Mothers and babies. These are words that conjure up many images. Some may be fairytale versions of the perfect blissful union embraced by shimmering silk. A more typical scenario might reveal the likeness of a tired but loving woman holding her crying baby, trying desperately to soothe him while she wonders how she will get through the long day. Rarely, when one envisions a mother and baby does one imagine a tortured woman, terrified to be alone with her baby for fear that she might act on the gruesome thoughts that plague her throughout the day. Such as thoughts of her infant falling out of the window, or throwing her baby down the stairs or out of a car, or stabbing her baby with a kitchen knife. Or thoughts about leaving her family without warning because she can’t possibly be the mother or wife that she thinks they need. These thoughts, too shocking to admit and too threatening to deny, remain locked inside, smothered with shame.
This secret agony that some pregnant and postpartum women experience, whether or not they have an associated mood or anxiety disorder, is vastly misunderstood by healthcare practitioners and by the women who suffer with them. Women who wrestle with troubling thoughts during or after childbirth seek information, clarification and validation. Without adequate attention to this concern, profound perceptions of inadequacy and feelings of guilt emerge. These perceptions and feelings, in turn, can lead to relentless self-criticism and self-loathing. After all, these women wonder, how can a mother think such thoughts about her innocent new infant or about the gift of motherhood--thus, perpetuating the hidden shame and cycle of despair. DROPPING THE BABY AND OTHER SCARY THOUGHTS: Breaking the Cycle of Unwanted Thoughts in Motherhood addresses the nature of these intrusive and mysterious thoughts, which the authors refer to throughout the book as scary thoughts.
Although the volume is geared toward the women who struggle with scary thoughts, it is also a useful resource for healthcare professionals who work with postpartum women. DROPPING THE BABY AND OTHER SCARY THOUGHTS will provide a resource for consumers and clinicians who must confront these negative cognitions by outlining what these thoughts are, why they are there, and what can be done about them. The compassionate tone of the book will be a voice that is familiar to many women in the postpartum community, as the words will be written by two clinicians who have established themselves as leading experts and authors in this specialized field.
Karen Kleiman, MSW, licensed, clinical social worker, is founder and director of The Postpartum Stress Center. She is author of several books on postpartum depression, including This Isn’t What I Expected (Bantam Books), and an internationally recognized postpartum depression expert. After graduating in 1980 from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her Masters in Social Work, she began her practice as a psychotherapist, specializing in women's mental health issues. In 1988 she founded The Postpartum Stress Center, a treatment facility for prenatal and postpartum depression and a training center for therapists. In March, 2009 she opened The Postpartum Stress & Family Wellness Center in New Jersey, expanding their services to include the treatment of children and adolescents. In addition to her clinical practice, Karen teaches a specialized post-graduate course for clinicians, provides training programs for healthcare professionals and mentoring opportunities for therapists who wish to specialize in the treatment of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Her work has been featured in local and national magazines, numerous radio shows, local and national television shows, including Inside Edition, The Oprah Winfrey Show and NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw. She is frequently asked to consult and lecture on the topic of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. Karen lives with her family outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Amy Wenzel received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Iowa, followed by her clinical psychology internship at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. She has served on the faculties of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, the American College of Norway, and the University of North Dakota. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. She is author of Anxiety Disorders in Childbearing Women: Diagnosis and Treatment (APA Books) and editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Perinatal Psychology (Oxford University Press), as well as author or editor of books on topics such as cognitive therapy, cognitive research methods, and close relationships.
For more information on postpartum depression or to contact Karen Kleiman,
please contact The Postpartum Stress Center at: 610-525-