New moms experience many new emotions after the birth of their baby, and some of those feelings may surprise you, such as anxiety. Postpartum anxiety is a common condition that is often overlooked because of the belief that new mothers are just naturally anxious. So, what are the symptoms and how does it differ from other postpartum mood disorders? And how can this condition impact a mother’s ability to care for her child if gone untreated?
Postpartum Mental Health: Postpartum Anxiety
Episode 13, Dec 17th, 2015
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
Beth WARREN: Postpartum stress can manifest itself in many ways in a new mom. You may already know about postpartum depression or the baby blues. But did you also know that you could experience postpartum anxiety? I’m Beth Warren, licensed clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist with the Postpartum Health Alliance and you’re listening to Newbies.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome to Newbies broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. Newbies is your online, on-the-go Support group, guiding new mothers through their baby's first year. I'm your host, Kristen Stratton. I'm also a certified birth doula, postpartum doula and owner of In Due Season Doula Services. If you haven't already, please be sure to visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
You can also subscribe to our show through iTunes so you will automatically get new episodes when they are released. And we just released our Newbies app available on iOs, android and Google play so you can listen to all your favorite Newbies episodes on the go. Sunny’s here to tell us about other ways you can participate in our new show.
SUNNY GAULT: Hi everybody, Yes, Newbies is still new. We have a handful of episodes out there and we are planning a bunch of new episodes for 2016 and we’d love to have your input on what type of episodes, what topics you want to learn more about. There’s a couple ways you can get in touch with us. Probably the best way is through our website. So go to www.newmommymedia.com and click on the contact link and just send us whatever stories you guys have.
And through our website too you can reach out to us. We have some great segments that we’d love our listeners to participate in. There’s a new one. You know we did love to hear some birth stories so we’ve come up with a segment called 5-minute birth stories. You can call in through our voicemail which I’ll tell you about in just a second or you could send us an email. And in about 5 minutes, tell us about your birth story. It’s always better if the moms actually did this themselves. Otherwise Kristen or I are going to have to read it and we won’t do nearly as good of a job as you guys would do. So share your birth stories in 5 minutes or less. We’ll put it on the show and then everyone could learn about your birth experience that you had with your baby.
And there’s another one called Baby Oops where we let you share the funny stories that we have as mothers and as fathers as well just caring for our babies, some of the silly things we do in parenthood. So if you have a funny baby oops you want to share with us, again go to the website and to the contact link, you could submit.
And now I’ll tell you guys about the voicemail. So no one’s going to pick up the phone. So if you’re a private person, like “oh I don’t want to talk to anyone”, you could call our voicemail. That number is 619-866-4775. Tell us your story and a message and we’ll put it in a future episode. So those are a couple different ways you can get involved with Newbies.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Just a few.
SUNNY GAULT: Just a few. There are actually tons more but we don’t have enough time.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Let’s introduce our lovely panelists.
ROSIE PETERSON: Thanks Kristen. My name is Rosie Peterson. I am 58 and I am a birth doula. I have 3 children and 2 grandchildren.
HOLLY HERRING: I’m Holly Herring. I’m 42 years old. I have 2 boys aged 16 and 17. And I manage a non-profit in North County, San Diego.
BETH WARREN: Hi. My name is Beth Warren. I’m a psychotherapist in San Diego California and I specialize in reproductive psychiatry. I see all mamas. And I focus on postpartum mood disorders, infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption and surrogacy. Thanks for having me.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So today before we get started, we are going to do an app review. This one is called I Postpartum and its intention is to give mommies kind of a tip for the day. We also have various categories where moms can go in and do some self checks and keep track of stuff about baby. So there are a few categories and then thereare sub categories. We have My Recovery and My Baby. And we also have a tip for the day that just basically says things like: know that everyday get easier and easier. Whatever may be worrying you today. Just keep telling yourself that.
And then we also have My Recovery which has sub topics: postpartum topics, Kegel exercise timer. So if you want to do some Kegels and you just want to keep track of how often you’re doing them and for how long, you can use that.
There's also a weight tracker. If you are curious to know how your return to your pre-baby body is going--although I think that puts a little bit of pressure. It's just not something that I was particularly concerned about, nor did I really wanted to know about. The first few months especially.
