Not Just Depression.
Not Just Postpartum. (Can happen during the pregnancy also)
Not Just Birth Mom. (1-10 partners)
This post is not intended to be exhaustive. For more information, please visit www.postpartum.net.
I believe that it is important for every expectant mother to educate herself (as well as her support team) about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
So often in our society, we keep these topics at arms length because of the way that mental illness has been stigmatized over the decades. However, the facts show that Anxiety and Depression are super prevalent (1 in 5-7 moms), and ALL OF THE DISORDERS LISTED BELOW are treatable. OUR BIGGEST ENEMIES ARE NOT THE DISORDERS THEMSELVES, BUT THE BARRIERS TO CARE!
Common barriers to care are…
- Cultural Stigma
- Provider Accessibility
- Provider training
- Social myths about parenting bliss (shame if not living the hallmark commercial)
- Guilt or embarrassment surrounding anxiety or depression
- Misunderstanding of the symptoms of anxiety or depression
Here is a List of the Types of PMADS and some possible symptoms for each.
1. Prenatal Depression or Anxiety (occurring during pregnancy)
2. Postpartum Depression (2 weeks in length)
- POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS
- Sadness, Crying
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability, agitation, anger
- Sleep Disturbance
- Appetit Changes
- Mood Swings
3. Postpartum Anxiety or Panic Disorder
- POSSIBLE SYMPTOMS
- Panic Attacks
- Low Appetite
- Fears: Losing Control, illness, danger, fainting
- Physical Symptoms: Shaky, dizzy, or short of breath
4. Post-Traumatic Stress
- Symptoms Like Generalized Anxiety, but focuses on the Trauma
5. Perinatal OCD (read about my experience)
- Intrusive, repetitive thoughts – usually of harm coming to baby
- Tremendous guilt and shame
- Horrified by thoughts
- Moms engage in behaviors to avoid triggers
6. Bipolar Disorders
- Highs- increased physical and mental energy, exaggerated self confidence, decreased need for sleep, racing speech, flight of ideas, impulsivity
- Lows – unexplained crying spells, worthlessness, guilt, pessimism, indifference, loss of energy
7. Postpartum Psychosis (1-2 out of 1000)
- Early onset – usually first two weeks.
Sometimes it can be scary to read this list. However, the thing that we know for sure is that EVERY ONE OF THESE DISORDERS is treatable.
With the proper care, every mom can be well. The key is to knock back all of the barriers to care that we can. Everyone can help with this. You are helping right now, as you read and become aware. Another BIG BIG way to help is to ALWAYS ask a pregnant and new mom how she is doing EMOTIONALLY. Ask her twice if you need to. I can tell you from experience that moms who are battling are waiting for someone to care enough to ask them how they are really doing.
IF YOU THINK YOU MAY BE BATTLING A PMAD, YOU CAN VISIT THIS WEBSITE AND FIND A PROVIDER IN YOUR STATE WHO IS PROPERLY TRAINED TO HELP YOU (WITH TELEHEALTH, WE HAVE GREAT ACCESS TO GOOD CARE) IF YOU ARE IN SOUTH CAROLINA, CLINK THE EMAIL US BUTTON AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.