Guest blog post written by Elise Derevjanik, LMHC
Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, lets talk about postpartum mood disorders!
About 1 in 7 women will experience a postpartum mood disorder, commonly referred to as Postpartum Depression (PPD), after giving birth. PPD is the most common complication for women who have just had a baby.
So what is it, why is it important to talk about, and why is it important to treat?
A postpartum mood disorder differs from the “baby blues” in that the symptoms are more serious and last longer, usually requiring treatment to get better. Some common signs that you might be experiencing PPD are:
Changes in your feelings:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, every day
- Feeling shame, guilt, or like a failure
- Feeling panicky or scared a lot of the time
- Obsessive, ruminative thoughts and behaviors
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
Changes in your everyday life:
- Having little interest in things you normally like to do
- Feeling tired all of the time
- Eating a lot more or less than is normal for you
- Gaining or loosing weight
- Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Changes in how you think about yourself or your baby:
- Having trouble bonding
- Thinking about hurting or killing yourself or your baby
If you find yourself experiencing several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, it is important to seek treatment. You can contact a mental health counselor who will help you manage your symptoms and make recommendations to support you in feeling better. PsychologyToday.com is a wonderful resource to find local therapists near you if you are unsure where to start in this journey.
Treating PPD is important because of the many ways it can impact a family if left untreated:
Impact on Infants:
- Increased crying and irritability
- Hyper vigilance
- Lower activity level
- Less positive affect
- Failure to thrive
- Poor attachment
- Decreased breastfeeding duration
Impact on baby as they grow:
- Behavioral problems: sleep issues, temper tantrums, aggression, and hyperactivity
- Delays in Cognitive Development: walking, talking, learning, reading, ect.
- Social: difficulty establishing secure relationships, social withdrawal, acting out, difficulty making friends
- Emotional: lower self-esteem, more anxious and fearful, more passive, less independent, higher risk of depression and/or anxiety later in life
Impact on family:
- Relationship friction and separation
- Partners can feel helplessness and depression
- Impact on siblings
- Effects how partner feels about the relationship
- Causes feelings of grief and loss
- Effects extended family
PPD is powerful and important to talk about and treat.
If you or someone you know is suffering from PPD remember:
You are not alone.
You are not to blame.
With the right help you will get better.
Things you can try to do right now:
- Try to do something active every day
- Eat healthy, nourishing foods and snacks
- Get as much rest as you can
- Try to practice gratitude and positive thinking
- Focus on your strengths and achievements, even if they seem small
- Take deep breaths
- Practice basic self-care and sleep hygiene
- Lower expectations, you are good enough
- Ask for and accept help; reach out to friends, family, supports, contact a professional and schedule an appointment
-Elise Derevjanik, LMHC
Elise is a NYS licensed mental health counselor who specializes in prenatal and postpartum mental health. She has over 10 years of clinical experience and a certificate of specialized training in postpartum mood disorders. She holds a Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling from the State University of New York at New Paltz.
Elise’s goal is to help women and families be their best selves. She focuses on fertility, conception, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and the transition to motherhood and parenting. The stress and emotions that accompany these life changes can be challenging. It is difficult to make time for your own self care and mental health needs, but doing so is vital. Elise provides compassionate, safe, non-judgemental counseling to help her clients be their best selves.
Elise is currently providing therapeutic in-home sessions in the surrounding area of Beacon, NY and runs a weekly postpartum support group in Beacon, NY. She will also be available for office visits in the near future. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Elise, click the link to her website below for more information!
Isn’t Elise Awesome!? Stay connected with Elise for more information around PPD and much more!