MATERNAL MENTAL HEALTH

DID YOU KNOW …

– An estimated 1/5 women worldwide will experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD)

– Sign and symptoms can be present during pregnancy and for up to 1 year post baby (if not longer)

– An estimated 7-10 women will hide their symptoms in fear of of being labelled having a disorder

 

Becoming a new parent is mentally and physically exhausting for both parents.  Sleep deprivation, hormone imbalances and the pressure of being a parent is overwhelming and causes parents to have mood swings.  One moment you might be so happy, the next sadness and than possibly anger and resentment.  These feelings are sometimes called “baby blues” and might last for a couple weeks up to 1 year after baby is born.  It’s important to pay attention to your feelings and acknowledge that you might need some help and that’s ok!

ANXIETY DISORDER

“Anxiety is a natural, adaptive response we experience when we feel unsafe or threatened.”  www.anxietybc.com

 

POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

“Depression that may start during pregnancy or at any time up to a year after the birth of a child.  Depression is a mental illness that affects a person’s mood—the way a person feels. Mood impacts the way people think about themselves, relate to others, and interact with the world around them. This is more than a ‘bad day’ or ‘feeling blue.’ Without supports and treatment, depression can last for a long time.” www.cmha.ca

 

ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS:

– Feeling sad

– Feeling like you aren’t good enough

– Crying for no reason

– Mood swings

– Difficulty sleeping

– Not wanting to go out in public

– Changes in appetite

– Poor concentration

– Withdrawing from social interaction with friends and family

– Not looking after your personal hygiene

– Feeling irritable

– Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

– Obsessing harm will come to themselves or their baby

– Thoughts of regret

– Panic attacks

– Lack of sexual desire

 

WHAT  CAN YOU DO?

 

– Talk about your emotions and feelings to friends and family

– Talk to your health care professional.  They might go through the 10-question Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen (EPDS) with you to see how you are feeling and to make a plan on how you can get help.  http://www.perinatalservicesbc.ca/health-professionals/professional-resources/health-promo/edinburgh-postnatal-depression-scale-(epds)

– Medication

– See a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist

– Surround yourself with loved ones

– Take care of yourself by finding ways that help you relax – bath, yoga, going for a walk outside, reading a book, meditation

– Exercise

– Eat healthy foods

– Go outside and get some fresh air

– Meet other moms in the community

– Try to get some sleep! Ask for family members of friends to come over and help during the day or at night

– Ask for help with child care, feeding the baby, cleaning your house

– Call 911 or Crisis Help Line in your area if you are going to harm yourself or your baby

 

You need to know that you ARE NOT ALONE.  It might feel like the world around you is falling apart and you can’t do anything. BUT YOU CAN.  Ask for help. There is always someone around you that is willing to help. You just need to ask.

Health care professionals and government officials also need to do their job.  They need to provide programs and services for moms so they have an outlet to talk about how they are feeling.  They need to provide a class where moms feel safe to talk about issues relating to motherhood that are real and raw.

We need to create a community of moms where it’s OK to ask for help and share your stories and experiences.  We need to create a society where we should not feel ashamed about our emotions and the stigma that comes with having Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). We shouldn’t fear that we will be judged for having postpartum depression.  Instead women should feel empowered.  They should be able to recognize their symptoms, understand the cause and know that there are services and people in the community that are here to help.

I try to achieve this in my classes I offer through my company.  My goal is to provide a safe place for pregnant women, moms and ladies to come and exercise and share stories about their life. I try to educate my clients on all different aspects of health and wellness and let them know that I am here for them if they need to talk.  I let them know that they are not alone in their wellness journey and that there are options to get help if they are depressed or have other mood disorders.

 

Here is something I do when I feel stressed, anxious or depressed.

 

Relaxation Technique to Calm Yourself When You Feel Depressed or Anxious

Lay down and close your eyes.

Take a few deep breaths and focus on your heart beating.

Feel your heart rate slowing down and your body relaxing.

Start with your feet; contract the muscles in your feet and then relax them.  Acknowledge the feeling of your muscles tightening and then relaxing and allowing the tension to be released.

Work your way up your body and do the same for each muscle group: calves, thigh, abdomen, arms and hands.

Each time,  focus on contracting your muscles and then relaxing them, letting go of the tension in that area.

Pay attention to your breathing.

Pay attention to how your body feels after you are done.

Do you feel more calm?

 

Remember you are doing the best that you can as a parent and it’s not your fault if you are experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. You need to acknowledge what emotions you are experiencing and ask for help if they are spiraling out of control.

 

 

xo Rachelle

 

Momentum Health & Wellness

 

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