HOLLY HERRING: Talk about anxiety.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes and pressure right?
KRISTEN STRATTON: There is a post-natal depression test which asks you a series of questions. This is also the same series of questions that I remember getting when I would go to the well baby checks at the pediatrician's office. They would give us this questionnaire and based on your score they tally that. And if your score is more than 10, then you might want to talk to your care provider about whether or not you have a postpartum mood disorder. Although this one specifically seems to address postpartum depression which if you have been listening to our series, you know that there is more than just postpartum depression. So I think that that might be a little exclusionary of the other postpartum mood disorders.
Then there is also a section for My Baby. So you can keep track of all the cute things that your baby's doing, how big they're getting, how well you're doing with your breastfeeding because that baby is growing and growing. And you can also keep track of when their teeth come in. So that's kind of exciting.
So yes, I mean you can check it out. It's free. Who doesn't love free? But just also keep in mind that if you are doing those post-natal depression tests on the app that there's more than just being depressed so listen to all of our series. And you'll learn all about them.
SUNNY GAULT: You know what I like about this though is a) it seemsto be a pretty simple app to use. I like simple apps. And I wonder though if they have like notifications that kind of pop up. Because my concern would be, is that we are so busy as new moms. We are doing a million different things. So I probably wouldn’t remember to go into this app. So I'm wondering if they have some sort of notifications that would pop up and say hey! Tip of the day and you click on it.
KRISTEN STRATTON: You know what, that's a really good question because sometimes when you download new apps, it’ll ask if you like badges or notifications and it didn't ask me that.
SUNNY GAULT: It did not ask you so maybe it doesn't.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So now, I'm curious.
SUNNY GAULT: We should contact the developers and say “Hey, we think this would be a great app if you did this”.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Absolutely! And also expand your post partum anxiety, other mood disorders.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes. For iPostpartum, we'll make sure to put a link up on our website so make sure to check out www.newmommymedia.com.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Today on Newbies, we are continuing our series on Postpartum stress by discussing postpartum anxiety. Our expert Beth Warren is a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist specializing in maternal mental health and is part of the Postpartum Health Alliance. Thank you for joining us Beth and welcome to the show.
BETH WARREN: Thanks so much for having me.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Beth, what is postpartum anxiety and how is this different from other postpartum mood disorders?
BETH WARREN: Postpartum anxiety is exactly what it sounds like. It is anxiety symptoms that usually originate either during the pregnancy period or after you have delivered your baby. It is different than other postpartum mood disorders in that it doesn't present with depression symptoms for example and is much different than the baby blues which is those first few weeks after delivery when you have your very standard tearfulness, lethargy, sleep deprivation and just adjusting to being a new mama. This is very different.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And what are some of the common symptoms and severities of postpartum anxiety?
BETH WARREN: So some of the common symptoms of postpartum anxiety are a feeling of fear. For some moms that can be racing thoughts. For some moms that can be very intrusive imagery. For example, a lot of moms will be able to picture as her holding the baby, dropping the baby, actually harming their baby. It can be a very common thing to picture as they see a knife in the kitchen, actually harming the baby with the knife. It's a very, very difficult thing for moms to talk about. Which then is why postpartum anxiety can be so isolating?
Not every mom has the intrusive imagery. Some moms it is more of the racing thoughts, worrying. What if my baby cries and I won’t be able to soothe my baby? Every mom has that but the difference with postpartum anxiety is the intensity is so overwhelming, it can be paralyzing.
Sometimes avoidance comes with it. I can't handle going out to Ralph’s with my baby or to any other grocery store because what if my baby cries? What if I get sick? What if my baby gets sick? And so then this avoidance happens where moms just stay in as a result and not go out with their friends. What if someone judges me? It becomes such a shift in who they are.
Moms will describe, I used to be such a people person and now I can’t stand the thought of being with anyone else. So you tend to see a lot of shift of behaviors with postpartum anxiety.
Another common thing is a lot of distorted thought processes, a lot of self-blame. I'm such a loser, I'm such a bad mother. A lot of feelings of guilt for example. I think every new mom goes through guilt but again we're talking about intensity. We are talking about just these distorted beliefs of such heightened anxiety andsuch heightened fears.
