochemical imbalance occurs. She may feel like she doesn't have the energy that she used to. She may feel like she can't cope with things that she used to be able to cope with. She may feel sad often and she may cry often. She may also startle easier (noises that shouldn't startle her will startle her) and she may find that she has a hard time losing "pregnancy weight" or that she puts weight on around her middle/tummy area. Another sign of adrenal fatigue can be hair loss. She may have some of these symptoms to varying degrees.

    One thing that can be very helpful for bringing her mood up (lifting her spirits so she's not so sad) is a vitamin called Inositol. This is part of the "B" vitamin family. It helps with depression/anxiety, high cholesterol, hair problems, eczema and diabetic neuropathy.

    Inositol is a white powder and it is sweet. I take it every day and I mix it with applesauce (just makes my applesauce sweeter - doesn't have a flavor to it). You can also take it in capsules but I think it would be easier for her to just put it in some applesauce or yogurt and eat it that way. I think she would get more of it that way, then trying to take a bunch of capsules.

    The powder I have has a scoop in it which measures 6 grams. She could start with 3 grams (1/2 scoop) and increase by 3 grams every 5 days, going up to 12 grams per day, if needed. This might look like this:

    Monday-Friday - 3 grams
    Saturday-Wednesday 6grams
    Thursday-Monday - 9 grams
    Tuesday and ongoing - 12 grams

    Insitold is known to lift mood by increasing serotonin levels when needed and also helps with the regulation of appetite and sleep. It breakdowns of fats and reduces cholesterol. She can reduce the inositol or stop altogether when she starts feeling better - I think I'd reduce it slowly, in the same pattern as it was increased.

    She may not have the capability to do this herself simply because she's dealing with so much right now. Maybe her dad or a sibling or even a friend could be in charge of doing this for her each day. I have my 7 year old make my inositol for me each morning - she just puts a scoop in applesauce, mixes it up and brings it to me. I don't have to think about doing it. That's her responsibility and it helps me.

    One other thing Inositol is good for is relieving constipation. If she's not drinking enough water and not eating enough high fiber foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, she may be dealing with constipation. The more constipated she is, the more toxins will be staying in her body and in her blood system, which makes it much harder for her to stay healthy and be happy.

    I'm happy to give you more suggestions for your cousin if you'd like. We all will give suggestion on how to deal with a collicky/fussy baby, and just offer whatever support we can.

    Is she breastfeeding? Is she trying to go to school now, or is she putting that off for now?

    Oh - and she needs to continue her prenatal vitamin supplement or get on a multi-vitamin to help her get the full complex of B vitamins which are so important for energy, mood, weight control and so much more. My guess is that she's not eating a high quality diet (with mom gone, and being only 14) which means she's not getting the nutrients she needs to be able to function well.

    Keep those questions coming - we're here to support you and your cousin.

    Warm regards,

    Kate

  3. #3
    Thank you so much Kate for all of your wonderful suggestions. I will be speaking with Taylor's father as well as her big sister (sis is 30) tomorrow about ways we can help Taylor and I will bring up the suggestions you've posted here. I think I might look into trying the Inositol myself as well as purchasing some for Taylor. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.

  4. #4
    Dear hopefulmom,

    I'm very sorry to hear what your cousin has been through recently. Post partum depression is very common and that is without adding the emotional grief of your cousin dealing with losing her mother.

    There are local support groups available where mums who are going through depression can talk to trained professionals. Post partum depression is also more common in mums who had a traumatic birth. If this is the case with your cousin, then many midwives offer an 'after thoughts' service where the mum can talk through the birth with them and start to come to terms with what has happened.

    This can take time and it may be a long process. As a mum bonds more and more with her baby this can help to heal emotional or traumatic wounds surrounding the birth and the demands of dealing with a newborn baby. This is what I personally found. I also found that breastfeeding (once it had been well established), co-sleeping and baby wearing helped in this bonding process.

    I agree with Kate that a new mum also needs to look after herself nutritionally when she is suffering from depression.

    I hope things start to get easier for you and your family soon.

  5. #5
    Hopeful Mom,

    I am sorry to hear what your family is going through. Your poor cousin, I think that Kate and LJ covered pretty much everything. You are right to be concerned. Postnatal depression can become very serious and must be nearly unbearable when compounded with the loss of a parent and your cousin's young age. I would definitely encourage your cousin to get in to see a therapist.

    Best of luck to you all.

    -Angela

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