Mother's Day marked the beginning of Women's health week, a week created to encourage women and girls to prioritize their health. May is also Mental Health Awareness month and various organizations are sharing resources and tips to ensure people don't suffer in silence. One organization specifically though, Postpartum Support International, is targeting Maternal Mental Health by establishing and promoting a free hotline run by trained professionals to help combat the mental and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy and postpartum.
Maternal Mental Health is the mental health issues of pregnant and postpartum persons. Approximately 15% of women will experience postpartum depression within 1 year after childbirth and 20% of women will experience anxiety or depression while pregnant. I was about 3 months postpartum before I was diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety Disorder. Thankfully, I was able to locate a therapist and rediscover myself to climb out of that dark place. Therapy and peer support groups made recovery less challenging. PSI virtually supports women through a variety of issues like stress, adjusting to parenting, baby blues, or pregnancy or postpartum depression/anxiety. Moms can join groups for one or all of these issues and receive support or now call the hotline 24/7. There is no diagnosis needed or referral and all issues discussed are confidential.
Joining a support group like PSI or utilizing the Hotline are a few ways you can prioritize your mental health concerns. You can also address your concerns through standardized quizzes and checklists. I like to give all my clients two options, the Edinburgh Assessment and this New Mom Mental Health Checklist. The Edinburgh Assessment is a clinical screening tool of 10 questions that can indicate if one has symptoms of those who are depressed. The checklist was created to empower moms and facilitate difficult conversations with providers and the support team. Neither resource replaces the advice of a licensed Mental Health Therapist trained in Postpartum support
Other ways to prioritize your mental health include journaling, reading self-help books, coloring/painting, prenatal yoga classes, writing out affirmations to place around your living and working space to internalize, or simply spending time outside in nature. Slowing down and taking a step back does wonders for the brain and the body. Replacing negative thoughts and habits with positive ones reinforces wellness which leads to an optimal pregnancy and postpartum experience. Getting a Doula is another way to prioritize your mental health since we will provide continuous support and resources and can take away stress that can come with either journey.
What are some ways you prioritize mental health while pregnant or after having a baby?
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