“Baby Blues” or something else?

Did you know that as many as one in FIVE women (and at least one in seven!) experience symptoms of a mood disorder (like depression) or feelings of anxiety during their pregnancy or the postpartum period?!

This means that on an average day of working, running errands, or just taking a neighborhood walk – you have probably encountered at least one other woman who has experienced this, or who is still struggling now. Maybe it means that this woman is you!

As the research builds, we are learning more and more about the prevalence of perinatal mental health symptoms for new moms. We’re also building a movement to normalize the experiences of pregnant and postpartum mothers so you know how to recognize the signs, understand where to find help, and feel assured that you’re not alone.

For a lot of women, you might think “It’s just the baby blues.. it’s normal, right?” Or maybe you numb yourselves out and focus on the work of managing your day, compacting the feelings and darting from one task to the next… until all the sudden a burst of anger erupts, overcoming you as you tearfully ask “What is happening to me? Who am I?! Is this what it’s supposed to feel like?!?!”

I know these moments and these questions all too well, because I too have been one of those five women at one point myself. When I found myself one night forcefully shaking the crib trying to will my wailing child back to sleep and wanting to punch the wall with a raging fury I had never before felt..  I knew then it was time to get help. I heard the questions, followed by the answers: “No this is not normal,” “This is not who I am,” and “This is not what it has to feel like.”

For some moms this moment doesn’t always happen right away, or with the clarity that I realized it. So how do you know if what you’re experiencing might be related to a perinatal mental health disorder? Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to get a better sense of what may be happening, according to Postpartum Support International (one of the leading advocates of maternal mental health today):

-Do I feel sad or depressed?
-Do I feel irritable or angry with people around me?
-Has it been hard to bond with my baby?
-Do I feel anxious or panicky?
-Am I having trouble eating or sleeping (when I get the chance)?
-Am I having upsetting thoughts that I can’t stop?
-Do I feel like I’m “losing control” or “going crazy”?
-Do I feel like I should have never become a mother?
-Am I worried I could hurt my baby or myself?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, getting more support could help you feel better and find more balance. Getting this support may even just be critical to the health of your family too.

Places to start could be as simple as talking with a friend or family member, finding a local support group (there are even groups online!), or discussing your concerns with your healthcare provider. If you think you might also need the professional experience of another mama who has been there and asked these questions of herself too – I would love to be that support for you!

The bottom line is that we have to take care of ourselves, and ask for the support we need when we need it. You are not alone, mama – we’re all in this together, and I would be honored to walk through it with you!

Speak Your Mind

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44 Merrimon Ave.
Asheville, NC 28801

motherbloomwellness@gmail.com
(828) 407-0324

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