"If you or someone you know is having suicidal or homicidal thoughts, please talk to someone! To the mother that is currently experiencing these types of thoughts, I say, “Do not let the shame of these thoughts stop you from reaching out for help. Shame will tell you not to talk to anyone. Shame will lie to you and tell you that you are a bad mother. But it is not true! You are not a bad mother. You are ill. You need help. There is hope and healing if you would only reach out.” - Naomi K.
Perinatal Mental health issues are not something mothers can just get over. It is not something mothers are creating for themselves. It is not something happening to mother's because they are weak.
Typically, when we hear a mother has 'postpartum' we immediately assume she is depressed and suicidal
**but how could a mother take her own life when a baby needs her *shame/guilt* or we assume she has psychosis and she wants to harm her baby **but how could a mother ever want to harm her beautiful baby *shame/guilt**
It does get better, with help.
With that, let's get technical. The word 'perinatal' means around birth. When referring to Perinatal Mental Health we are referring to mental health issues that surround birth (from conception to one year postpartum).
This includes the following:
Antepartum depression and anxiety
Postpartum depression and anxiety
Postpartum anxiety/panic disorder
Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder
Bipolar Mood Disorders
Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder
I can go into more detail on what each is, including symptoms but I don't think that is the point of this post. You can find a TON of knowledge on the subject through Postpartum Support International and Mental Health America recently published an article full of great information.
So, what is my intention with this post? To create awareness. To breed kindness. To support our mothers. To let struggling mothers know that is does get better with help and they are not weak.
Perinatal Mental health issues tend to be related to an imbalance of hormones. If someone feels like they are not themselves, it is because they are not. Women who tend to have a bigger swing of moods during their cycles, tend to be at greater risk. It is not something that allows a mother to just pick herself up and get back at it... and then add the lack of sleep (boom) it is a bad cocktail.
It does get better, with help.
Please do not let the shame of feeling defeated keep you from reaching out. Please talk to someone about the feelings. The longer you remind silent, the longer it will manifest and all we want is for you to be yourself again.
What does help look like?
Partners, Parents, Friends.
If you are currently feeling hopeless please call for help:
Call the PSI Warmline at 1-800-944-4773(4PPD)
For Crisis, call National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
In Pittsburgh, call the re:solve crisis network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)
Call your OB/ Midwife / Pediatrician/ PCP.
Call a local therapist that specializes in perinatal mental health
Call your PSI volunteer coordinator to find help.