I’ve started a postpartum recovery series. And I had plans to write several posts about bodies before getting into what MOST people think of when they hear the word “postpartum”- postpartum depression.

But thank goodness for Chrissy Teigen, leading us all to the authenticity waters, and encouraging us to drink.

So let’s continue the real talk (we’ve already talked poop right?), shall we?

Honest moment: If you know me as a person, you know that every day, I am preventing or coping with depression and anxiety.

Perinatal mood & anxiety disorders (PMADs) are something I empathize with in new parents. (PMADs include postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, and postpartum OCD.)

Chrissy’s feelings of isolation, lack of motivation, nausea, and aches, and her confusion about why she wasn’t completely in love with such an awesome life, totally resonate with me.

And because postpartum depression or other PMADs affect between 1 in 6 or 7 women after birth, I know that they resonate with many others.

Yet, despite how common it is, half of all PMADs go unrecognized and untreated.

I don’t share those statistics to scare you. I share them to let you know that you’re not alone.

At one time or another, many of us- regardless of gender, race, class, religion or anything else, need some support for our mood.

If you’re one of us, that’s okay. There’s help!

We can lead great lives, and we can do awesome things!

And all of that is easier with support.

Thanks to Mary’s Center in DC, I’ve been trained as a lay person to screen for feelings and behaviors that seem like more than just the usual adjustment period and possible mood shifts due to hormones.

I watch out for my clients, so I want to give you a few things to watch out for in yourself and your loved ones:

  • If you have trouble sleeping or staying asleep when you’re tired, and the baby is sleeping

  • If you have trouble focusing, or enjoying good things in your life

  • If you feel guilty about things that you have no control over

  • If you find yourself having nightmares or flashbacks to a troubling event

  • If you have scary, intrusive thoughts about accidents that could happen to you or your baby

  • If your appetite has completely changed

The above list is NOT a screening tool, but some examples of things to discuss with your provider.

If you ever feel that you or someone you love has lost touch with reality, is hallucinating or becomes a threat to themselves or others, take this seriously and reach out for help. Call 911. 

None of the above mean that you are a bad parent or a bad person. They may just mean that you need a little bit of help.

Help can start with getting more sleep, some time alone and some exercise. So you might start with just letting your family or partner know that something is up. Help can also mean more help at home, whether from a loved one, home visitor or doula. And help can certainly mean talking to your provider for professional health or medication.

 

If you’re looking for resources, I’ve linked to a few throughout the article. But here’s a list:

  • DC Collaborative for Mental Health in Pediatric Primary Care developed a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Resource Guide (focus on programs for publicly insured/uninsured):

http://dchealthcheck.net/documents/Mental-Health-Resource-Guide.pdf

  • DMV-Perinatal Mental Health Resource Guide (primarily psychiatrists and therapists who take private insurances or private pay):

http://www.dmvpmhresourceguide.com/

  • DC-MAP provides a mental health consult service via telephone with psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, and a care coordinator (For pediatric patients and their caregivers)

http://www.dcmap.org/1-844-30 DC MAP, 1-844-303-2627
Hours: M-F, 9-5pm

  • Postpartum Support International provides resources both online and in person.

www.postpartum.net
Warmline (English & Spanish): 800-944-4773
Postpartum Support Maryland: 240-432-4497, www.postpartummd.org    
Postpartum Support DC: 202-643-7290, www.postpartumdc.org   
Postpartum Support Virginia: 703-829-7152, www.postpartumva.org

 

If there’s a way that you think I can help, don’t hesitate to let me know.

Take care of yourselves y’all.

1 Comment

  1. The site includes content on conditions that can occur during the postpartum period such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, and psychosis, and also offers help for women facing depression after miscarriage or perinatal loss.

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