Mental health is always at the top of my list of important topics, both inside and outside of pregnancy. It's often swept under a rug or shoved into a dark corner away from prying eyes and judgement. It's so important that we, as a society, continue to strive and push forward to bring light and normalcy to these topics. Here's one way I hope to help shine that light a little brighter onto postpartum mental health.
It's not always postpartum depression, it could be forms of OCD, anxiety, or psychosis that take root in that tender time. PPMD (postpartum mood disorders) include the emotional conditions that can develop during pregnancy and in the first year after giving birth. Yes, you read right, the first YEAR. This means that just because you were fine the first 6 weeks or even 6 months that you need to remain vigilant in watching for warning signs. For example, if you experienced a traumatic birth and you go to visit a friend in the hospital 9 months later, this can trigger anxiety, feelings of isolation, or depression. None of that means you are weak or lacking in any way! It simply means that seeking help to process your emotions or possibly medication is going to improve your life drastically.
Now, I can hear your thoughts already..."But if I take medication, I can't breastfeed!". This thought often sends already suffering women down a spiral of hopelessness and fear. Rest assured, you can speak to your medical provider or therapist about medications that are compatible with breastfeeding.
I can't count the number of women I've talked with over the years who tell me that in hindsight they can see they were suffering from some form of postpartum mental illness. Most of those same women say that they knew something wasn't right but they didn't know what, let alone who and how to discuss what they were experiencing. Exhaustion, shame, overwhelming sadness, guilt, fear...these are all reasons that it is so difficult to see beyond the fog in these instances. So I created a simple tool, a checklist, that any woman can utilize and hopefully help facilitate a conversation with their health care provider or even their partner, parent, or dear friend.
Click here to get your copy for free!