One in five women experience some form of PMAD (postpartum.net, 2023). PMAD, also commonly known as perinatal or postpartum mood and anxiety disorder, occurs after childbirth. This illness can occur due to previous mental illnesses and environmental factors, but can impact women who had a healthy pregnancy and birth as well. Symptoms of this disorder can include: crying more often, anger, withdrawal from loved ones, feelings of numbness or disconnection from your baby, worries about hurting the baby, and feelings of guilt (CDC). Due to these symptoms associated with PMAD, many mothers are hesitant to seek help. Estimates show that about 7 in 10 women hide or downplay their symptoms (postpartum.net, 2023). As a result, this illness often goes untreated where the severity of symptoms become at risk of increasing.
May 3rd is World Maternal Mental Health Day to raise awareness about PMAD among mothers. Women from all walks of life around the world can be affected and the impacts can be devastating if they don’t seek treatment. Raising awareness to break the stigma surrounding maternal mental health is crucial to promote the health of mothers, children, and healthy relationships between family members.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with their mental health after childbirth, there is help out there. If you are personally struggling, seek out professional help. Have honest conversations with your healthcare and mental health providers about the feelings you are experiencing to create a treatment plan. It is also important to reach out to your loved ones for support during this time and remind yourself that this feeling is temporary, and it is not your fault.
If someone you know may be struggling, make sure to be a support system to them during this difficult time.
Some ways you can offer support include:
Make them feel loved, seen, and heard
Encourage them to seek professional help
While they are seeking professional treatment, encourage them to continue
Encourage self-care (ex. alone time, meditation)
Partake in their personal interests and hobbies (ex. Activities they did before pregnancy)
Nurture their relationships with the baby (ex. Facilitating tasks, parenting workshops)
Learn more at: https://wmmhday.postpartum.net/