The Jewish Eye
Delivery from Darkness
Delivery from Darkness
A Jewish Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Depression
By Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein, Michal Finkelstein, RN CNM, with Doreen Winter, MSW
Feldheim Publishers, 2009
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - November 16, 2009
Having a baby is a remarkable experience, and no matter how many children you have, each new child is a miracle and the start of a new beginning. You also learn that no two pregnancies are the same, nor your recovery from them. Whether your first pregnancy or your fifteenth, you are at risk of developing postpartum depression (PPD). What causes PPD? No one really knows, but it is a very real condition that affects up to 20% of new mothers, while up to 80% of all new moms suffer from the 'baby blues' a much milder form of PPD that tends to resolve on its own. While doctors may not know what causes PPD, it can be diagnosed, and there are steps that can be taken to minimize the duration and severity of PPD.
In Delivery from Darkness: A Jewish Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Postpartum Depression, Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein, Michal Finkelstein, a registered nurse and midwife, and Doreen Winter, a social worker, have written a book that not only explains what is thought to cause PPD, but also its various signs and symptoms, available treatment options, and the ins and outs of depression in general. Most important, the authors clearly explain that PPD is not your fault, and you are not alone. It is just a biological process that can occur after childbirth, or at times, even during the pregnancy.
Filled with first person accounts of how other women and their families have dealt with PPD, this book will remind you that you are not alone! If you ask around, you'll discover that almost everyone you know, knows someone who has dealt with PPD. As well, the authors not only offer advice directed at the sufferer, but also their family members who are as equally affected by the condition as the sufferer. They also discuss the range of treatment options that can be used to treat PPD that can range from simply talking to friends or a therapist, to the various medications that can be used, or in the case of Postpartum Psychosis, the most severe form of PPD, how and why inpatient psychiatric care may be needed.
The authors offer keen advice and support that comes from an Orthodox, Jewish perspective and which brings a spiritual level in the treatment of PPD. They also address many issues that are unique to the Jewish community. For instance, the authors look at issues such as shidduch, and the fear that seeking psychiatric help for this very common condition may damage future shidduch plans. A fear that causes women to needlessly refuse to seek the care that they may need, endangering not only themselves but also the entire family. Throughout, the authors have also included a number of question and answer sections in which they interviewed leading experts in the field of PPD, adding their advice and knowledge to an already exceptional and important book.
Delivery from Darkness is not only a book that should be read by anyone dealing with PPD, either directly or indirectly, but also by anyone, such as Rabbis and community leaders, who might have cause to counsel someone dealing with PPD. It is also vital reading for doctors, social workers, and other professionals who regularly deal with members of the Jewish community.
Please note, Rabbi and Mrs. Finkelstein are also the authors of B'Sha'ah Tovah: The Jewish Woman's Clinical and Halachic Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and Third Key: Jewish Guide to Fertility, two books that will be of great interest to anyone seeking information that is accurate both clinically, and Halachicly, on these important topics.
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