Such a beautiful day supporting the Extraordinary Lives High 5 Event for pediatric mental health awareness with my friend and fellow mental health advocate and therapist, Karin Draper! I felt so lucky to be included in this event and to be able to talk to others not only about the importance of maternal mental health, but also how important it is to the mental health and development of children.
The term “healthy moms equals healthy kids” is not simply about physical health. When moms are mentally healthy, they are better equip to manage the day to day requirements of momhood and provide the emotional nurturing and support to their children and families; however, when a mom is struggling with the grips of depression and anxiety, navigating the day to day tasks and needs of her family becomes difficult, overwhelming, and even burdensome. She doesn’t want to feel this way, but she does, and that can directly impact her attachment to her children, how her children feel, and how they develop.
In a recent article written for Smithsonian.com,tudies have been able to show a significant link between the development and health of children and the mental health of their mothers. Worsening depression symptoms in mothers related to greater infant cortisol stress responses between 6 and 12 months of age,” and a study done on Maternal Depression and Child Development notes “the consequences on the child of maternal postpartum depression are not restricted to infancy, but can extend into toddlerhood, preschool age and even school age. Maternal depression that occurs later influences the development of the school-age child and the adolescent”. Both articles can be accessed here:
Motherhood is hard enough without the extra struggle of mental illness. NO MOTHER EVER SAID to herself “I really hope I get depressed so I don’t have to take care of myself or my family”. In fact, in the very deepest part of every mother’s heart, she wants to be a good mom and hopes every single day that she is!
That is why Mother Warrior Counseling is committed to helping moms first. We KNOW that deepest desire and we BELIEVE that every mom should be able to hold on to it and know that she CAN and WILL feel better!
If you or someone you love is struggling, please reach out TODAY! The longer a mom is suffocating under the weight of depression or anxiety, the more her children and loved ones are negatively effected.
I had the pleasure of being featured in a recent blog post by Hero Birth Service for the work I am doing with moms through Mother Warrior Counseling. The article really explores who I am, my background in mental health, what the motivation is behind my passion for helping moms, and even how I came about naming the practice Mother Warrior.
How often have you heard the phrases “she’s just postpartum” or “she definitely has postpartum depression” in a somewhat dismissive or diminishing tone? Maybe leaving a taste of judgement behind after the topic is dropped once being labeled? The term “postpartum” seems to be the go-to catch phrase when a mom-to-be or new mom appears to be struggling during the perinatal period and it often minimizes what she is experiencing and leaves the mom believing that what she is feeling is “normal” so she doesn’t seek help.
The perinatal period is defined as pregnancy through the first year postpartum, and during this timeframe a woman can experience many changes in her emotional and mental well-being brought on by hormonal fluctuations, life stressors, and challenging physical changes (to name a few), and while many woman are able to manage these changes with little to no intrusion on emotional stability, there is a relatively high percentage of women who struggle somewhere on the spectrum of conditions that are treatable.
To help you better understand what you may be experiencing and differentiate between common terms you may hear, I have listed some frequently diagnosed conditions and symptoms associated below. If you find that you are connecting with some specific symptoms, it is important that you seek guidance and help from a trained professional for help.
BABY BLUES: Considered a “non-disorder”
Affects 60-80% of new moms
Symptoms include crying, feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, and being uncertain. These symptoms are considered to be MILDLY experienced.
Symptoms are typically due to extreme hormone fluctuation at the time of the birth.
Lasts no more than 2 days to 2 weeks and then dissipates.
You will also experience acute sleep deprivation and fatigue.
POSTPARTUM “blues”: Not a mild form of depression
Present in 50-80% of women, in diverse cultures
Predominant mood: HAPPINESS
Symptoms include tearfulness, lability, reactivity
Unrelated to stress or psychiatric history
Posited to be due to hormone withdrawal and/or effects of maternal bonding hormones
Unexplained physical complaints
Irritability and anger
Hopelessness and helplessness
Guilt and shame
Lack of feelings toward the baby
Inability to take care of self or family
Loss of interest, joy, pleasure
“This doesn’t feel like me”
PERINATAL ANXIETY and PANIC:
Inability to sit still
Excessive concern about baby’s or her own health
Appetite changes- often rapid weight loss
Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling/staying asleep)
Shortness of breath
Episodes of extreme anxiety
Shortness of breath, chest pain, sensations of choking or smothering, dizziness
Hot or cold flashes, trembling, rapid heart rate, numbness, tingling sensations
Restlessness, agitation, or irritability
Excessive worry or fear
Panic may wake you up.
Instrusive, repetitive thoughts (usually of harm coming to baby)
Tremendous guilt and shame
Will engage in behaviors to avoid harm or minimize triggers
Rapid mood swings
If you are stuggling with ANY of the symptoms identified above, please reach out to a professional for help in identifying what you may be going through and how you can get help.
As always, please remember that there IS HELP, you ARE NOT ALONE, and you CAN FEEL BETTER! Click here to be directed to Mother Warrior Counseling for support. At Mother Warrior Counseling, MOMS COME FIRST!
**Information provided in blog is courtesy of Postpartum Support International. You can click on this link- PSI– to be taken directly to their website where you will find an abundance of supportive information and help