Today’s post is written by Allison Loftus LPC of Flourish Counseling Center LLC in Rochester, MN. Allison and I are working together through the month of May to cultivate a community of support around postpartum mental health for mothers and families in the Rochester and Southeast Minnesota area.
Thank you, Allison for tackling this with me!
Could you be a mom with postpartum depression or anxiety?
I had no idea I suffered from postpartum depression. I thought I was just a “bad mom” who couldn’t get her act together. I convinced myself that if I just tried harder, I would have a renewed interest in life and my new baby, more energy, and fewer tears. But the harder I tried the more hopeless and worthless I felt.
Finally three years after the birth of my third child and midway through my schooling for my MA in psychology and counseling, I reached my breaking point. After weeks of crying and thoughts of just wanting to end it all, I called my family Dr. and was diagnosed with major depression. I started on an antidepressant and started therapy. Among many things, in therapy I learned I was not a bad mom I was depressed. I did the best I could and my children would be okay.
All moms need support postpartum; some moms need extra support.
Are you a mom who could use a little extra postpartum support?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it maybe good to talk to your family doctor or contact a counselor who specializes in postpartum mental health.
- Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
- Are you having problems with eating or sleeping?
- Are you having upsetting thoughts that you can’t get out of your mind?
- Do you feel as if you are “out of control” or “going crazy”?
- Do you feel like you never should have become a mother?
- Are you worried that you might hurt your baby or yourself?
Did you know 15 to 20% of women experience significant symptoms of depression or anxiety postpartum?
Depression and anxiety runs in families. If your mom had postpartum depression or anxiety you are 20% as likely to experience it.
Factors that increase a mom’s or dad’s vulnerable to PPD or PPA
- A personal history of depression or another mental health concerns
- A family history of depression or another mental health concerns
- A lack of support from family and friends
- Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
- Difficulties with a previous pregnancy birth, or adoption
- Previous pregnancy or adoption loss
- Marriage or money stress
- Stressful life events
PPD and PPA does not discriminate. It can affect not only moms post birth but moms post-adoption and post-miscarriage or stillbirth.
If you think you might be experiencing PPD or PPA talk to your family doctor or a counselor who specializes in postpartum mental health. (Here is a link to a great resource for learning more about postpartum mental health.)
I still can’t believe I was half through my MA in psychology and counseling before I got a clue that I had depression. The good news is I got the help I needed and you can too!
There is always hope and help…you just need to take the first step and ask!
And remember you are great mom!
Allison Loftus LPC