“New baby” and “depression” aren’t phrases you commonly hear together. But, as, we know and have experienced, motherhood hits you in the face. While pregnancy seems long – a gradual progression – there is nothing gradual about becoming a mother. Motherhood can blindside you, even if you read all the books and prepped the nursery just so.
As a mother, I am saddened, but not surprised, to learn that according to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research, 1 in 9 women experience postpartum depression. Other research indicates it may be closer to 1 in 7. And even more women will experience some other mental health challenge related to becoming a mother or motherhood in general, like postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis or baby blues.
With mental health challenges being so prevalent for both new moms and mothers at every stage, I think it is important that we recognize this month, May, which has been deemed Maternal Depression Awareness month by Postpartum Support International (PSI).
Mothers who see an OBGYN will be screened for postpartum depression at their 6-week follow up appointment, which is great, especially since it wasn’t so long ago the screening wasn’t done at this appointment. Unfortunately, for many women, six weeks is so long to wait when pain is so deep and emotions are so high.
I know I speak for many at Indy Mom’s Blog when I say we have a real opportunity to help one another, especially in those difficult first weeks of motherhood. That is why we are launching the #AskHer campaign. It’s simple. Know a new mom? Check in. Don’t just ask about the baby, ask about her. How is she feeling? Does she need more support than she is receiving? Know a mom of an older child or multiple children? Check in with her, too. Regularly. Postpartum depression isn’t limited to moms of newborns.
Motherhood can feel isolating at times, and sometimes just having someone to talk to can help. Be that person for someone else. I think back to my early days of motherhood, and I didn’t suffer from postpartum depression, but my mental health was not as strong as it normally is. I felt lucky to have a strong support system and people to talk to about my feelings. It is important to remember that not everyone has that.
Your support of another woman might be exactly what that mother needs. Your gentle reminder to take care of yourself may be the push she needs to seek treatment and get better. And if she’s just fine, that’s amazing. At least you asked
Signs of Postpartum Depression
Below are some questions from the PSI website that you can ask yourself. If you answer “yes” to some or many, it is likely a sign that you should contact your doctor right away to discuss if you potentially have a mood or anxiety disorder.
* Are you feeling sad or depressed?
* Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
* Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
* Do you feel anxious or panicky?
* Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
* Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
* Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
* Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
* Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?
Support for Indiana Women (list courtesy of PSI)
Indiana University Health Perinatal Mood Disorders Program Fee: none Telephone: 317.962.8191 Birdie Meyer, RN, MA, CLC & Sara Pollard, MSN, RN, PMHNP Email: [email protected]
Beyond the Baby Blues: Postpartum Support Group When: Every Monday from 11am-12pm Where: Community North Hospital, 4th Floor, Education room 4003 No cost, registration is not required. You are welcome to bring your baby. For more information contact Lindsay Wasik, MSW, LCSW at 317-621-9213 Email: [email protected]
Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Support Group St. Mary’s Hospital for Women & Children Fee: none Miranda Wahnsiedler MSN, AGCNS, RNC-OB, Group Facilitator Telephone: 812-485-6016 for more information Meets every Thursday (except holidays) @ 12-1pm and 5-6pm Hospital for Women & Children Gift Conference Room 3700 Washington Ave Evansville, IN 47750 Babies/significant others are welcome Additional information on times and locations stmarys.org/classes
Community Health Network Indianapolis Fee: none Telephone: 317.621.7828 Marcia Boring, MSW, LCSW Email
Let There be Light Creating hope and connections for women struggling with unexpected emotional symptoms during or after pregnancy. Second Tuesday of Every Month Location: Providence Mennonite Church 4738 US-50 Montgomery IN 47558 Call our warmline: (812) 254-8620 x 1347 with questions Child care available Light Refreshments Led by Women’s Health Center, Nurses of the Daviess Community Hosptial
Franciscan St. Francis Health Indianapolis Jean Crane, MA, LMHC Support Group meets the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays at 11am 610 E. Southport Rd. Ste 100 Telephone: 317-782-6503
Hendricks Regional Health Danville Catherine Farthing, MSW,LSW Jenni Russell, MSW, LSW Telephone: 317-718-0418 Email
Memorial Hospital South Bend Fee: none Linda Meeks, RN, Group Facilitator Mother Matters – Memorial Hosptial Telephone: 574-647-3243 (or pager 574-236-7811 8am-10pm) Phone support and referral services Motherhood Connection – peer to peer support group for new mothers Meets every Monday (except holidays) @ 6:30pm-8:00pm Good Shepherd Lutheran Church 1021 Manchester Drive, South Bend Babies Welcome Telephone: 574-272-3446 Contact Linda Meeks for more information
Lutheran Hospital Fort Wayne Fee: none Telephone: 260.435.7069 Michelle DeArmond RN BS, IBCLC
Lafayette Support goup 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month from 6:00 to 7:30 pm Kathyry Weil Center Fee: none Telephone: 765-449-5133
Valparaiso Beyond the Blues; NWI Peer Support Group Natalie Ladra Telephone: 219-331-1945