Postpartum depression is one of the most severe complications of childbirth, yet so many new moms, partners, family, friends, and even healthcare providers do not recognize the symptoms that are associated with the adjustment to becoming a new mother. Both Christy and Tammy have done a great job in briefly discussing some of the common symptoms that women experience with PPD. Today, I will continue our discussion to raise A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S. about PPD, focusing today's topic on a mother's ATTITUDE toward her new baby and the importance of RECREATION in helping women better cope with PPD.
A = Attitude
One of the most recognizable symptoms of postpartum depression is noticing the mother's attitude toward her baby and how she responds to the infant's needs. The inability for a new mother to respond appropriately in meeting her baby's basic needs indicates the need for concern regarding the infant-mother attachment and bonding. Those who are closest to the new mother, such as the partner, grandparents, friends, and other social support, need to be aware of and recognize when the mother is not engaging with her baby, as one would expect. This awareness can be very helpful in providing the extra support she needs during such a big life transition.
R = Recreation
When a woman becomes a mother, the needs of her child becomes predominantly her focus, sometimes at the sacrifice of her own needs, interests and activities. For many women who suffer from perinatal mood disorder, it is critical that they are encouraged to take time for themselves, to engage in things that are of personal interest to them, and to participate in enjoyable activities that are outside of "being a mom." If a woman is unwilling or unmotivated to participate in activities that were once pleasurable to her, it could be a clear indication that she may be suffering from postpartum depression. Encouraging and providing support for new mothers to have "me time" should be a top priority so that they can remember to meet their own needs, as well as be able to meet the needs of others.
Natalie will continue the A.W.A.R.E.N.E.S.S. dialogue tomorrow, so stay tuned!
Written by Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFTA
Emily Freeze, MPH, MA, LMFTA is a marriage and family therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Emily enjoys doing individual counseling, couples counseling and family counseling. Emily specializes in women's issues, specifically maternal mental health and reproductive mental health.
Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.