The pregnancy and the postpartum period are often made out to be the most exciting time in a woman and couples life. However, this journey does not always bring joy as described. Getting pregnant and having a newborn often brings along increase stressors and worries which are usually unspoken. It is reported that 1 in 7 women experience Postpartum Mood Disorder (PMD) and/or Postpartum Anxiety. Risk factors can include having a past history of anxiety and depression, past struggles with fertility, perinatal loss, significant hormonal changes during pregnancy and changes in sleep. It is important to note that women are at an increased risk during pregnancy and the first 4 months after having a baby.
HERE ARE 6 SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Sleep, sleep, sleep
Women are often told sleep when your baby sleeps. This is not always possible. It feels overwhelming to do this since new moms may feel this is their only time to complete other household chores or have a moment to themselves. However, if your sleep is interrupted due to excessive thinking or worries over a number of weeks or months this may be a warning sign of PMD (Postpartum Mood Disorder).
Increased crying spells
Pregnancy and the postpartum period often bring hormonal changes which may include more episodes of crying. However, if these episodes become more regular and come along with feelings of sadness, this may be related to PMD.
Lack of interest & joy
Joy is not something that is always easy to have with pregnancy and the postpartum period. If you have struggled with infertility your pregnancy may be filled with anxiety, fear and disbelief which taints your ability to bond with your unborn baby. In the postpartum period, decreased sleep, increased responsibility makes it difficult to relax and enjoy past activities. It this persists over a period of weeks or months, this may be a warning sign.
Intensified anxiety and sadness can often translate into increased anger and irritability. This may look like increased strain and resentment towards you partner, becoming more easily frustrated with partner, family, friends, newborn and strangers. This is a symptom of PMD.
Bonding with your baby is often made out to be instantaneous. Fear of bonding with your unborn baby and struggling to bond with your baby due to feeling emotionally distressed is often a sign that you may be struggling with mood disorder.
All moms to be and new moms worry. However, if this worry is impacting your ability to socialize, have stability in your work life, get out of the house, or enjoy activities which you would normally enjoy, this is something to pay closer attention to.
Know that you are not alone! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talking about your emotions can be helpful to getting you through this difficult time. You can reach out to your GP and get a referral to a professional who specializes in treatment during this time.
Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day. Click on the image to learn about 5 ways that you can help end the stigma around mental illness.
B Healthy Counselling specializes in supporting women during pregnancy and the the postpartum period.
Samantha Attinello is a registered social worker who has been working as a psychotherapist and mental health professional for the past 15 years working at various hospitals in the GTA including St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Toronto Western and most recently William Osler Health System. She obtained her Master’s and Bachelor’s in Social Work from Carleton University and holds a BA in Psychology from McMaster University. She also has certifications in cognitive behaviour therapy from Hinks Dellcrest Institute. As well as, completed some training from the Gottman Institute specializing in couples therapy.
She has worked in various areas of mental health with a special interest in Women’s Mental Health and Couples Counselling. Formally, she founded and led the Women’s Mental Health Clinic at William Osler Health and has continued to work with women and couples on their goals.