I know I speak on this a lot but I don't think the importance and acknowledgement when it comes to postpartum as whole is understood. Many times you find a woman being howled her down about her biological clock ticking, mom surrounded by people during her pregnancy, and after birth just to see the baby. We often forget what mama has just been through. We are often unaware of her challeneges she may have faced prior to pregnancy or during. We are clueless to her emotional and mental state and even her physical capabilities. We don't acknowledge how much this woman's life is about to change and how we can support her through the transition. We don't take into consideration of what dad if he is in the picture what may be going through his mind. Is he financially in a good position to care for another being, does he have the necessary positive support to transition as well.
Postpartum outreach is sparse and it's hard to come out and speak on whole heartedly without judgement. I remember being a couple days postpartum and a surge of anxiety hit me while I laid in the hospital bed breastfeeding my son. I felt alone, even as one of my sisters sat by my side to give me company and motherly love. I felt worried, even though I was safe. I felt like what happens to baby if something happens to me. Meditation, prayer and relaxing sounds were my remedies during these rushes. Painting and writing was my outlet. Baby-wearing and breastfeeding were my ways to bond.
At the time I didn't have a therapist or know how to go about getting the necessary help to overcome the challenges. I did have a nurse who was partnered with the YWCA who came home to visit and screen and assure me of how I felt and why I was feeling this way.
A program that I believe is much needed in our society for not just first time moms but for mothers who are at risk of developing anxiety and or depression.
I personally believe that one of the reasons why women and men have a hard time opening up about their state of mind postpartum is the fear of their baby being taken away. The fear of them being labelled as unfit and unable, the fear of being judged for seeking help or speaking up about it. I have heard comments such as there's no such thing as depression or she's just seeking attention or he needs to get himself together and be a man. It's these comments that throw individuals under the bus that shun them from getting help.
Collectively as a society I know the first thing that needs to take place is education and awareness on the matter. Understanding the risk factors, signs to look out for, symptoms that vary between genders and so forth all play a huge role in having the needed resources in place for healing. Which addresses the next componet, knowing what resources and having many options regarding the healing is vital. Knowing who you can talk to is also important because that will either help you go towards healing or push you away from seeking help. Your space is sacred so allow those who enter that space to keep it sacred. As a mom who has experienced postpartum anxiety and burnout I know how challenging and disable it can make a person feel which is why I have created this post and held the live discussion on Instagram so women can feel comfortable in opening up.
In this post is a link for those who are new moms or recently gave birth or had a loss to screen themselves to see where they are at.
After you take the screening questionnaire, taking the results to a trusted and open provider who will support your healing would be the next step. I have attached links to resources you can utilize that I hope you take advantage of. As always feel free to reach out and be well.
POSTPARTUM MENTAL HEALTH SCREENING QUESTIONNAIRE