Postpartum Support International has declared May National Maternal Depression Awareness Month.
Perinatal mood disorders are more common than you might think: 1 in 10 women suffer from depression during pregnancy, while nearly 1 in 8 women suffer with postpartum depression. Though widespread, it can be isolating—many women endure the mental and emotional issues they are having in silence. Others may not be aware that what they are experiencing is depression. They may think “I'm just having a hard week,” or “I'm just tired.” It's important, however, for anyone dealing with these feelings to address the following questions:
* Are you feeling sad or depressed?
* Do you feel more irritable or angry with those around you?
* Are you having difficulty bonding with your baby?
* Do you feel anxious or panicky?
* 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?
If you or a new or expecting mother you know can answer yes to any of these questions, contact a healthcare provider for evaluation and guidance. Learn more about depression during pregnancy and postpartum—including where to get help—at the Postpartum Support International website.