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When Postpartum Packs a Punch offers solace to mothers who have experienced traumatic birth and perinatal mood disorders.

A chorus of different voices—parents, experts, and researchers sing the same song: while the U.S. has made strides in caring for new mothers, we still have far to go. Stigma silences women and blinds those on the sidelines. And stories of others’ struggles are an antidote because they let mothers know that they are not alone.

Kristina Cowan describes her own struggles with traumatic birth and postpartum depression. She weaves together her own story with those of other parents, and uses these stories as a balm to help heal and stir hope. The stories represent diverse backgrounds and perspectives to underscore the prevalence of mood disorders after childbirth. They show how a spirit to overcome can fight terrors of the mind—and win.

when-postpartum-packs-a-punch
Kristina Cowan

Kristina Cowan started writing when she was only 5. Years later, she earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and these days she covers mental health and women’s issues. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and two young children. When Postpartum Packs a Punch is her first book.

Reviews

‘First I had a baby. Then I felt crazy.’ Such a powerful and poignant beginning to this important book on postpartum illness. What Kristina Cowan offers goes way beyond the courage of sharing personal stories. When Postpartum Packs a Punch is rich with compassion, hope, and much-needed resources. This book is hugely informational, it is comforting, it is healing.

—Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW

If there was ever a book for fathers to educate themselves about perinatal mental health, it is this incredible book.

—Mark Williams, founder of International Fathers Mental Health Day, speaker, author, and campaigner

Are you feeling the punch? Many new parents do. Kristina Cowan helps the reader understand the scientific and personal side of this often unanticipated problem. Well researched and well written, this book can help you see that you are not alone in your struggle and that there is help.

—Dr. Jonathan S. Abramowitz, clinical psychologist, professor, and international expert on OCD and anxiety disorders

Like a thunderclap on a cloudless day, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders upend a woman’s vision of herself as a mother, as a person. With unflinching honesty, Kristina Cowan chronicles her odyssey through the heartbreak of depression following her son’s birth. Using her story as a backdrop, Cowan weaves a tapestry of voices, those who love the sufferers, and those who treat them. This enlightening book describes the history and development of international treatment models, which are finally being adopted and adapted in this country, serving up hope, inspiration, and reassurance.

—Dr. Margaret Howard, director of the Day Hospital and Women’s Behavioral Health at Women and Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island

A great contribution to reliable education and research on perinatal mental health. As most therapists and advocates, I am careful and protective when I recommend books to parents who are struggling with distress and trauma related to pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. I’m also determined to share evidence-based research in the field with providers and researchers. Cowan puts her expert reporting and expressive skills to work here, and the result is a resource that is informative, hopeful, and motivating. We need more resources like this—using clear evidence to help families and providers improve the landscape for perinatal mental health. The information and personal excerpts empower families, as well as providers and policy makers. Together, and with solid information like this, we can make the landscape easier to travel, and our ability to care more effective. By saying, ‘I’ve been where you are, and it’s awful. But I got through it, and so will you,’ we show new mothers they’re not alone. We offer hope, which is the heart of this book.

—Wendy Newhouse Davis, Ph.D. Counseling & Consultation Postpartum Support International, Executive Director

Photo with title by Maria Griner