These two podcasts produced by The Fem Collective are worthy of attention from postpartum moms, families, partners and caregivers. You are not alone, you are not to blame...There is help.
Postpartum Depression & the Transition to Motherhood Part 2…
As a follow up to Postpartum Depression & the Transition to Motherhood (Part 1), Katie, Stacy and Mai interview Dr. Ekta Escovar, a pediatrician with a commitment to mental health. Dr. Ekta differentiates between baby blues, postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Dr. Ekta also talks about common PPD symptoms and screening tools. She also provides a number of resources that should be helpful in identifying and understanding PPD, and ultimately finding help when you or someone you love needs it.
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Calculator
OWH Postpartum Depression Fact Sheet
Postpartum Support, International
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
*None of the comments are intended to take the place of advice from your own personal health care providers. Each individual is unique. Please seek advice from your healthcare provider or therapist if you are in need of support. If you can not afford a consultation, please connect with FOZA*
Postpartum Depression & the Transition to Motherhood Part 1
The Fem Collective, featuring Katie, Stacy, and Mai discuss their different experiences with postpartum depression and other postpartum challenges. Their experiences, like usual, are far ranging, and sometimes emotional. Tune in to hear part 1 of their postpartum conversations.
*None of the co-hosts are medical professionals. None of their comments are intended as medical advice. Please seek advice from your healthcare provider or therapist if you are in need of support.* - 45 min
Postpartum Support, International
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
How To Support A New Mom Who Is Struggling With Postpartum Depression
Resource: Amy Stuart - PSI
A few years ago, I entered a new season of life. My friends and I left our college years behind us and established ourselves in our respective fields. Many moved in with a partner or got married. It wasn’t long after this that a few began to start their families as well. As some of the people closest to me became parents for the first time, I caught my first glimpses of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and was exposed to a lexicon that had previously been unfamiliar to me.
I became intimately acquainted with terminology like “postpartum depression” and “prenatal anxiety.” A couple of friends experienced labors so harrowing that they were later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. It was during this season, a time simultaneously rewarding and bleak, that I began to understand what it meant to love and support a friend who was struggling with her mental health following the birth of her child.
Here are some things I learned:
1️⃣ I have found that one practical way of helping a friend who is wrestling due to one or more PMADs is to check in with her on a consistent basis. Ask how she is, share something small about your own life, and remind her that you are there for her. A short note in the mail or even just a quick text is a way to communicate that you remember her and care for her well-being.
2️⃣ In addition to checking in, look for tangible ways to lighten your friend’s mental load and provide physical relief. Offer to watch her infant while she naps, showers, or goes to an appointment. Cook a meal for her and her family. If suggestions such as these would be unsafe in your area due to the spread of COVID-19 (or if your friend lives too far from you for it to be feasible), consider arranging for groceries to be delivered to her or send a gift card to her favorite restaurant so she can get takeout.
3️⃣ Conversations can be powerful. The discussions you have with your friend can be an incredible source of relief to her. When she confides in you, listen with compassion and empathy. This may seem obvious, but it is easier said than done. She may confess that she feels like a failure because she has had difficulty breastfeeding while you may have elected to use formula for your own child. She may admit that she resents that her birth plan didn’t go as expected while you may have had an unplanned or emergency C-section. These admissions are not necessarily a reflection of her opinion of you or an indictment of your own decisions, but are more likely a representation of her own private grief and disappointment regarding her personal circumstances. They may spring from moments of deep vulnerability mingled with exhaustion, so be patient and attentive.
4️⃣ Help her to see her successes. Find opportunities to highlight ways you have seen your friend care for her family. If you notice her tenderly soothing her crying infant while also attending to her frustrated toddler, encourage her with that observation later in conversation. Even a healthy, well-rested mom can have a warped perception of herself as a parental figure or partner, so pointing out specific things she has done well can be huge.
5️⃣ Do not forget about the dads. While the emphasis of this article has been largely focused on moms and their needs, I would be remiss if I neglected to remind anyone reading this of how significant men’s mental health issues are as well. When your friend’s partner or husband is present, be sure to inquire after them as well.
6️⃣ Help her find professional help. Find out about mental health professionals in your area who are experienced in perinatal mental health and compile a list for her. Use PSI’s directory of trained PMAD professionals: https://psidirectory.com/ This step can be so overwhelming for many new moms and one that can take a huge burden off her shoulders. Offer to drive her to her appointments or (especially with COVID-19) schedule telehealth appointments for her. Offer to babysit for her while she gets help.
