It is no secret that becoming a parent is hard. What isn’t discussed, is how the hard parts can morph into even harder life.
How sometimes, it’s not just hard, but debilitating.
How sometimes, it’s not just hard, but unhealthy.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) are beginning to have more conversation and awareness in expecting-parent and new-parent communities.
1 in 7 expectant parents will have a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder. This could take on the form of depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, or in rare cases – psychosis.
One change our culture has undergone is the separateness new mothers live in while with their new baby. It is not always possible to have an experienced friend or family member come to one’s home to nurture and care for a family.
Not having a caregiver to help identify what is normal and what is abnormal in both baby and mom may mean there are missed opportunities to see early warning signs of PMADs.
Symptoms usually intensify gradually, and can happen anytime time in the first year, but usually in the first three months.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression?
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Feeling worthless, guilt, or shame
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Intense anger and irritability
- Severe mood swings
- Difficulty bonding with baby
- Lack of joy in life
- Withdrawal from family or friends
- Loss of interest in sex
- Thoughts of harming self or baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation, plans or attempts
How does having a planned support person practically help new families and reduce the risk associated with PMADs?
- When there is a support person in the home, a recovering woman can have regular, reliable breaks so her own needs are being met. Needs like taking time to fully empty her bladder, time to care for her recovering body – especially her perineum, eating nutritious meals, and not being expected to handle household chores.
- When there is a support person in the home, a recovering woman can have a trusted adult who offers to help manage the stress of not knowing. Help knowing what your baby’s cry means, help knowing how to put on a diaper or how to dress a baby for the weather, or help with baby travel, putting the baby to sleep, support with breastfeeding or pumping or bottle feeding, and all the other new things parents learn while on the job.
- When there is a support person in the home, if there are signs and symptoms of a PMAD, they are more likely to be noticed and addressed in a timely manner.
If you would like professional help from a professional postpartum doula, we are happy to come to your home and offer compassionate support through this incredible transition.