“I can't do it”. You'll hear that a lot. “I can't do it, I can't handle this”.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And how soon after birth can a mother exhibit some of these symptoms?
BETH WARREN: Great question. Because sometimes it is not even after birth. We’re actually seeing it’s pretty common for women to start exhibiting these symptoms even during pregnancy, and or start developing these symptoms afterwards.
If you’re a mom and you’re currently pregnant and starting to notice a change, hey I never was an anxious person before and now I'm starting to be more anxious, or maybe you did have a pre existing anxiety and it's starting to really retch it up in intensity, this is different. This is good to talk to someone about. We will get to that later in the podcast.
Also it's really common for moms to develop any sort of postpartum mood disorder but particularly postpartum anxiety any time after about after the first two weeks of delivery up to the first year. So it's helpful to remember, if you are for example six months out and there's a change in your mood, that is different. That is a postpartum mood disorder.
So for example let's say you start to wean breastfeeding which is one of the times we see an onset of a postpartum mood disorder and you're starting to feel more anxious. A lot of moms will say "what is wrong with me?” and they’ll start to internalize it, I'm crazy. It is helpful to think, "No, this is postpartum anxiety".
Same thing, sometimes moms when they go on their first birth control pill after pregnancy or when they get their first period, it's just helpful to recognize any time during that first year you can actually have these symptoms start. Typically, we see it within the first month but it can happen anytime.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And are some women at greater risk for an anxiety disorder?
BETH WARREN: Absolutely! Two things; One is having a genetic predisposition. Genetic predisposition means either you have a family history of a mood disorder. Meaning maybe your mom had anxiety or depression. Maybe you had a grandmother with a bipolar disorder. So having a family history predisposes you and or having a personal history.
So maybe you are someone that had depression previously. It actually can mean that you are now at higher risk for either postpartum depression and or anxiety or any of the other mood disorders, even obsessive-compulsive. So it's helpful to know about the genetic predisposition as well as the environmental.
The other things that put women at a higher risk are a variety of combination of genetic and environmental. Being an older mama for example puts one at a higher risk. Having a history of infertility or pregnancy loss, having stressful pregnancy. So for example, moms with complicated pregnancies, moms who are on bed rest for example. Any mom who has had a very stressful life circumstance during her pregnancy. Stressful birth experiences, birth trauma for example.
And it doesn't even have to be fully classified as birth trauma. As we know every woman's story is so unique and a lot of women who have a delivery experience that was not expected or is at feeling out of control. Even unexpected C-sections for example, if a woman so desperately wanted maybe a non-medicated hypno birth, that can and in itself could put you at a higher risk.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And panelists, what have your experiences been with postpartum anxiety?
HOLLY HERRING: I had very severe postpartum anxiety and OCD when I had my son 17 years ago. I had the intrusive thoughts that Beth was talking about. I saw a truck go by and I saw myself pushing the stroller in front of the truck. I would walk by a window and would see myself throwing my son out the window. And it was all very disturbing to me. I thought, what kind of person must I be ifI can imagine myself doing such a horrible thing?
So it really did make me a shut-in and it really did isolate me because I wouldn’t talk to anybody. I certainly did not want to tell to a doctor about these thoughts because I was afraid they were going to come and take my baby away, and lock me up. I did end up talking to my doctor and she referred me immediately to a psychiatrist. And I was surprised, pleasantly so that nobody took my baby away and they told me these are actually really common symptoms. And I got a lot of help for it and it made the rest of my postpartum period much more enjoyable just getting the help that I needed.
ROSIE PETERSON: Well I myself didn't experience postpartum depression or anxiety. It's just I had the blues. I remember the tears. You know the more common moments of sheer joy and tears at the same time, which was really confusing as a new mommy. So some of those other normal things, you know.
What brings me here today is my concern that postpartum anxiety isn't being acknowledged and recognized. I just saw a wonderful documentary.I hope that everybody will be able to see the Dark Side of the Full Moon and hope to bring it to San Diego.
