Being a mom is hard. Being a mom to a new baby is exceptionally hard. Add to that any additional challenges and life can feel insurmountable. Becoming a parent is something that society has told us is supposed to be a blessed and beautiful experience. This is not always the case. For many new parents, this role comes with a roller coaster of emotions and new endeavors that can be overwhelming. Often, new moms will experience mild mood swings and weepiness during the first 2-3 weeks after giving birth. Sometimes called “the baby blues,” this is a normal adjustment period and resolves without medical intervention. However, 15-20% of women experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety and this could be a sign that you have a form of perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. This is something that is treatable, and there is no reason to continue to suffer.
Symptoms of perinatal mental health disorders can appear at any time during pregnancy and for the first 12 months after childbirth. These symptoms present for moms in a variety of ways. If you are more than two weeks postpartum, and you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder and would benefit from additional mental health interventions.
- Are you feeling sad, depressed, hopeless, or overwhelmed?
- Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
- Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
- Do you feel anxious or panicky?
- Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
- Are you experiencing upsetting thoughts or mental images that you can’t get out of your mind?
- Do you feel like you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
- Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
- Do you feel guilty or think you are a “bad mom”?
- Are you worried you might hurt your baby or yourself?
Symptoms left untreated can cause a mother to suffer for many months or years after the birth of her child. Because of this, it is important you become your own advocate and seek help. There are effective and well-researched treatment options to help you recover. Although the term “postpartum depression” is the most common term used, there are several different forms of perinatal mental illness that women may be experiencing. These include Pregnancy or Postpartum Depression, Pregnancy or Postpartum Anxiety,
Article written by Kirsten Christenson. Kirsten specializes in working with moms and perinatal mental health concerns.
Pregnancy or Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Postpartum Psychosis; if you feel that you may be experiencing any of the above mentioned symptoms, please contact CenterLife Counseling at 651-288-0332.
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