Mom’s Support Circle
The “Baby Blues” affect 60-80% of new mothers and is a normal part of the postpartum period. Symptoms are mild and include crying, feeling overwhelmed, irritable, anxious, tired and impatient. These symptoms should resolve on their own by two weeks postpartum. However, if these symptoms do not resolve on their own within two weeks, you may be suffering from something more severe called a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder.
What is a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder?
A Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder is a mental health disorder occurring during pregnancy or up to one year after baby is born. Some of these disorders include postpartum depression, anxiety, panic, psychosis, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These disorders are the most common complication of childbirth.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders affect 1 in 7 mothers and 1 in 10 fathers. If left untreated, the disorders may disrupt mother-baby bonding, interrupt the infant’s development, cause family and relationship conflicts, and in serious cases, lead to harm to self or baby.
Who is at risk for a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder?
Signs and Symptoms:
- Personal or family history of a mood disorder
- Recent stressors (illness, divorce, move, job change, death, financial setback)
- Lack of social support
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding complications
- Prior episode of a perinatal mood & anxiety disorder
- Perfectionist personality/high motherhood expectations
- Traumatic labor and delivery
- Fussy, sick, or high-need baby
- History of miscarriage, abortion, or infertility
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Stressful relationship with significant other
- Mother of multiples
- Mother of infant(s) in NICU
- Thyroid imbalance
- History of severe PMS symptoms or mood changes while taking birth control or fertility drugs
- Sadness or depression
- Loss of interest, joy, or pleasure
- Low self esteem
- Guilt and shame
- Appetite changes
- Anger, rage
- Feeling like “I’m never going to be myself again”
- Irritable or tense
- Anxious or panicky, constant worry
- Trouble bonding with baby
- Feeling “out of control” or “going crazy”
- Feeling like no one understands
- Inability to care for self or family
- Disconnected or scared
- Sleep disturbances
- Inability to concentrate or focus
- Feeling like “I’m a bad mother”
- Powerless, alone
- Extreme tiredness
- Feeling like each day is so long, there is no end in sight, no hope
- Thoughts of harming self or others
If you are struggling with any of the signs and symptoms listed, call your health care provider today. They may refer you to a trained professional who can offer emotional support and help you find ways to cope.
Treatment options for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can include medication, private or group therapy, or a peer support group such as Moms Support Circle offered by The Women’s Hospital.
Mom’s Support Circle
is a free, peer support group for mothers experiencing a perinatal mood disorder. We meet the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month. Come and listen or discuss your thoughts and feelings with other moms experiencing similar emotions. Please call 812-842-4275
for more information on how to join our group or sign up for a specific date
and one of our facilitators will contact you.
Sources: Postpartum Support International (PSI) www.postpartum.net
All facilitators certified with Postpartum Support International’s 2-Day Certificate of Completion Program for Perinatal Mood Disorders Components of Care.