This week our Healing and Wholeness Committee is covering the topic of Maternal Mental Health.
Depression and anxiety during pregnancy and after the birth of a baby is more common than most people know. An estimated 20% of birthing women report experiencing postpartum mood and anxiety disorders but experts believe this number to be much higher. Many women suffer in silence often because of societal pressures to manage their own health and the health of their infant on their own.
Some symptoms of depression during pregnancy and postpartum period include sadness, irritability, exhaustion, fears and worries that won’t go away, difficulty with sleeping and eating, and a feeling of overwhelm. Although most mothers experience sleep deprivation and hormonal fluctuations that impact mood, when symptoms persist and make it hard for the individual to function in their every day life and persist beyond the first two weeks postpartum, it is imperative to seek professional help sooner rather than later.
What to do if you are struggling with perinatal (pregnancy or postpartum) mood or anxiety symptoms:
-Reach out to your healthcare provider and consult about medication options, check thyroid and iron levels that could be contributing to mood changes, or ask for a referral to a therapist with expertise in PMADs (perinatal mood and anxiety disorders).
- If you are looking for confidential support where you can remain anonymous, contact Postpartum Support International. They have a warmline (soon to be hotline with 24/7 support) you can call to receive confidential support and help navigating what to do next.
-Reach out to your friends and family for support. If you are feeling isolated and in need of prayer support or delicious meals from your LOC family, call the church office to be connected with one of our support ministries!
-Get fresh air and movement! Nourish your body whenever possible.
Get help before your symptoms become a mental health crisis.
Postpartum Support International: 800.944.4PPD
MJ Pearson, MSW, LICSW, RPT