Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) commonly referred to as ‘Postpartum Depression’ is an illness that affects 1 in 7 pregnant or postpartum women.
PMADs are more than baby blues. Most women do experience a 1-2 week period after birth where they feel emotional and out of sorts. The baby blues do not dominate the mother’s experience and they are able to enjoy their new baby and believe that things will get better. The baby blues will go away on their own without any professional help.
PMADS are different. Though commonly thought of as postpartum depression, PMADs encompass several different types of symptoms that can start in pregnancy and develop anytime in the postpartum period; the first 12 months following birth. The symptoms may include depression and/or anxiety during pregnancy and the postpartum period, postpartum OCD, postpartum PTSD, postpartum bi-bipolar symptoms, and postpartum psychosis. A mother experiencing a PMAD needs professional support to recover so she feels better and is able to care for, enjoy, and bond with her new baby.
Feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, isolated, and even regretful of having had a baby can wreak havoc on how a woman sees herself as a ‘mother’ and how she and her baby bond. Difficulties with breastfeeding, sleep deprivation and sleep troubles, adjusting to a new identity as a mother, or figuring out how to parent more than one child all put mom at greater risk of experiencing a PMAD.
Dads are also at risk of developing a PMAD and the greatest risk factor for a dad is if the mom has symptoms of a PMAD. The second risk factor is if the dad has a history of mental health problems himself (diagnosed or undiagnosed). Dads need and deserve help too!
PMADs are highly treatable and early intervention with a compassionate and well-trained therapist can shorten symptoms and help feel better! You and your baby deserve to feel good together.