Within every mother , there is a warrior. This warrior desires deeply to fight, to thrive and to live. But for a mom struggling with postpartum anxiety and other mood disorders, this warrior is imprisoned.
Their prison must be unlocked, so the doors of communication can open. The key to unlock that cell is support. The medium is education, and the vessel to utilize that medium is you.
Know what postpartum anxiety and mood disorders look like, what the symptoms are. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard, uncomfortable questions. Go beyond “How are you? How’s the baby? How are you feeling/recovering?” and ask “How are you really doing? Are you finding your new normal, or are you struggling?” Then follow up with, “You are not alone. I am here for you, please tell me what you need and how I can help.”
Encourage support groups, a talk with their doctor or midwife, and possibly even meeting with a counselor. Women who have a history of mental health disorders are at a higher risk for PMADs, as well as those who have experienced any kind of abuse and trauma. Environmental factors such as a job change, relationship issues, the death of a loved one or moving to a new home all have the potential to increase PMADs in a prenatal or postpartum mother.
If you or a mom you know cannot function day-to-day, where simple daily tasks feel like mountains to climb, please, speak up. Call a friend or someone else in your support system and let them know how you are doing. Be honest and communicate your struggles. You are a warrior. Begin to fight. You will win this battle, because you won’t be fighting it alone.
To those who are the support system…you don’t have to understand what a mom is going through, she just needs you to be there while she’s going through it. When support is given, healing begins and communication increases. Mothers are healthy, babies are happy and families thrive.