May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
The first week in particular focused on bringing awareness to perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and mental health from conception and beyond.
As Perinatal Mental Health Therapists, It’s kind of like our Olympics, awareness-week wise. 😍
This is a great opportunity to share your own stories, uplift each other, and show the real face of motherhood. The #letstalkaboutit campaign on social media this year is about having real conversations about parents mental health.
All birthing parents and partners can experience changes to their mental health during infertility and fertility processes, pregnancy, and postpartum recovery (And this means way beyond the first month after having a baby!) Maternal mental health is...
- More than postpartum depression.
- More than the baby blues.
- Not your fault.
- Very common to experience mood changes.
- Not an indicator of how much you love your baby.
- Not indicative of how wanted your baby is, or how hard you worked for this pregnancy.
- Mood changes during and after your pregnancy, from conception and beyond, are really natural. You are not alone. Whether you’re dealing with some mild changes or something indicative of a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD), this can be hard and you deserve support.
How might you know if you are dealing with a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder?
How do you know if you’re experiencing “transitional emotions” during early postpartum recovery, or something more?
This is a common question by clients and has become a vital part of trainings and talks I do about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs). First, I want to gently say, if you’re feeling off, that says something. Trust your intuition. “The Baby Blues” does not last beyond the first few weeks after having a baby.
I find the concept of duration, intensity, and frequency of symptoms helpful for people to learn the difference between something like postpartum adjustment (aka Baby Blues ) from something longer lasting like a PMAD.
▫️DURATION: How long have you been experiencing your mood symptoms? For example, every new mama cries, but do you feel like you’ve been crying now for more days than not over the last several weeks? Are most of your days now “bad days” of feeling irritable, anxious, or off? Has it been months of feeling this way?
▫️INTENSITY: How bad does this feel? Every mom has worrisome thoughts, like “what if I drop my baby?” or “what if I can’t handle a blow out diaper in public?”, but are these anxious thoughts so hard you’re now avoiding certain activities, feeling paralyzed and panicked, or seeing horrible images roll on a loop? Is any of your basic functioning impacted?
▫️FREQUENCY: : How often are you feeling this way? It’s really common with motherhood to doubt yourself, have anxious times, and days that you wish you do over. But are you feeling this way more often than not now? Are your anxious thoughts constantly throughout the day, is the rage or irritability on the daily, or is the new normal feeling constantly sad?
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders hit 1 out of 5 to 7 women (and 1 out of 10 partners). You are not alone, you did not cause this, and what you’re feeling is treatable and temporary with support. If this blog post is resonating with you, let’s get you help.
If you are a pregnant or new parent, or trying to conceive and having a difficult time, you deserve help and support.
This is a gentle reminder that mental health treatment is self care.
Whatever mood changes you’re experiencing during your reproductive journey, you are not alone. If you’re experiencing perinatal mood symptoms, getting professional mental health treatment is one more way you can build your village.
Seeing a therapist is a way of taking care of yourself, as is attending a support group, or taking medication.
Getting support is a great way of caring for yourself, and by extension, your baby.
I always like to remind my clients who are experiencing mood changes during their reproductive journey of the 2 big T’s: This is temporary and treatable. You can get better with care💜