I think what was shared a lot and a lot of people there had this experience in this room was that the OBGYN isn't trained at all in this so they refer mom to a counselor and then the counselor says you have to go see your OBGYN because they're not specialists like Beth. And so they're just getting sent back and forth and they just don’t end up getting any care at all. And I think it's just a crime and it's just really concerning me.
I attend to births and I know that like Beth said there are some women who have really beautiful births—they're all beautiful. I think all births are beautiful and just perfect and you know there is no wrong way to have a baby. But sometimes our society is putting these just like huge expectations on women to perform or whatever, do things a certain way, whether it's all this mom only wanted an epidural and then her baby came she had a natural birth. Or vice versa. She wanted natural and she had to have an epidural. And that could trigger the start of a rough recovery, and a cesarean birth is definitely a rough recovery. It's a major surgery.
And so you know the cesarean rate is much higher now so the rate of PPD or postpartum anxiety is higher and I just don’t think that the general public is aware. And I just am here today to hopefully learn from our panelists. And as I am trying to learn from our moms, when I go to postpartum meeting with a new mom, I want to be helping her to be aware of the signs, helping her partner especially. To be aware of what signs he can notice because sometimes the woman does not even notice that she's in that place.
So I'm just trying to become more aware for my clients and make the general public more aware of this issue.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Yes, you are right. And what you said Holly, really spoke to me about that thought in your head that someone might take the child away if I tell them that I feel this way. And I also had postpartum anxiety and I remember thinking the same thing. If I tell someone that I'm just so on edge, I'm just feeling so angry, I'm just feeling so short tempered. If I say anything, they are going to think that I’m incapable of caring for my child.
And I also remember being in a set of unique circumstances where my husband who’s in the military was deployed. I just remember thinking; you got to suck it up. Just suck it up, put on your big girl pants. You are just being—I just felt like I was being weak, which now I know is not the case. It was just a set of circumstances that just compounded my postpartum anxiety symptoms.
But I think that’s just important for moms to know that asking for help, sometimes gets you help; doesn’t necessarily bring consequences.
HOLLY HERRING: You do not have to suffer and you do not have to do it alone.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Right! Exactly. Beth, what are some of the common stress factors, which may make identifying these as mood disorders difficult?
BETH WARREN: That is such an important question because of exactly what Kristen and Holly—you guys just both so bravely shared about your experiences, I see this constantly in my practice. As you recognized, when moms are having either intrusive imagery and or these anxious thoughts, it can be really normal when you’re so isolated to get so insulated in your experience to think I’m a) the only mom experiencing this and b) if I tell anyone about this, because I’m the only mom that’s experiencing this, someone will think I’m a bad mother and take my children away.
So there’s that partly women will be reluctant to get help because they will think this is pathological. This is so evil that someone will think that I’m capable of doing these things and actually take my children away.
I want to reassure women who are listening right now that that is absolutely not the case. We practitioners know that these thoughts and this imagery is what is called ego dystonic, which is just a fancy way of saying that you are incapable of acting on these thoughts. Ego dystonic meaning that it is distressing to you; this is not a part of your nature. These thoughts are distressing to you; you are incapable of acting on these thoughts. In fact these thoughts cause you more distress. And usually the accompanying behavior is avoidance. The accompanying behavior is I do not trust myself around these nights or around my stroller in Holly’s case.
So it’s really important to think about all of these women who are then not getting help because they are thinking, I can’t tell my doctor. My doctor would take my baby away. Or I can’t even tell my husband. My husband would think I’m crazy if I’m telling him that this baby that I worked so hard for is—I’m actually seeing these images of me harming our baby.
So there’s part of that shame and stigma that is really associated with postpartum anxiety that I don’t think is really associated with postpartum depression as much. Plus we talked about postpartum depression so often now, thank God. It’s actually in the media much more, it’s kind of in the general population. Thank goodness, there has been such great progress but not postpartum anxiety.
So when women struggle with these thoughts, they don’t often get help. So that’s part of it. The other is, and I really think it’s important to put this out there is a perfect motherhood myth. There is this thought that as soon as you become a mom it is just all easy going and roses. And when it is not, there is something wrong with me.
