Before I was pregnant, I had volunteered at an event called Jenny’s Light and it is NOT named after me. It is a foundation created to bring awareness to postpartum depression something that effects 1 in 7 women and can range from very mild to very severe. In the case of Jenny, she took her own life and her family created a foundation to help prevent that from ever happening in anyone else’s family.
It’s important to recognize the signs in our friends and loved ones. It effects so many women. When a couple is in my office, I always make sure the significant other is aware of the signs. Often the new mom will not see the signs and know that it’s happening. See below for a basic list of the most common signs:
Mood swings Anxiety Sadness Irritability Feeling overwhelmed Crying Reduced concentration Appetite problems Trouble sleeping Depressed mood or severe mood swings Excessive crying Difficulty bonding with the baby Withdrawing from family and friends Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy Reduced interest and pleasure in activities usually enjoyed Intense irritability and anger Fear that you’re not a good mother Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions Severe anxiety and panic attacks Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
There are many resources to help with identifying postpartum depression: One of my favorite quizzes that is one that the new mom can take or a partner can take for her is here: http://www.postpartumhealthalliance.org/screening-test Help Resource guide: http://www.supportingmamas.org Treatment options:
Medication Acupuncture and herbs Counseling Support groups
Supporting the cause: http://jennyslight.org
This is a great cause that you can join and either donate, race or volunteer. Our office has a booth every year trying to help create awareness about this issue that can effect many women. Come and join us each May for the 5K race at Vasona Park in Los Gatos to help prevent future postpartum tragedies.