It is human nature to think that bad things won’t happen to us. So when they do, we are shocked. We think we won’t be the one to get in a car accident while texting, that cancer could never happen to us, and that we could never experience postpartum depression. This is normal thinking, and in some ways a protective factor, because let’s face it; there are only so many things our brains can worry about. That being said, when it comes to perinatal (pre and postpartum) mental health, taking some precautionary steps can be helpful. One in seven mothers experience depression or anxiety pre or postpartum. Perinatal mood disorders can happen to anyone. Knowledge is power, by arming yourself with information about the risk factors as well as resources, you can speed up the process of getting the help if you need it. If you do not end up experiencing a perinatal mood disorder, you will be all the wiser because chances are your sister, friend, or coworker may need your guidance in the future in this area.
Check out this helpful pdf of risk factors by Baby Blues Connection. One risk factor that is often overlooked is the stress of a move. It is very common for people to move into a new place after they find out they are expecting. While this can be exciting, it can also be very stressful on a mother.
The majority of the risk factors of perinatal mood disorders are out of our control. One thing you can do is take time to figure out some postpartum resources in your area. If possible, do this research while you are pregnant. It is much easier to do when you are feeling mentally healthy. Just save the contact information for a few places and have it handy, just in case. It pays to be preventative, and it will not jinx you into needing the help. Sometimes when mothers come to the realization that they need help, it is way overdue. It is really tough to be experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression while trying to figure out how to get help. You might be feeling embarrassed or like you are making a big deal out of nothing and you should be able to handle this. You may feel like you have no right to complain, because you have a healthy baby. It is not your fault and it does not make you a bad mother if you are experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, or another mental health issue. By having the contact information of a therapist who specializes in postpartum mental health readily available, you can get the help if you need it without delay. Women do experience relief with help, so do not put it off.
If you are currently pregnant and in the Twin Cities area and are looking to be preventative in your perinatal mental health, mention this blog post for a free 20-minute phone consultation with Analisa.