Perinatal and Postpartum Mood Issues
Having a baby changes everything. Adjusting to life with a new baby is physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. While the process of having a baby can bring immense joy and excitement, it can also trigger symptoms of depression or anxiety. It is not unusual for women to experience some sadness or tearfulness after the birth, however if these feelings persist beyond the first few weeks, it may be a sign of something more serious. The hormonal shifts in the pregnant and postpartum body are powerful and when compounded with the sleep deprivation, physical recovery, and demands of caring for a newborn, it can be a perfect storm. Many women are hesitant to talk about any struggles, as “it is supposed to be the happiest time in my life.” The statistics show that about 15-20% of childbearing women experience Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, which can develop during pregnancy or up to one year postpartum.
When Perinatal Mood and Anxiety issues arise, early intervention is crucial. Postpartum Depression and Anxiety are treatable…there is hope.
If you find you “just aren’t feeling like yourself” and it has persisted for several weeks, it may be worthwhile to consider seeking help.
Symptoms can include:
Feeling intensely overwhelmed (like I can’t do this and I never will be able to), Guilt about how you are handling motherhood, Lack of connection to your baby, Confusion, Fear, Intense anger and resentment towards your baby or others around you, Numbness or sense of emptiness, Frequently feeling tearful and sad, Sense of hopelessness, Poor eating and sleeping patterns, Feeling of disconnection to the world around you, Racing thoughts, Hypervigilance, Intrusive disturbing thoughts, Panic attacks or physical symptoms of anxiety, Need to constantly be checking things (baby’s breathing, the stove, door lock), Overwhelming sense of dread, Excessive worrying, Fear of being alone with your baby, Hyperactivity, Thoughts of hurting yourself or escaping your new life.
Not everyone experiences all these symptoms, however if you find you are experiencing some of these feelings, it may be a sign that something is not right. You are not alone…we can help.
Westport Family Counseling’s Maternal Health Program Director Carolyn Yates, LMFT can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (203) 227-4555 extension 3.