Having babies is tough business. Caring and raising newborn babies comes with it’s own set of challenges. May is Mental Health Awareness month, but also Maternal Mental Health is celebrated world wide on May 5th. It is commonly understood that bringing home a new baby is a daunting task, whether it’s a first child or beyond.
When mothers gave birth to children, there are hormones swinging and usually some form of “baby blues” for the first few weeks as everyone adapts to their new routines. However, 1 in 5 women struggle with symptoms that are on going. Post-partum depression and lesser known, but equally impactful post-partum anxiety are serious mental health concerns that can be helped with the proper care.
How do you know if you have post-partum depression? Symptoms of post-partum depression include:
Changes in Mood: anger, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in things previously enjoyed, mood swings, feelings of panic
Changes in Behavior: increased crying, irritability/restlessness
Physical Problems: feelings of fatigue or loss of appetite, weight gain or loss, insomnia
Cognitive/Thinking Problems: unwanted thoughts, inability to concentrate, obsessive thoughts
Changes last longer than 2 weeks.
What to do if you think you've got more than just the "baby blues" and are struggling with post partum mental health concerns?
Call your OB/GYN's office. You likely have a follow up appointment scheduled at 6 weeks, but if you're feeling bad, especially if you are starting to have thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby, you need to let them know.
Seek support from family and friends. You aren't alone in this journey.
Check out the Postpartum Support International page for great resources.
Consider talking to a professional. Kind and caring therapists can help you figure out a plan to help.
Focus on the physical. We know it isn't easy, but trying your best to make sure you're taking care of yourself in areas like sleep, hygiene, water and food intake and exercise so that you can keep going and work on the mental/cognitive portion of the PPD/PPA.
If you are having thoughts about wanting to hurt yourself or your baby:
Call your OBGYN and let the staff know you so they can get you an appointment or
Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255
If you are in active crisis and are afraid you will hurt yourself or your baby:
Call 911 or
Go to the nearest emergency room.
We also want to offer ourselves at Tranquility as a support resource. Our providers are here to listen and provide care and support. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, please outreach us at 234-466-6274 or via a written message on our contact page.