May means Mother’s Day and it also means Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month in Texas. I’m sure you are familiar with Mother’s Day and have your special brunch reservations made and beautiful flowers ordered (if you haven’t, consider yourself reminded). Maternal Mental Health Month is a little bit less known, but just as important. We are talking about loving on mom in May!
Postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, pregnancy depression, postpartum PTSD and postpartum psychosis are all mental illnesses that develop either during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. One in seven mothers suffer from a perinatal mood disorder and together they are the most common complication after birth. These disorders affect women across all ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural lines, often in women with no history of depression or anxiety.
One of the most difficult issues when it comes to talking about perinatal mood disorders is that large amount of misinformation. I encourage you to take a look at the most common falsehoods related to perinatal mood disorders.
- All new moms are tired. You will feel better once your baby starts sleeping through the night.
- True, the weeks/months after delivery are exhausting, but if you are unable to sleep or are sleeping all the time it may be PPD or PPA.
- Hormones dip after delivery every mom gets a little weepy from time to time.
- True, but it you are crying or feeling deep sorrow on a daily basis for more that three weeks it may be PPD.
- “The Baby Blues” or the hormonal dip after delivery are experience immediately after delivery, while the symptoms of Perinatal Mood Disorders can develop anytime up to a year after delivery.
- New moms are naturally overprotective when it comes to their baby.
- True, but if you have severe anxiety over leaving your baby for a short time, you fear your ability to care for them, or if you are experiencing panic attacks, it may be postpartum anxiety or panic disorder.
- Once your baby turns one, things will get better.
- Perinatal mood disorders do not just go away with time. In fact PPD can develop into deep chronic depression if left untreated.
- Perinatal mood disorders only affect the mom.
- While the mother is suffering from the symptoms, her entire family is hurting too. Marriages are stressed when husbands don’t understand what has happened to their wife. Older siblings are left confused and lonely. Mother-baby bonding is delayed.
The good news…perinatal mood disorders are treatable and DO NOT mean you are a failure as a mom. I repeat sweet momma: this is not your fault and you can get better. If you or someone you know is suffering I encourage you to talk to your doctor. You can also check out the resources page at www.postpartumprogress.org
Happy Mother’s Day!
Mrs. Texas International 2016