7️⃣ Finally, regardless of whether you are interacting with your friend or her spouse, be cognizant of your own limitations. You cannot exhaust yourself caring for others and even if you had an infinite amount of time and energy, there is wisdom in knowing when to point your friend to reputable mental health resources (Postpartum Support International’s website is a great starting point).
So long as you have friends who are of childbearing age, you are also likely to have friends who have a perinatal mood and anxiety disorder, but these suggestions are a starting point in caring for and supporting them well.
Every Wednesday 6:30pm ET/3:30pm PT
What this Meeting is About
Our online groups are here to help you connect with other parents, talk about your experience, and learn about helpful tools and resources. Whether you are going through stress, adjustment to parenting, Baby Blues, or pregnancy or postpartum depression/anxiety, our groups are here for you.
Military spouses, active duty personnel and veteran moms are welcome to attend. Our trained facilitators are military spouses and understand the unique stress of the military family life. Please let us know if you have any questions, and join us this week for a supportive and informative group.
We do not allow group observation by students or professionals. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
Reference: PSI - Start an account with PSI Postpartum Support (www.Postpartum.net) This will allow you to easily find and use the vast amount of free resources they provide. To join is free and once your account is active you can easily search by keyword for any topic or meeting you desire.
Some of their resources are attached to fees, however there are tons of meetings and loads of articles to help you make better decisions and provide you with the understanding that you are not alone.
PSI is a huge organization, so If you get overwhelmed by the mountains of data, feel free to reach out to FOZA and perhaps we can walk-you-through to fining the information you need. You are not alone!
#FOZA4PPDAwareness - Postpartum Psychosis PPP sufferers sometimes see and hear voices or images that others can’t, called hallucinations. It can be difficult to explain to others and get them to believe things that aren’t true and it's difficult to see the distrust start to form in the eyes of others. There can be periods of confusion, memory loss, and manic episodes. These conditions can be severe and dangerous. It's important to seek help immediately. Don't be salient; discuss PPP, including the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options with a health care professional. Connect with FOZA, we'll help you find resources in your area.
#FOZA4PPDAwareness - Many women are diagnosed for the first time with bipolar depression or mania during pregnancy or postpartum. There are two phases of a bipolar mood disorder: the lows and the highs. The low time is clinically called depression, and the high is called mania or hypomania. Bipolar mood disorder can appear as a severe depression; women need informed evaluation and follow-up on past and current mood changes and cycles to assess whether there is a bipolar dynamic. In Bipolar 2, the manic episode is less apparent; the highs and lows are not as extreme, and sometimes it is more apparent to friends and families than to the individual going through the phases. If you, a family member or a friend want to learn more about bipolar mood disorders during pregnancy or postpartum, don't hesitate in speaking with a health care professional. Connect with FOZA, we'll help you find resources in your area.
#FOZA4PPDAwareness – Many people often only associate Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with combat and wars and do not know about Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. PPTSD is often caused by a traumatic or frightening childbirth or past trauma, and symptoms may include flashbacks of the trauma with feelings of anxiety and the need to avoid things related to that event. The symptoms of PPTSD are real and the risk factors are genuine. Any woman who suspects she is having symptoms should speak with an expert. Connect with FOZA, we'll help you find resources in your area.
#FOZA4PPDAwareness - Another way PPD presents itself is diagnosed as Pregnancy or Postpartum (OCD). This is when women can have repetitive, upsetting and unwanted thoughts or mental images (obsessions), and sometimes they need to do certain things over and over (compulsions) to reduce the anxiety caused by those thoughts. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to share your concerns with a health professional, or connect FOZA, we'll help you find resources.
#FOZA4PPDAwareness - PPA also known as Anxiety During Pregnancy, can accompany PPD in may ways. A woman with PPA may experience extreme worries and fears, often over the health and safety of the baby. Some women have panic attacks and might feel shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, a feeling of losing control, and numbness and tingling. It can make you feel isolated and all alone. Learn more about PPA, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options. Your healthcare professional can give you more answers.
Connect with FOZA, we'll help you find resources in your area.
#FOZA4PPDAwareness - Depression During Pregnancy & Postpartum can be on the list of PPD symptoms. A woman with PPD might experience feelings of anger, sadness, irritability, guilt, lack of interest in the baby, changes in eating and sleeping habits, trouble concentrating, thoughts of hopelessness and sometimes even thoughts of harming the baby or herself. Learn more about PPD, including risk factors, symptoms and treatment options. Check with a health care professional or contact FOZA, we'll help you find resources.