CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KWWL) – When a family brings home a new baby, they’re likely to experience a rollercoaster of emotions, including happiness, joy and excitement.
But statistics show, one in every seven women and one in every ten men, will experience postpartum depression.
UnityPoint’s psychiatry clinic in Cedar Falls has always treated postpartum depression and mood disorders. However, beginning this month, the clinic is offering specialized treatment. They said it’s the first of its kind in the Cedar Valley.
Jenna Berendzen is a nurse practitioner at the clinic. After experiencing postpartum depression following the birth of her first child, she became passionate about helping other women. Now, she’s determined to make the clinic accessible to mothers, fathers and families who are suffering.
“We really want this to be the place where a mama, a family are struggling, they feel alone, they’re not sure where to get care, that they can come here, and we can say, ‘We’ve got you. We have you,'” she said.
Berendzen is joining Kristi Clements and Cindy Enyart to treat mothers and families. The three clinicians have completed specialized education and training in postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is often mistaken for ‘baby blues,’ which lasts a week or two after a baby is born. Berendzen said postpartum depression is more intense, serious and often lasts longer. Mothers can be anxious, have trouble sleeping and eating, or experience troubling thoughts.
“There’s a lot of misconception of ‘You’re going to see this baby, and you’re instantly going to bond, and it’s going to be magical, and breastfeeding will be easy’ and all of that, and there’s a lot of pressure on women, when really in fact, that’s not always the case,” Berendzen said.
Unfortunately, the clinicians said as a society, we don’t talk enough about mood disorders following childbirth. If left untreated, they said postpartum depression can be dangerous.
“There’s a lot of things we worry about. Moms being alone in their depression, feeling isolated, and it can go as far as suicide,” Clements explained.
The clinicians want families to know they don’t have to struggle through the darkness. Their treatment plan includes medication, support and individualized therapy. They’re also looking to incorporate group therapy in the future.
“Our role is to just hold [the mom] and help her through this time because she will get better,” Clements said.
For more information about the clinic’s new program, you can visit: https://www.unitypoint.org/waterloo/postpartum-depression.aspx