Sunday, July 13, 2008

Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting: A Review

When I came across the opportunity to review Understanding Your Moods When You Are Expecting: Emotions, Mental Health, and Happiness - Before, During, and After Pregnancy by Lucy J. Puryear M.D., I thought, "I might as well have a look. I am pregnant and crabby. Maybe I will learn something."

But here is the problem: after reading through the book, I don't feel like I have learned a whole lot. Now, that's not to say that this book doesn't have lots to offer women in different situations. But this book wasn't terribly helpful for me.

Puryear sets out to address women's emotions during all three semesters of pregnancy, birth, postpartum and beyond. She also addresses the very serious issues of postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis (She was involved in the Andrea Yates case in Texas). She concludes by making some insightful suggestions into how the health care system needs to better address women's mental health needs.

My initial impression of the information in the book was that is was obvious -- too obvious. For example, Puryear talks about the fact that women who are pregnant and parenting other small children can feel tired and overwhelmed. No kidding. She also discusses how partners may be nervous about how a child will change their relationship. Again, this just seems . . . really obvious.

The part of the book that discusses serious mental health problems offers a more substantial analysis -- but that information doesn't really apply to me. For those new moms who are struggling with depression, I think that this book would be a real asset because Puryear approaches the topic in a non-judgmental and supportive manner.

After reflecting on the book as a whole, I have come to a slightly different conclusion than I did initially. Much of the information seemed obvious to me - and I think that is because this is my third pregnancy. However, when I was expecting my first child, I think that I would have been glad to have some of the information that Puryear is offering. For example, no one (I mean no one) told me that breastfeeding hurt (even when you were doing it right). I appreciate Puryear's attempt to break "the conspiracy of silence" amongst women. She attempts to tell it like it is -- and the book certainly succeeds at that.

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