From FIT4MOM HQ's blog: *You are not alone. FIT4MOM's blog series, Motherhood Untold, tells the stories of real moms navigating the real challenges and struggles of motherhood. Adrienne Griffen a story about postpartum depression and anxiety.
*Please note this blog contains a discussion of postpartum depression and anxiety that may be triggering for some readers. If you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression and/or anxiety, please know that Postpartum Support International (www.postpartum.net, 1-800-944-4773, text 503-894-9453) is here to help, you are not alone. Please continue at your own discretion.*
Having a new baby can be the happiest time in a family’s life; however, this is not always the case for every mama.
Mental health conditions are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth impacting 1 in 5 pregnant or postpartum patients (that’s 800,000 families each year in the United States). Mental health conditions – primarily anxiety and depression – can turn a joyful period into a time of sadness, loneliness, and guilt.
I remember when I experienced postpartum depression and anxiety after my son was born in 2001. I had a scary emergency C-section, and he would likely have died if we weren’t in the hospital. He wanted to be held all the time and would not take a bottle. I was exhausted and overwhelmed caring for a toddler and a newborn. At my lowest point, I ran away from home, telling my husband he could have the house, the children, the car, the clothes; all I wanted was to find somewhere to sleep for about a month.
When I finally connected with doctors who understood what I was going through, I quickly started feeling better with a combination of more sleep, talk therapy, and anti-depressant medication. Eventually, I became a phone volunteer responding to calls and emails from new mothers and those who love and care for them with Postpartum Support International (PSI) — the world’s leading organization in providing information and support to individuals experiencing maternal mental health conditions. After a few years and another baby, I started a support group at a local hospital, and later founded Postpartum Support Virginia (PSVa), a nonprofit organization that I led for ten years,
Here are a few things that parents should know about mental health conditions:
Perinatal mental health (PMH) conditions – often referred to under the umbrella term “postpartum depression” -- can occur any time during pregnancy or the first year after pregnancy and can include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder. PMH conditions are bio-psycho-social illnesses, meaning that the root of the illness is often multi-factorial. Up to 1 in 10 dads and partners will also experience anxiety/depression during the childbearing years. It is crucial that those experiencing these illnesses understand that they are not at fault.