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Baby Steps: Barriers to Bonding

Forming a strong attachment with your newborn has benefits that can last her lifetime. But developing that emotional closeness may not come easily to mothers with postpartum depression (PPD). And the shame that many women feel about not being overjoyed at new motherhood often keeps them from seeking treatment. If you're struggling, remember this: "PPD is an illness like any other," says Katherine Stone, public relations chair for Postpartum Support International in Santa Barbara, California, and you absolutely deserve help. Your ob-gyn can give you a referral to a therapist, and you can find support online at postpartum.net. In the meantime, don't worry if you don't feel immediately connected to your newborn; it's hard to feel close to anyone when you're sleep-deprived and overwhelmed. Simply holding and talking to your baby, even when you're feeling down, gives your child exactly what she needs.

Lisa Guernsey is a freelance writer.

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