We often think of new motherhood as an amazing happy experience, with deep love and excitement. While those things are true, there can also be a sense of anxiety, depression, and a feeling of something being “wrong”. Baby blues and hormonal changes are natural and to be expected, but sometimes, it seems to continue, become more severe, and develop into needing more mental health support.
Did you know that:
Maternal mental health conditions affect 1 in 5 women (800,000 women in the US).
75% of women experiencing mental health challenges do not get care to help facilitate recovery.
The rate of maternal depression diagnosis is increasing.
Talk about it!
“I’m putting on a happy face for others because I’m supposed to be happy.” “I am not going to be a good mother.” “I don’t enjoy _____ anymore” “I can’t sleep, even when the baby is asleep.” “Am I hurting my baby?”
Have you had those thoughts? Heard other friends say it out loud? Anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder can be signs of needing more maternal mental health support. Researchers believe that depression is one of the most common issues women experience before, during, and after pregnancy. They are real medical conditions and affect many women.
Thoughts of suicide, or hurting yourself or your baby, are advanced signs of postpartum depression and even postpartum psychoses, a rare and serious mental illness that happens with postpartum depression. If you’re having any kind of suicidal thoughts, you’re in crisis and need to call your doctor or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 immediately to get help.
Partners and Support
Dads and partners are also susceptible to mental health issues during this time. They can feel “disconnected” from the baby, anxious about providing support, overwhelmed with learning new coping techniques, and being sleep deprived. It’s important to support all people involved in a major life change.
You are not alone! The good news is that there’s a lot of resources available.
Recently, the US Health and Human Services department announced the launch of the Maternal Mental Health Hotline, it is a confidential, toll-free hotline for expecting and new moms experiencing mental health challenges. The hotline is accessible by phone or text at 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746) in English and Spanish.
https://www.postpartum.net is a great resource for finding a community.
Healthy Williamson County: The Maternal and Infant working group focuses on a healthy environment for the physical, mental, and emotional health of women and their families.
By removing the stigma surrounding mental health, we can fully support our families at our school and in our community. Remember, you are not alone!