Maternal Mental Health
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness month. While many women experience “baby blues” following the birth of a child, some women experience a more extended period of depression and anxiety. In fact, Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are a common complication of pregnancy and childbirth. It is estimated that approximately one out of seven (14%) women experience significant postpartum depression following the birth of a child. This can be caused by factors such as changes in hormones, the change in routine, reduced sleep, or the transition to parenthood. In addition to depression, PMADs can also include anxiety, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, and posttraumatic stress.
Common experiences of PMADs include:
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Irritability or anger
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Anxious feelings
- Upsetting thoughts
- Feeling like you should never have become a mother
- Feeling “crazy”
- Difficulty or inability sleeping
Fortunately, there are several helpful and non-judgmental therapies that can help you with your struggles. Individual therapy can help you address your feelings, concerns and insecurities. It can also help you improve your self-care, sleep, and overall wellbeing. Through therapy you will receive social support, and help connecting with affiliated professionals that can help you with your struggles. If desired, therapy can also help you decide whether and when a trial of medications might be beneficial. Please don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Katie Eschenbauch, MSW, provides the primary therapy for maternal mental health.