As Christy explained yesterday, May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. We want to focus on Postpartum Depression to help spread awareness of this very real but rarely discussed mental health issue.
We are using the acronym A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S. to discuss proper ways to battle PPD symptoms this week. Today we're discussing the A.W. in the acronym.
A- Assess & Address
How do we know if what we're experiencing is PPD? Natural responses after having a baby can be anxiety, sadness and fear. But for women experiencing PPD, some responses can become even more severe. It's best to speak with a doctor who can use a screening tool that will help them know how to best help you.
There are women who are going to be at higher risk for PPD. Women who:
- Have a personal history of depression, anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, OCD
- Complicated or difficult pregnancy
- History of severe Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) or Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- History of Infertility
- History of Thyroid disease
- Chronic sleep deprivation
- History of abortions, miscarriages, or pregnancy losses
- Unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
- Traumatic or disappointing delivery/birthing experience
- Abrupt weaning from breastfeeding
- Major life-stressors such as recent move, job change/loss, relationship problems, divorce, death
- Lack of support from family or spouse
- History of physical, sexual or verbal abuse
W- Worry & Weariness
For new mothers experiencing PPD, normal anxiety and worry turns into excessive worry, which turns into fatigue. While trying to adjust to motherhood, this can cause serious consequences such as panic attacks and extreme anxiety. If a mother is experiencing panic and extreme anxiety, this will affect their ability to care not only for themselves but for their child as well. Medication, talk therapy, group therapy and therapeutic education can be of great help during this time.
Please remember that asking for help does not mean failure as a mother. PPD is serious and can affect anyone! Thank you for reading and please check back in as we continue to go through the acronym A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S.
Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.