Motherhood And Mental Health
If you're pregnant, seeking help early can make a big difference.
If you're pregnant, seeking help early can make a big difference. "You can start to get help in the form of medication. You can get a counselor," Dr. Underwood said.
There are things you can do if you're feeling overwhelmed, but aren't sure if it's perinatal depression or anxiety:
If you're in your first trimester and are having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, reach out to your provider right away or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
In the second trimester, tell someone that you trust how you're feeling. This could be your partner, family member or close friend. When telling them how you feel, describe any symptoms that concern you and how it's been impacting your life and relationships.
In the third trimester, if something is still bothering you—or if it gets worse—consider speaking with someone who specializes in mental health care for moms-to-be."
Whether or not you seek professional help, having a good support network is important for postpartum depression.
If you are struggling with depression, there are many places to turn for support. Talk with your partner, friends, or family—and don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling. Other moms may be experiencing the same thing and will welcome hearing from you. Also consider reaching out to a professional counselor or therapist who can help you learn ways to cope with your emotions and decrease stress. If you have Medicaid coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, it may cover mental health services and substance abuse treatment (as well as preventive care). If not, check around in your community for free services offered by hospitals and other organizations.
If talking about your feelings is difficult for you, a Women, Infants and Children (WIC) specialist can connect you with resources that may provide support for mothers of young children. And if at any time you feel overwhelmed or are concerned about harming yourself or someone else, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Postpartum depression isn't normal, and it isn't just about being stressed.
The truth about postpartum depression is that it's not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It's not your fault if you have it, and it's more common than you may think. As many as 1 in 7 women will experience postpartum depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When women have been diagnosed with postpartum depression, they often wonder whether they should take medication to treat it or go to therapy. Some people choose to do both — sometimes referred to as "talk therapy" — and other people prefer one or the other. Neither is better than the other; rather, the treatment should be based on what works best for you.
It's important to understand the causes of postpartum depression and the risk factors that may increase your chances of experiencing it.
You’ve probably heard about postpartum depression (PPD). It’s important to understand the causes of PPD, and what risk factors may increase your chances of experiencing it. The following are some of these possible causes:
Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, your body experiences dramatic hormonal fluctuations. Some people find that adjusting to these changes can be difficult—and that continuing to adapt to them postpartum (even if they return to pre-pregnancy levels) can be even more challenging.
Genetic predisposition: Your genes can also contribute to your likelihood of developing PPD. If your biological relatives have a history of mood disorders like depression or anxiety, you may have an increased risk for developing PPD yourself.
Lack of support: Having a baby is a big life change, and you may feel overwhelmed by everything that comes with it—including parenting issues and new responsibilities—especially if you don’t have support from loved ones who can help you through the transition. This feeling is especially common if you don’t live close by family members or friends who can give this kind of assistance, but it can happen even when people do live nearby too. If you feel like there isn't enough help available from those around you, such as from family members or friends who could assist with childcare responsibilities or homecare tasks, this absence could also contribute to feelings of stress during this time in your life.
Unplanned pregnancy: Becoming pregnant unexpectedly could leave mothers feeling unprepared for the challenges ahead and unsure how to handle the demands that come with raising a child. This uncertainty could increase the likelihood they would experience negative emotions such as fear, regret or shame over their pregnancy—feelings which could potentially make them more susceptible PPD later on too.
High stress levels: Life after giving birth typically involves juggling multiple responsibilities (like childcare) all
Postpartum psychosis is extremely rare, but it is still a concern for new mothers.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare, but extremely serious condition that affects 1 or 2 women per thousand. It’s likely to strike women who haven’t had any previous signs of mental illness and it’s much more severe than postpartum depression. If you experience any symptoms, seek professional medical help immediately.
The most common symptoms are delusions, hallucinations and paranoia, but some women develop what's known as “maternal grandiosity.” This is when new moms have the delusion that they are destined for greatness or have been chosen for a special purpose, such as saving the world. Other times, new moms may believe something awful has happened to their baby or spouse.
As if these weren’t frightening enough on their own, hallucinations can also be induced by lack of sleep—and this happens frequently among new mothers because they're often caring for an infant who doesn't follow a regular sleep schedule yet.
If you're experiencing symptoms of perinatal anxiety or depression but they haven't been diagnosed, there are steps you can take to help yourself.
If you are experiencing symptoms of perinatal anxiety or depression, but you haven't been diagnosed, there are steps you can take to help yourself. Here's what we suggest:
Talk to someone about how you're feeling. This could be a friend, family member or your doctor.
If possible, find a therapist who specializes in postpartum depression and anxiety and make an appointment as soon as possible. Many mental health professionals offer telehealth services if leaving the house isn't an option for you!
Take advantage of online resources like support groups and online communities where fellow mothers share their experiences. Some helpful places to start include Postpartum Support International (www.postpartum.net), Depression During and After Pregnancy (www.depressionduringpregnancyandafterbirth.com) and PANDA (Post-and-Antenatal Depression Association).
Being depressed during pregnancy and after childbirth is common.
You may not have seen this coming, but you're certainly not alone in feeling the way that you do. There are many other parents out there who feel the same way and have gone through the same thing. Many people don't recognize depression during pregnancy or after childbirth, but it is a common and very real condition.
It's important to remember that seeking help does not mean that you are a bad parent or that you are weak. Depression is an illness, and sufferers of depression can't just "snap out of it" by choice. It's also important to know that it's usually nothing you've done (or didn't do)—depression can affect anyone at any time in their lives for no apparent reason. So let go of any guilt or blame, and focus on getting better. You're doing your baby a favor by taking care of yourself!
You are not a bad parent if you have postpartum depression.
The first and most important thing to remember is that postpartum depression (PPD) is not your fault. It's normal to feel overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, and sad after you have a baby. You are in no way alone. Postpartum depression affects about one in nine women with children under the age of five in the United States.
It's also important to remember that postpartum depression does not make you a bad parent—in fact, it makes you proactive. Remember: PPD is an illness that can be treated by professionals. If you think you might be dealing with PPD, talk to your partner or a close friend and/or family member whom you trust. They can support you during this time and help take care of your new child while you adjust to life with them! Talk to your doctor as soon as possible too; they may be able to prescribe medication or refer you for therapy or counseling on-site or at local health clinics, both of which can reduce symptoms dramatically!
Postpartum depression is common and treatable. There are lots of resources available to those who need help.
There are many options for help with postpartum depression and other mental health concerns. According to the National Coalition of Maternal Mental Health, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders affect up to 15 percent of pregnant women and new mothers. Treatment can significantly improve the lives of both a mother and her family, so it's important to seek help early on.
Some resources include:
````* The American Psychological Association (APA) has [a referral service](https://locator.apa.org/) that helps you find psychologists in your area.(http://www.postpartumdepressionhelpcenter.com/find-psychologist)
The Postpartum Support International (PSI) website has a comprehensive list of [resources for new moms](https://www.postpartum.net/get-help/resources/) across all 50 states, as well as Canada and Australia.(https://www.postpartumdepressionhelpcenter.com/find-therapist)
The Warmline is a free support line for pregnant and postnatal women run by Postpartum Support International (PSI). You can call the Warmline at 1-(800)-944-4PPD or email at *warmline@postpartumsupportinternational*(http://www.momsrisingmhcwg.org/what-is-the-warmline/)