May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
You've just experienced one of the most amazing events of your life: having a baby. And yet you may find yourself crying over little things, snapping at your partner or wishing you could just run away from home for an hour or two.
These are all normal reactions after giving birth as your hormone levels have drastically changed. However, if you find yourself feeling sad, anxious and stressed most of the time, you may be coping with postpartum depression (PPD).
According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 70% to 80% of women will experience the baby blues—"negative feelings or mood swings after the birth of their child". Many of these women will experience the more severe condition of postpartum depression or a related condition. Arizona Behavioral Health Associates reported the rate of clinical postpartum depression among new mothers is between 10% to 20%.
"Many new mothers experiences some type of postpartum depression due to fluctuations in hormone levels after giving birth," explained Tiffani Williams, BA, BSN, RN CBC, Program Director, Nurse-Family Partnership, Acenda. "These disorders frequently go undetected and untreated, often with long-term consequences to both mother and child. Today, with COVID-19 keeping us isolated from normal activities and social interactions, PPD can be even worse."
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
- Crying over minor triggers
- Mood swings or irritability
- Feeling unattached to your baby
- Insomnia, even though you’re exhausted
- Brain fog
How can you differentiate typical "baby blues" from postpartum depression?
"If you’re still feeling sad or overwhelmed after two weeks postpartum, and if your quality of life is being affected, you may have postpartum depression," added Williams.
There are ways to overcome your postpartum depression and, depending on the severity, seeking help from a mental health professional may be a good option.
5 simple ways to help treat your postpartum depression:
- Get rest. Sleep deprivation can make you feel drained. Exhaustion just makes matters worse.
- Make time for yourself. Take a walk around the block, a short car ride, or watch your favorite television show. Making sure you have time for yourself each day is important to your overall well-being.
- Eat well. Feed your body with nutritious foods that will help sustain you throughout the day.
- Talk to someone. Whether it's your mom, sister, friend or doctor, sharing your experience with someone you trust will help prevent you from feeling alone and feel more supported during this difficult period. You can even find a local or virtual support group to talk with other moms with similar experiences.
- Bond with your spouse or partner. It is easy to become distant while you are busy or distressed, but including them in chores and opening up about your feelings can be helpful and strengthen your support system.
If you’re coping with postpartum depression, or you notice your symptoms getting worse, contact a healthcare provider right away. Clinicians in our Counseling & Wellness Centers are here to help you and your growing family.
Call our main number at 844-4-ACENDA (844-422-3632 x9500) for more information.