The Unwanted Afterbirth: Depression
Postpartum Depression Responds to EFT
Dr. Rossanna M. Massey, D.C., EFTCert-II
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I have long wondered why there was such a mixed bag of experiences for women post postpartum. How is it that some women get depressed and why others do not? Is it really just an unbalanced internal chemical mix that happens randomly, or are there contributing emotional factors that give one the propensity to not be able to handle what is normally a natural hormonal shift in the body after delivery?
I had my chance to finally work with a willing participant that just happened to be a very close cousin of mine, Gloria. She had just delivered her second son, Rodrigo, one week prior to our first session. Gloria had a history of severe postpartum depression following the birth of her first son, Joaquin, three years ago. She describes it as so severe and debilitating that she was only able to breast feed her son and then immediately hand him over to her husband. She couldn’t handle much more than that.
This feeling of being overwhelmed went on relentlessly from shortly after the birth until July of the following year, a total of 13 months. She was prescribed the anti-depression medication, Zoloft, a month after the birth of her son, which according to her did nothing to alleviate the symptoms.
At the birth of Rodrigo, knowing what happened with her first child, the family cautiously waited for the other shoe to drop, and it did with a vengeance. Her parents, my aunt and uncle, had attended an EFT workshop of ours two years ago and were familiar with the benefits of EFT. It was my aunt (her mom) who called me for help.
Although I have my cousin's permission to write about her challenges during the course of our sessions, I will keep the tapping issues general for purposes of discretion. For those of you interested in working with postpartum depression, please feel free to contact me for a more detailed set of the tapping issues we worked on.
I paid a visit to Gloria for our first session. She had been crying all morning. After I gave her instruction on how and where to tap, I asked her what her initial feelings were at that moment as a place of reference. The only thing she could say was “I can’t do this” (referring to being a mother to two small children at once).
So, we started with: “Maybe I can accept myself even though I can’t do this”.
From our starting point and the duration of our sessions, approximately 14 days--an hour session daily for two weeks, we uncovered layers of traumatic childhood events beginning with being bullied at school numerous times in middle school. Also, other core issues included a strong sibling rivalry dynamic (she’s the baby of the family) with an older sibling, which in essence turned into serial bullying. Other fear-inducing memories included an auto accident and a Peeping Tom episode.
*Side note about the Peeping Tom: while staying at her house during my relocation from Michigan, I noticed that she always kept her drapes and blinds closed. Very peculiar at the time, but I had a hunch about it--turns out I was right. By the way...she now keeps the windows uncovered during the day and lets the Sun shine in.
As our sessions progressed, it became obvious that these feelings of fear, helplessness, and inadequacy were because almost all of her childhood experiences (especially the bullies) were kept secret, as most children do for self preservation--for fear of repercussion. With all of these stuffed-down emotions I think it caused a combustible vibrational imbalance called anxiety. Not surprisingly, there were physical responses with each issue during our tapping rounds, i.e. tight throat, stomach belching, and chest wall tension, that corresponded to the underlying chakras involved. These “emotional catcher's-mitts” (chakras) hold onto different parts of each issue, the different intense emotions that relate to that chakra, and manifest as a physical reaction also- -literally.
Gloria was an exceptional “client”, in part because she was very motivated to get beyond these moods and get on with being the best mom she could be. Also, and as importantly, she was willing to find time for daily intensive sessions for as long as it took. We managed to get through her personal peace procedure in twelve days--the last two days we were literally fishing for straws to find things to work on!
As a side note, Gloria and her husband and oldest son had recently sold their home in which her son had lived since birth, and were staying with her mother and father in the house where she grew up. Her son was confused and anxious and kept asking “where am I?” and disturbed about the change in bedroom, bed, routines and not least, the new brother. To help him accommodate to the changes, we surrogate tapped on him as well. The changes in him were remarkable. He became calmer, happier, and more cooperative. We also surrogate tapped on the newborn son, and he, too, exhibited positive changes, sleeping for longer periods of time and being much more relaxed. After all, Gloria's energies were much calmer and relaxed.
From a physiological standpoint, it is my belief that although hormonal swings occur naturally in an effort to re-balance the body postpartum, it is the emotional overload of stress related issues individual to each woman that makes the difference in how they handle these natural physiological responses. The less emotional stress in the past, the better the hormonal experience postpartum.
Gloria’s transformation from weepy and overwhelmed to serene and emotionally balanced seemed nothing short of miraculous--at least for those who don’t yet know about energy psychology and how it works. And it wasn’t done with pills or conventional therapy. She didn’t attend a support group and share scary mothering experiences. She used EFT.
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Posted February 03, 2011 10:43 PM
hi, I am working with a woman (about 6 weeks now) experiencing severe postpartum depression. She is on Lexapro for about 3-4 weeks with very little change. I have been using EFT for about 3 sessions and have tapped on everything I can think of, self acceptance, all her language (I can do this, im not getting better, ive hit a wall) and she still does she does not feel any better. She almost always gives her emotion a "10" when I ask her to feel the intensity. any thoughts would be so helpful. She does not describe any history of depression. This is first child and does not describe depression during the pregnancy. She also describes being fine for the first 5 months and then she bagan to feel the depression.
Posted February 04, 2011 09:40 AM
If someone is not responding to EFT think energy toxins, and more than likely, it's the drug she's on. My experience with clients taking drugs used for anxiety and depression is that they can have a stalled, or slow energetic response. Be sure to check on any other chemical toxin she may be exposed to including cleaning products, beauty products that are scented, and too many electrical currents in the room. In difficult cases like yours (you can always tell by the first session) I would start out the session by going through the "Collar Bone Breathing" technique which always seems to push past resistance. If you have difficulty with that technique you can always include the "Wayne Cook Posture".
Ultimately, there is a subconscious resistance to changing her energy and she may not be ready to give it up. It's a good idea to let go of the outcome (on your end) and tap for acceptance either way. It will feel safer to her if you move slower and ask permission while tapping. Without meeting with her, intuitively I think she probably has nurturing issues with rage at the core. Keep me posted on your progress.
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