• About 1 in 7 women will experience a postpartum mood/anxiety disorder (PMDA) , after giving birth.  It is the most common complication for women who have just had a baby!

    What is it and why is it important to talk about and treat it?

     A PMAD differs from the baby blues in that the symptoms are more serious and last longer, usually requiring treatment to get better.  Signs that you might be experiencing PMAD are:

     Changes in your feelings:

     – Feeling depressed most of the day, every day

    – Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure

    – Feeling panicky or scared a lot of the time

    – Obsessive, Ruminative thoughts and behaviors

    – Having trouble concentrating or making decisions

    Changes in your everyday life:

     -Having little interest in things you normally like to do

    – Feeling tired all the time

    – Eating a lot more or less than is normal for you

    – Gaining or loosing weight

    – Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much


    Changes in how you think about yourself or your baby:

     -Having trouble bonding

    – Thinking about hurting or killing yourself or your baby

    If you find yourself experiencing several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, it’s important to seek treatment. You can contact a mental health counselor who will help you manage your symptoms and make recommendations to support you in feeling better.

    Treating PMDA important because of the many ways it can impact a family if untreated:

    Impact on Infants:

    –       Increased crying and irritability

    –       Hyper vigilance

    –       Lower activity level

    –       Less positive affect

    –       Failure to thrive

    –       Poor attachment

    –       Decreased breastfeeding duration

    Impact on baby as they grow:

    –       Behavioral problems: Sleep issues, temper tantrums, aggression, hyperactivity.

    –       Delays in Cognitive Development: Walking, talking, learning, reading, ect.

    –       Social: Difficulty establishing secure relationships, social withdrawal, acting out, difficulty making friends

    –       Emotional: Lower self esteem, more anxious and fearful, more passive, less independent, higher risk of depression and/or anxiety later in life

    Impact on family:

    –       Relationship friction and separation

    –       Partners can feel helplessness and depression

    –       Impact on siblings

    –       Effects how partner feels about the relationship

    –       Causes feelings of grief and loss

    –       Effects extended family

    PMAD is powerful and important to talk about and treat. If you or someone you know is suffering from PMAD remember: You are not alone, you are not to blame, and with the right help you will get better.

    Things you can try to do right now:

    -Try to do something active every day a

    – Eat healthy, nourishing foods and snacks

    – Get as much rest as you can

    – Try to practice gratitude and positive thinking

    – Focus on your strengths and achievements, even if they seem small

    – Take deep breaths

    – Practice basic self-care and sleep hygiene

    – Lower expectations, you are good enough

    – Ask for and accept help; reach out to friends, family, supports, contact a professional and schedule an appointment

    Elise Derevjanik, LMHC

    Perinatal and postpartum mental health counselor

    Leave a reply:

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*