And when we are going through anxiety, it is really normal to see other moms who appear to have their act together and then internalize that contradiction. Internalize that comparison. And so imagine a mom who’s going through anxiety or having these freezing thought or these images of harming her baby, and then she sees all of her friends looking so cute in their yoga pants going to their work out.
Mommy and me yoga, talking about how amazing their birth experience has been and don’t you just love being a mother. And she’s like, oh my God no. I’m worried I’m going to throw my baby out the window. And I can’t say that to my fellow mamas who are going out to Mommy and me yoga looking so cute.
So that’s the other thing is as moms it’s so important to share your experiences with each other or even just find that one, “safe mom” to be able to say how you’re really doing so that you can get that support. That’s why support groups can be so helpful. We’ll talk about that a bit later.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And what is the prevalence of postpartum anxiety specifically among the postpartum mood disorders?
BETH WARREN: What is so interesting and why I’m so glad Rosie brought that up is there is actually not only anecdotically I see this in my practice but also we’re seeing it in the research. Postpartum anxiety is actually—there is actually a higher incidence of postpartum anxiety among postpartum mood disorders than there is postpartum depression. But it’s fascinating that more women are affected by postpartum anxiety than postpartum depression, and yet it’s not really recognized yet in therapeutic circles. Meaning postpartum anxiety is not even yet in the DSM 5, which is our diagnostic manual.
So it’s pretty ludicrous to me that we’re seeing it in the research, we’re seeing it in studies as higher prevalence and yet the only thing that’s actually been recognized is peripartum depression which means depression that can hit any period during pregnancy or postpartum.
So when you think about that, that is a big disconnect there. So if women themselves are already struggling getting help and Rosie like you’ve recognized not all practitioners know how to treat it, that’s two big barriers.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And how is this impacting parenting?
BETH WARREN: Huge impact on parenting. So similar to postpartum depression of course, there is going to be an impact on your attachment with the baby. Same thing with postpartum anxiety. So a lot of moms will say to me who have had postpartum anxiety, “but I was bonding well with the baby so I didn’t think something was wrong”. So if they are thinking this miss-no-more of postpartum depression equals “I’m not bonding with the baby. I’m just laying around in bed, depressed all day”. If it’s not that, then what is it?
Oh I just must be a tired new mama. I must be stressed. So chalking it up to something different and minimizing it when actually it’s a true diagnosis. This is a true issue. It can manifest with a lack of attachment because like we’ve talked about.Avoidance is a big thing.
A lot of moms with postpartum anxiety will rely on caregivers quite frequently. So again if we use the example of a mom who has intrusive imagery, who believes herself capable of harming her baby and she’s lucky enough to have this great resource of a nanny, or a mom who’s staying with her temporarily, you better believe that she is handing the baby off to this other caregiver for as much as possible. She does not trust herself. I see it so frequently in my practice.
I don’t trust myself around my baby so I might as well just let someone else. They are doing a much better job at it. Telling yourself these distorted lies. So it can affect attachment and bonding within those first several months during that real critical period where a mom is trying to gain her own trust with herself and gain her own, would you say courage I guess as a mother.
But also unfortunately what it does is it reinforces that distorted belief. “See, I can’t do it. Look my mom does such a better job, soothing that baby. See I can’t do it”. That kind of thing. Anxious mamas can really produce anxious kiddos so if this goes untreated, we can see that the kids will become quite anxious. And it makes sense right? It’s a learned behavior. The world is unsafe. If this becomes this message that that kid is frequently getting it becomes this reinforced kind of world scheme message.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And panelists, what are some of the parenting challenges you have experienced with postpartum anxiety?
HOLLY HERRING: I know that I was not as close to my son in the beginning. Fortunately though I’ve seen—he’s 17 years old now, and we’re closer than ever. So while I was very distant when he was an infant and I was kind of afraid of parenting and afraid of what I would do to him, I really thought for sure that we weren’t going to be close. But we’re close as can be. It all worked out. So it was kind of a temporary problem.
KRISTEN STRATTON: I think that is really important that our listeners know that it does not have to be the deal and all deciding factor for your long term relationship with your child. So I’m really glad you shared that. Thank you.
BETH WARREN: Yes, a hundred percent.
