May is Mental Health Awareness Month. It’s also Mother’s Day. We wanted to put a spotlight on the importance of mental health for moms and moms-to-be.
Moms have a tendency to wear their stress, busyness, and lack of sleep as a badge of honor. If they don’t take care of everything and everyone, who will? The question is…are moms just busy, or is it something more?
How Common Are Anxiety and Depression During and After Pregnancy?
Researchers believe that depression is one of the most common problems women experience during and after pregnancy. According to a national survey, about 1 in 8 women experiences postpartum depression after having a baby.
Anxiety during and after pregnancy is as common as depression and may happen at the same time as depression. You may feel like you’re the only person in the world who feels depressed and anxious during pregnancy or after your baby is born, but know that you are not alone.
Signs of Depression and Anxiety in New or Expecting Moms
Women with depression or anxiety around pregnancy often feel:
- Extremely sad or angry without warning
- Foggy or experience trouble completing tasks
- “Robotic,” like they are just going through the motions
- Very anxious around the baby and their other children
- Guilty and like they are failing at motherhood
- Unusually irritable or angry
They also often have:
- Little interest in things they used to enjoy
- Scary, upsetting thoughts that don’t go away
What Causes Depression and Anxiety in Moms?
First, it’s important to know that if you experience depression and anxiety during pregnancy or after birth it is not caused by something you did or didn’t do. Depression and anxiety that happen during pregnancy or anytime during the first year after the birth of your baby are medical conditions. These feelings are not something you caused by doing or not doing something. And, they can be treated if you seek help.
Although there aren’t definitive causes of these conditions, researchers think depression and anxiety during this time may result from a mix of physical, emotional, and environmental factors. These might include:
- A history of depression or anxiety, either during pregnancy or at other times
- Family history of depression or anxiety
- A difficult pregnancy or birth experience
- Giving birth to multiples
- New or existing problems in your relationship
- Financial struggles or worries
- Lack of physical or emotional support from friends or family members
- Unplanned pregnancy
Treatment for Anxiety and Depression for Moms
Because they are medical conditions, it’s important to know that depression and anxiety will not go away on their own. But with treatment, there is hope. Treatment for pregnancy or postpartum depression and anxiety can include therapy or medication. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, reach out to our team and we can help connect you with a therapist who specializes in maternal mental health.
In addition to treatment, make time to:
- Talk about how you are feeling
- Make time for yourself
- Fuel our bod with healthy foods and stay hydrated
- Connect with other moms who can relate to what you are going through
- Give yourself grace
- Practice gratitude
- Ask for help (and accept it when offered)
If you are ready to get help, let’s do this, together. Don’t hesitate to reach out: