Many OB-GYNs and Pediatricians don’t screen new mothers during pregnancy, at their first postpartum checkup, or during baby wellness visits for postpartum depression and anxiety. As a result, many women do not seek the mental health treatment that could help them feel better during their baby’s first year of life. I’ve spoken with many mothers who tell me, “Nobody asked how I was feeling.” With so many myths out there, it can be hard to know what is the “baby blues” (which should last no more than 10-14 days after giving birth) and what is out of the ordinary. Here are a few signs that might indicate the need for extra support.
- When people say to you about motherhood, “Isn’t it the best!” you have a strong internal reaction that might include thoughts of yelling at them.
- You are watching the clock when breastfeeding and wondering if it will ever end.
- You fantasize about running away from home even though you would never actually do it.
- You never put your baby down. Ever.
- You use the cry it out method on yourself as baby soundly sleeps.
- You constantly question whether you made the right choice in becoming a mother.
- You have rigid rules about what you and your baby can and can’t do.
- You listen to your friends who say, “It’s just the hormones, you’ll feel better after…” and you say to yourself that you just need to push through it instead of seeking help.
- You go on to Mom social media support sites to validate your feelings of inadequacy and don’t post anything to get support.
- You feel like you can never sit down and relax. If the baby is asleep, it’s time to clean or do baby laundry or make baby food…
- You feel exhausted from trying to show everyone you’re okay when in reality you feel really disconnected, sad, and overwhelmed.
- You feel like the irritability, sadness, anger, worry, fear, shame, exhaustion, and heartache will never end.
If you related to feeling any of these things, you are NOT alone! We live in a society that does not nurture the mother. One in seven women will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder during or after pregnancy. Unfortunately, this number increases to 1 in 5 by the child’s first birthday as many women continue to go without treatment.
If you or someone you know think they may have a perinatal mood disorder such as postpartum depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, or post traumatic stress disorder or are feeling overly stressed or overwhelmed, there is hope to feel better! Click here to find out more.