Postpartum Depression and Anxiety – also known as Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders – are a lot more common than people think. 1 in 5 new moms (and 1 in 10 dads) experience difficult moods and anxiety symptoms following the birth of a new baby. You are not alone. We now know that certain people are more at risk for developing perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), and that with the proper supports in place you will get better.
Symptoms of a PMAD include: tearfulness, reactivity, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, poor concentration/focus, irritability, hopelessness, guilt and shame, overwhelmed, lack of feelings toward the baby, inability to care for self/family, anxiety, loss of interest, isolation, “this does not feel like me”, mood swings and worthlessness.
For some women and men, PMAD appears more as anxiety: irritability, inability to sit still, excessive concern about baby/self, high alert, appetite changes (rapid weight loss), sleep disturbances (difficulty falling/staying asleep) constant worry, racing thoughts, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, panic. Fear of dying, fear of going crazy, fear of losing control.
Struggling with mood changes postpartum is not easy but there are a few things we know can help, and seeking support from your health care provider is one of them! An acronym to remember when struggling with mental health is NESTS. NESTS stands for:
Time for Self
Supports – practical, emotional and medical
Focusing on ways to target each of these areas of our lives can make a big difference in how we feel.
The After Baby program is a partnership between the Georgian NPLC, Barrie Community Family Health Team and EarlyON Centre providing a space to discuss mood and anxiety changes following the birth of a child.
Meet other new parents experiencing mood changes after birth of baby
Discuss relationships, difficult emotions and how to take care of yourself
Build coping strategies
Drop ins are welcome
Child minding is available – Please contact the EarlyON Child and Family Centre in advance to register by the Monday prior at 12pm. Voicemail messages or speak to a worker to reserve a spot for your mobile infant or toddler 705-792-7878
Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. at the EarlyON Centre, 129 Ferris Lane Barrie
Contact your primary care provider – Nurse Practitioner or Physician, for more information about how you can better be supported in the transition to parenthood. If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby please reach out for help now. The Simcoe County Crisis Line can be reached 24/7 705-728-5044.
Written by Amber Sperling MSW RSW