Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience. Along with the precious moments of raising a child, comes facing the pressures of parenthood. Whether it’s worrying about your child’s well-being while trying to feel like yourself again, your mental health may take a toll. It’s very common for many women to endure some sort of challenge, whether physical or mental, during and after becoming a mother, and it’s not always easy to recognize the signs to seek help.
In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. Whether you’re just seeking support or you are concerned for your mental health, no matter what you're going through there are resources available for you.
The first step in seeking help is identifying and understanding the mental health conditions associated with pregnancy and motherhood. From there, national and local resources for support and treatment are available for you to research and determine the best way for you to receive the help you may need.
📖 Read more: Visit Mental Health America for more information on mental health conditions associated with pregnancy and motherhood.
Prenatal support groups
Joining support groups during your pregnancy can offer so much helpful support and guidance as you navigate the new experiences pregnancy brings. Whether you need emotional support surrounded by women who understand what you’re going through or you’re looking for actionable tips for dealing with prenatal cramps to the best breastfeeding tips—there are resources to help find the best community for you.
Prenatal Support Resources:
Pregnancy-related mental health conditions
Pregnancy Loss Depression
While miscarriage is common, it can be an extremely lonely and confusing period, not to mention traumatic. The loss of a pregnancy can leave anyone in a state of deep sadness and depression. Navigating those feelings and addressing how to grieve is important for one’s mental and physical health.
Pregnancy Loss Depression Support Resources:
📖 Read more: Talking About Your Miscarriage at Work
Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety
Pregnancy to giving birth is an intense time for any mother; physically, emotionally and mentally. It’s very common for women to experience heightened emotions and even mental health conditions during their pregnancy.
Feeling more sad, hopeless or overwhelmed than usual or a change in diet, self-worth, sleep, focus and motivation could be signs of Prenatal and Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. It’s important to note the distinction between the ‘Baby Blues’ and Postpartum Depression. Due to the fluctuating hormones after giving birth, it’s very common for new mothers to experience an onset of postpartum blues lasting no longer than 2 weeks after birth. Postpartum Depression is a mental health diagnosis that extends longer than the typical ‘baby blues’ and tends to have more severe symptoms.
Prenatal and Postpartum Support Resources:
Birth-related Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Some births don’t always go as planned and emergency measures may need to be taken, creating a traumatic experience for the mother. Recovering can be a difficult process as triggers can cause panic attacks, detachment or painful flashbacks and nightmares.
Birth Trauma Support Resources:
Seeking help or just basic information can be incredibly helpful in your understanding of maternal mental health. Knowing how to identify the signs and working with your healthcare provider can not only improve your life but your loved ones’ as well.
More importantly, realizing mental health surrounding pregnancy and motherhood is common should eliminate the feeling that you’re alone in this. With the available resources along with the various support groups out there, you can empower yourself to be the parent and person you aim to be.
Trust that every mother is on her own journey, but we are all mothers together. You are not alone.