New babies are hard work! Adjusting to life with a new baby is often far more difficult than anticipated. Many mothers find themselves feeling overwhelmed, sleep-deprived, and doubting they are really ‘cut out’ to be moms. Sometimes these feelings are further complicated by the presence of anxiety, depression, or a related illness. It’s common for families to receive little or no information about how a woman’s mental health can be affected during and after pregnancy. Unfortunately, this can leave everyone inadequately prepared to know the difference between ‘normal’ adjustment vs. illness.
While often referred to as “the happiest time in a woman’s life,” this period of great transition is filled with challenges — and is in fact an incredibly vulnerable time for a woman’s mental health. Emotional distress related to pregnancy and childbirth can come in different forms:
- “The Baby Blues” — Approximately 80% of mothers experience mild mood changes during pregnancy and/or the first 2-3 weeks postpartum. ‘The blues’ is mild, comes-and-goes, and typically resolves on it’s own within a few weeks. These mood changes can make a mother feel sensitive and emotional, but do not constitute an illness.
- Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) — Up to 25% of mothers develop more significant symptoms of anxiety, panic, depression, irritability, and more during pregnancy and/or within the first year after giving birth (called the ‘perinatal’ period). These longer-lasting symptoms likely indicate the presence of a mood or anxiety disorder, and can be mild, moderate, or severe. Perinatal Mood & Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) can affect any mother, and make the already difficult life-changes that come with baby feel absolutely unbearable.
Fortunately, with proper treatment from knowledgeable providers, it gets better.
Mothers who are struggling need accurate information, effective tools, resources, and …. nurturing! Through supportive counseling, Nurturing Baltimore Moms helps women navigate this challenging period, understand the particulars of their own situation, and develop strategies and supports for cultivating emotional wellness.
Moms deserve nurturing too!