Maternal Mental Health – Make it Your Business!
Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
is a topic near and dear to my heart because I suffered from Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD). My experience was mostly anxiety, mood swings and OCD – and had no idea what it was that was happening to me.
I’ve been pregnant 5 times and I have 3 children. Like most newly pregnant women, when I was pregnant I read every book that I could get my hands on about pregnancy and childbirth but how was it that I still wasn’t prepared for what would happen to me? Even with my 5th pregnancy when I was struck the worst and being watchful for “depression”.
I’ve wondered about what would have made the difference in me recognizing the symptoms? I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t bother to read those parts of the pregnancy books or if I read them and took that ever so common “it’ll never happen to me” attitude? Or maybe it’s because it’s not spelled out clearly enough and often enough for an expectant mom to allow it to really sink in that it may happen to her.
Whatever the reason, I never want another woman to go through what I did. That’s why every chance I get to talk about maternal mental health, I do. We need to bring it out into the open every chance we get and I am very passionate about the notion that EVERYONE needs to be educated about it – not just women having babies. I even use the back of my my business card to educate others about Perinatal Mood Disorders.
It’s not just pregnant women who need to know about Perinatal Mood Disorders – everyone needs to know! In fact, I love the Maternal Mental Health Alliance’s (UK) tagline:
Maternal Mental Health – It’s Everybody’s Business
They support (and are bringing awareness) to the notion that everyone in contact with women during pregnancy and the postnatal year has an opportunity (and often a responsibility) to be aware of perinatal mental illness and play their role in supporting women and their families.
Personally, I can’t stress this enough – I want to shout it from the rooftops! In fact, a survey conducted on new mothers by 4Children (also in the UK) in 2011 to collect information about their awareness and experiences of postnatal depression found that 43% of the women who suffered from Postnatal Depression (aka: Postpartum Depression) thought that their partners needed more information about the symptoms of Postnatal Depression.
Remember often the mom who is suffering doesn’t recognize what’s happening and she needs someone to be willing to reach out! You could be that person!
~Postpartum Psychosis is a medical emergency – if you or someone you know is suffering call 9-1-1~
~If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)~
~If you are looking for local pregnancy or postpartum support and resources in your area, you can call or email:
Postpartum Support International
Warmline (English & Spanish)