HOLLY HERRING: He volunteers with me now with postpartum women. He fills out envelopes, addressesenvelopes and things. He is very involved, he knows the story of how our relationship began, and he does not hold it against me or anything. Just wonderful.
KRISTEN STRATTON: When we come back we will continue our discussion on postpartum mood disorders by discussing ways women can get help to overcome their anxiety. We will be right back.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome back to the show. We are talking with Beth Warren about postpartum anxiety. Beth, how can a woman learn that she has an anxiety issue during postpartum time?
BETH WARREN: So let's be real. Every new mom goes through stress. Every new mom worries. So I think it's helpful to differentiate the difference and it's a matter of duration, intensity and frequency. What that really means is postpartum anxiety is different than just being a normal new mama stress or having normal new mama stress if it lasts for a long time.
If you notice that the intensity of your worrying is more than you've ever noticed before, if the frequency of your racing thoughts and your worrying, or the intrusive imagery is more frequent than normal.
For example, I will give you the example. It's raining, we're driving on the highway and a car cuts us off. We can always picture the worst-case scenario right? We can picture the car crash happening. But then we get distracted by driving. We move on. We are like, “oh my God that was close, okay”, and then we are better.
What happens with anxiety though is that sticks and itbecomes like a broken record. The racing heart, the shortness of breath, the imagery in the head of“Oh my God I could die. Oh my God I could die”and then that is all you are picturing for the rest of the trip. So that’s the difference.
And that's the difference too with postpartum anxiety. Every new mom worries. Every new mom is stressed about keeping her little one alive in this entire project of motherhood. But if it's so intense that you're noticing this is different than I’m noticing with other mom friends. This is so different from what I have ever felt before. That is when you know you are more circling that orbit of postpartum anxiety.
KRISTEN STRATTON: What are the some of the ways her partner or family members could be of more help to her?
BETH WARREN: I love that you asked this question because thisis really the million dollar question. Couple of things. I think it’s so important for everyone to be educated. The woman herself is already feeling like, I want to get myself back. This is not me. I feel crazy, you know, saying these mean things to herself.
But also, let’s be honest. Family members are probably looking to you saying, “When am I going to get my wife back? When am I going to get my daughter back?”, etc. So it’s a matter of education for the family to learn what this is. This is a true medical issue and it can be treated. It’s sometimes so helpful just to have that help and hope. Also to know how they can participate in the treatment.
For example, would it be helpful for the husband to join the wife in her therapy sessions or at least occasionally just to learn what’s this that my wife is going through? How can I help validate and normalize rather than maybe put this additional stress on that by saying, “I don’t get what you’re going through. It’s scary”.
The other thing is just to ask how can I help you. Sometimes, like we have talked about earlier with avoidance, sometimes people swooping in and taking over is the last thing the woman actually needs even if what she’s kind of like looking like she needs. Like we have talked about and reinforced this distorted belief of “I can’t handle it” and alright, grandma wants to be involved right, So she jumps in, she gets her needs met. The mom gets her needs met by getting so anxious that it helps.
But really, if they sat and had a dialogue about how can I help you with your anxiety, maybe they could figure out a structure of “I am anxious when I change diapers but that doesn’t mean I want you to do it for me. What if you stood next to me and just chatted with me and distracted me as I’m doing it so I don’t feel alone, so thatI don’t start getting in my head about it”, etc.
KRISTEN STRATTON: I also work as a postpartum doula and that’s one of the things we’re trained to, not swoop in and be the solution for all of mom’s problems but to say, “Hey, you know what? That baby looks really happy when you’re holding him. You’re doing such a great job when you do this”. You know just affirming so that mom builds some confidence in herself and she goes, “oh,I guess I am doing a good job at this” instead of just “oh, I can’t do this. Someone has to do it for me”.
BETH WARREN: Yes, absolutely! Same thing with a schedule. We always talk about a sleep schedule at night. Every couple’s going to be different with that. Some couples would be better if they split it in half and husband does the first half, wife does the second or you know, vice versa. Some are better if one has one night on; the other has the other night. Every couple is going to be different depending on their schedule and their sleep rhythm and circadian rhythm. And don’t just assume. In other words, communication is so crucial.
