May Also Recognizes Mothers in Suffering
Moms, enjoy the attention this Mother’s Day, you deserve it. You are superheros, after all, juggling so many aspects of everyday life all for the benefit of the family.
A lesser known time of recognition, though, is the first week of May, known as National Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week. And while it’s easy to make the case that most (if not all) moms need a “mental-health” break from the rigors of motherhood now and then, there is a different side of motherhood not often discussed.
Thousands of local moms suffer in silence — drowning in depression and possibly considering self-harm. Postpartum depression is a tough battle, a debilitating post-birth mood disorder that affects at least one in seven moms, from two weeks to two years after they give birth.
Postpartum depression is not to be confused with what many know as the “baby blues,” which up to 80% of new mothers experience within 10-14 days of birth. This is a mild sadness that typically resolves within two weeks or less.
Postpartum depression can last for many months, and symptoms range from persistent crying and feelings of rage and hopelessness to fear of being alone with the baby, fear of being in public and even thoughts of harming oneself.
A dramatic change in hormones after childbirth triggers postpartum depression. Many mothers experiencing this blame themselves, isolating from their children and families and unfortunately, many families don’t survive the impact.
In 2019, I joined forces with other moms and maternal health practitioners to form the Postpartum Support Network, providing a network of mental health therapists and connections to antidepressant medications that can help suffering moms out of the darkness and into a happy, productive time with their families.
The network educates the community and clinicians about the causes, symptoms and treatments for postpartum depression and is working with the OBGYN community to incorporate PPD screenings into postpartum visits, so symptoms can be detected and addressed quickly.
I experienced postpartum depression with the birth of my first child 15 years ago and it led to divorce after going so long without treatment. In the years since, I’ve met dozens of local moms with similar stories, many incredible, professional women with advanced degrees that were reduced to suicide attempts in the face of postpartum depression, while nobody else around them had a clue as to what was going on.
In the first year of operation, the network sponsored and supported nearly 30 local moms going through postpartum, helping them get necessary therapy and medication.
So during this month of celebrating mothers, please remember the thousands of local moms hurting in silence in their homes. If you know a new mother who may be experiencing the symptoms of postpartum depression, let them know there are local resources to help them. It’s one of the greatest Mother’s Day gifts we can give.
Tina Lange is a licensed Realtor with Cloud 9 Real Estate Group in Melbourne. She has two children, Samantha and Alex, a dogs and a growing list of hobbies. She helped found the Postpartum Support Network, which helps suffering moms out of the darkness.
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