May is National Maternal Depression month, a month used in increasing awareness. Often, most mothers put their family’s needs before their own; this can lead to deterioration in their own mental health. Bringing awareness to this topic is important not only for the mothers who might not be feeling like themselves but to also educate the public. Whether it is your mom, sister, wife, coworker, or yourself, we need to come together and help moms put their mental health first.
Although there are different types of depression, I will be focusing on the signs, symptoms, and risk factors for post-partum depression (PPD). Motherhood can be overwhelming and those who have PPD may not realize or even dismiss the signs due stigma surrounding mental health and the pressure society places on them.
History of depression or previously diagnosed with PPD
Family history of PPD or mood disorders
Problems in your relationship
Little to no support system
Unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
Current use of alcohol or illicit drugs
Sign and Symptoms:
Depressed mood and/or sever mood swings
Difficulty bonding with the baby
Fear you’re being a good mother
Feelings of guilt, shame, and/or worthlessness
Unable to concentrate
Withdrawing from friends and/ or family
Loss of appetite or eating much more
Increase or decrease in sleep
Overwhelming loss of energy
Obsessive thoughts about your baby
Confusion and disorientation *
Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby *
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide *
Hallucination or delusions *
PPD is not to be confused with the “baby blues” which typically only last a few weeks after birth. If your symptoms last longer, are increasing as the days go by, or you notice new symptoms, please reach out for support and remember you are not alone in this journey and this is NOT your fault. If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact a professional.
Moms remember, in order to take the best care of your loved ones, you need to take care of yourself first!
*Please reach out to your support system and a professional immediately. These symptoms can lead to life threatening thoughts and behaviors that require immediate treatment.