By Kristina Delhomme, Director—Therapy Services
Having a new baby is supposed to be a joyous time. Unfortunately, many families do not get the opportunity to enjoy this time to the fullest. Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) such as postpartum depression and anxiety can dim the light of the joy a newborn brings.
This is different than the baby blues that most new moms experience. Baby blues refers to a period of time between a few days to two weeks of mild ups and downs, stress, and weepiness. PMADs can occur anytime within the first year following child birth and feelings are more intense. Symptoms can include:
- excessive or frequent crying
- feeling overwhelmed
- low self-esteem including feelings of guilt, shame or worthlessness
- lack of interest in the baby
- thoughts of harming yourself or child
PMADs affect 1 in 5 women regardless of race, age and socioeconomic level. Certain risk factors leave you more vulnerable including: complications with pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding; having a family and personal history of a mental health disorder; poor social support; marital stress, financial stress, and undergoing a recent major life event such as a move, a loss or a change in employment.
At Legacy, we are committed to supporting moms, dads and babies with many treatment options available including medication, individual therapy and group therapy. If you suspect you may have a PMAD, make sure you talk to either your primary care or mental health provider to get help.