There are 3 types of post-partum;
a) Post-partum anxiety, which is a heightened experience of anxiousness that is onset after the birth of a baby. Symptoms of anxiety often include, racing thoughts, sweating, rapid talking, headaches, dizziness, and an increased heart rate.
b) Post-partum depression, which is an increase in depressive symptoms such as crying, isolation, feeling helpless, alone and sad.
c) Post partum psychosis is a much more integrated form of post-partum and needs medical attention, as mothers often begin having delusional thoughts, rapid mood swings, increased irritability, mania, swings from mania to depression, all of which feel real and scary which can often lead mothers to acting in ways she would not normally act.
More women experience a form of post-partum that statistics typically show;
If you were to ask around to all of the women you know, and inquire about whether they had experienced post-partum after the birth of their child, many would say that they did. Most women are unable and or unwilling to announce their experience, ask for help or admit they are struggling because of the stigma that is placed on new mothers and post-partum.
Often times women are not asked how they are feeling, and if they do announce their struggles it is minimized as being “baby-blues” or maximized so people think that the mother or baby are not safe. So, in turn, there are thousands of women who do not report, are not asked, and are unaware of the symptoms they are experiences as being considered post-partum until typically 18-24 months after the birth of their child. Women are usually able to look back and say, “wow, I think I was really struggling.”
Most women feel like they don’t have a place to turn to;
Often times new mothers are unsure what is happening to them, and if they have the courage to ask for help and announce their feelings, knowing where to turn after this is difficult. Increasing the awareness and supportive community between mothers, providers, and people who work directly with new and planning families is imperative. Helping women by creating support groups, finding therapists and psychiatrists who are specialized in post partum are a must. If you know a woman or are a woman who is/has experienced post-partum, don’t be afraid to reach out, find a safe person, ask them to ask, and spread the word about the need, and more will be created.
Post-partum is treatable;
The majority of mothers who experience post-partum go through it for typically between 2 and 18 months. Depending on the time of intervention, and increased support, women can feel a sense of relief if they have a safe place to turn to and can work through her emotional struggle. With support and awareness women can work through post partum fairly smoothly. There are treatment program that are specific to a 12 week model while others can be focused on the individual mother and can last up to 24 months depending on the needs of each person. However, nearly all mothers who experience post-partum have a “light at the end of the tunnel” and can feel relief when it is pas them.
Post-partum does not mean you will always struggle with depression and anxiety;
Post-partum is typically a combination of environmental factors and chemical imbalances after the shift of hormones in the body. In turn when the chemicals reorganize and find their old or new homes, and the environment the new mother is in has calmed, found normalcy, and is adjusted to the major life shift, she can typically experience a sense of release. Most mothers who experience post partum will highly benefit from the support of professionals and will find her recovery period is shortened after seeking support.
Infant attachment can have lifelong effects on children if not corrected or mitigated;
Many adults who struggle with attachment, feeling internally secure, and or experience difficulties with relationships can often look back and determine that their mother had post-partum. When mothers are unable to attach to their infants in the first 18 months, the likelihood of being able to attach to their children after this (to the degree needed for improvement in those first 18 months) is very low.
When children are not securely attached to a caregiver, they will more than likely not securely attach to anyone as they develop and grow. They may be fine academically, developmentally and intellectually, however emotionally they will have a difficult time adjusting, building trusting relationships, feeling connected and secure, and creating a safe internal sense of security and trust. If you know any women who experienced post-partum that was untreated and her child is older and acting out in attention seeking manners, inquire if she/you experienced post-partum.
And know, it is not too late to rebuild that trust, it just takes a little extra work and focus but can be mitigated, and the earlier the better, so not to create many unwanted behaviors and coping skills in the interim.
All in all post partum is difficult, can be scary, and can feel extremely isolating as a new mother. If you are or know a mother who is experiencing any form of post partum let you know there are resources an support available to her.
What is NEXT FOR ME?
Monthly support groups, walk-therapy, mother-infant attachment work, individual counseling, couples therapy, family therapy, parental coaching, and parenting classes are all forms of support that may help a mother in her transition and may allow a form of release that can change the lives of families