KRISTEN STRATTON: What steps would a woman take to get help if she is concerned she is struggling?
BETH WARREN: Great question. So I’ll give you an example about here in San Diego. They’re resources and hopefully no matter what city you’re in you can find something similar or the equivalent. Here in San Diego we have a great resource called the Postpartum Health Alliance which is a free, non-profit organization where you can go on their website, find a provider that specializes in postpartum mood disorders like a therapist, a psychiatrist, etc. there are support groups listed.
There is a screening tool called the Edinburgh Post Natal Depression scale. Even though it’s called the post natal depression, they also ask questions related to anxiety, feeling overwhelmed for example. And it’s kind of like a one stop shopping. You can go on this website. For those in the Southern California area, it’s www.postpartumhealthalliance.org. All one word.
For those of you in different cities, it’s really important to think about like Rosie was saying. Who are people in this field who do specialize? Unfortunately, some obstetricians and pediatricians are great in these areas, some are not. Some OBs for example, and pediatricians, are routinely screening mamas in their office for postpartum mood disorders, some are not.
And so if you find for example that you’regoing to your OB saying “I feel miserable. I don’t feel like myself. This isn’t me”. And they’re either minimizing or not even following up, then clearly that is not the person for you. And trying to think outside the box, if your pediatrician wasn’t helpful, go in to your OB. If your OB wasn’t helpful then asking your general practitioner. If your general practitioner is not helpful then you know what I also recommend? Asking your local hospital’s labor and delivery unit to see if there is a social worker there that specializes in maternal health. They often know a lot of good resources in the area as well. It’s just helpful to think outside the box.
Thank goodness with internet nowadays, you can usually Google postpartum support in your area to see if there is a support group. There are all sorts of good ways to figure out support for yourself during this time. But the bottom line is no matter what you do, just getting help, getting help in no matter what form that takes.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Thank you so much Beth and our wonderful panelists. For joining us today in our discussion about postpartum anxiety. And for our Newbies Club members, our conversation will continue after the end of the show as Beth will share some of her techniques for reducing stress in the home when you have a new baby. For more information about the Newbies club, please visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com .
SUNNY GAULT: Alright! Hey Newbies! We have a fun segment on the show called Baby Oops. And it’s where you guys submit your funny stories with your new babies and funny things that have happened. And I love this one. This comes from Sarah. And Sarah writes:
“I don’t remember how old my son was when this happened but he wasn’t very old. I would get up at night to feed him and instead ofrocking him in his room, I would take him downstairs and turn on the TV. I prop my feet up and usually we both fell back asleep in the living room.
One morning, I woke up and my arms were empty. The empty bottle was still on the table by the chair and I was positive I had not taken him back upstairs to bed and then gone back downstairs to the chair. I began to panic. Where was my baby? I took the blanket that I was covered up with and threw it aside and I went to stand up. I looked down on the floor and there he was, sound asleep on the floor at my feet.
At some point during the night, he slid or rolled off of my lap onto the floor. He actually looked like I’dactually placed him there. He was sound asleep on his back with his the receiving blanket all around him.”
Sarah, I bet your heart just kind of stopped in that moment. And I think we’ve allkind of experienced that, okay, where’s baby? Okay, baby is safe. So thanks so much for sharing that with us.
If you guys have a funny Baby Oops that you’d like to share with us, we would love to hear it. And the best way to submit for that is actually a new option that we have. That is through our website. So if you go to www.newmommymedia.com, you will see on the right side, there’sactually like a little gray box that says “send voicemail’. And if you click on that, in just a few, quick little steps, you can actually use the microphone that’s built in to your computer and leave us a quick message. And then we can take that and we could put it on a future show.
So pretty cool technology right? So go ahead and send us your Baby Oops and hopefully we’ll hear from you soon.
KRISTEN STRATTON: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies.
Don’t forget to check out our sister show:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with infants and toddlers
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
Thanks for listening to Newbies. Your go to source for new moms and new babies.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
SUNNY GAULT: How would you like to have your own show on the New Mommy Media Network? We are expanding our line-up and looking for great content. If you are a business, or organization interested in learning more about our co-branded podcast, visit our website at www.NewMommyMedia.com.
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