One of the most common complexities of pregnancy is not getting enough mental support. In America, 1 among 5 new moms suffer from anxiety disorders and perinatal mood swings and despite the increased awareness of mental health disorders among women and their kids, mothers are not seen to get the amount of support that they need. According to a survey done by an online clinic for women, Maven, it was revealed that majority of the moms who have recently delivered their babies are not receiving the mental support during and post pregnancy. The foremost step to bringing about a change in this problem is recognizing the issue.
Is it just depression that the new moms are suffering from?
The CEO and founder of Maven, Kate Ryder has reportedly said that the key issue among the mental health of new moms revolve around postpartum depression. However there are several other issues that a new mom might face. You can’t ignore one of the biggest issues, perinatal anxiety. Among the 800 moms that were surveyed by Maven, just 25% are living with only depression and on the other hand, another 58% thought that they had both anxiety and depression. Through this survey, this digital platform had an objective of throwing light on the topic where they illustrated that there are several women these days, who are suffering from and living with maternal mental health challenges, mostly in silence, without being diagnosed and without receiving any form of support.
New moms and OB-GYNs – There is a disconnection created
As per the Maternal and Child Health Journal, their researchers took into control 215 women who had delivered their babies within the last 3 years and asked them whether or not they went through any mental health disorder symptoms or postpartum mood disorder. If they did, they were asked to share the symptoms with their health care provider or their doctor.
Among the new moms surveyed, 52% of those who were surveyed experienced mood disorders but 22% of them couldn’t share that with their doctors and health care providers. Hence, it was proved that there are several women who could reap benefits through treatments but they were not receiving any kind of support only due to the fact that they didn’t share their problems with anyone. They preferred to silently deal with their challenges alone.
The research also revealed that the women who were screened under this aforementioned survey were not at all forthcoming regarding their mental health. 55% of the new moms said that they never received a chance to share their issues during the prenatal and postnatal care. Among the few who shared their issues with their OB-GYN said that they didn’t receive any proper treatment to cure their mental disorders. Hence there was a gap, a disconnection created between the moms and their doctors. The OB-GYNs often didn’t know who to refer their patients too when they were suffering from such issues.
Are there any obstacles to receiving therapy?
There are instances when the OB-GYNs knew where to refer their patients but the results and outcomes haven’t been that great. Among the 34% moms who started sharing their mental health challenges with their health care provider who referred them to a counselor, 44% never followed up with the same therapist. Time and cost were the biggest obstacles to the new moms who were planning to seek help of conventional therapy. With the help of telehealth services, more women could seek help of professional advice due to the low costs involved. Moreover, leaving the house and visiting the clinic of a therapist is often a big issue for the new moms.
Thanks to technology that all such barriers and obstacles to receiving mental health support are being broken. However, for the women who are still not aware about the fact that they could benefit from therapy, more needs to be done. We need to destigmatize speaking about mental health and we have to make it okay for new moms to share their issues and receive better care.
Experts also believe that the current healthcare system also needs to treat mental health and physical health with equal importance. If this balance could be brought back, this would lead to more effective treatment which could assist us in moving ahead with mental health issues and get them treated before they turned worse.
Valid reasons why the mental health of moms matter
Regardless of a person’s age, her mental health is always vital and unique. Just as you need to take care of the mental health of a senior who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s and is seeking help of dementia caring Australia professionals or home care in Smithfield, similarly you also can’t ignore the mental health challenges of a new mom. Maternal mental health is of utmost importance and if you want to know the few reasons which make it a priority, read on:
Reason #1: This is more common than what you know
Mental health disorders are probably the most common complexities of the perinatal stage. You may not be aware of the fact that around 1 among 5 women or 25% women live with some sort of anxiety or mood disorder during their post-pregnancy stage. In the US along, there are 800,000 women who go through mental health complexities. So, it is way more common than what you may feel.
Reason #2: Mental health of new moms is unique
During the perinatal phase, there are havoc changes in hormones within a woman’s body and hence their bodies change too fast. We’re pretty aware of the fact that the brains of pregnant women shrink during the time they remain pregnant and their hearing and smelling senses are heightened. If you consider all these biological changes and combine the social expectations of people around them and their own thoughts of how they should react and feel, you only get a whole new set of mental health issues.
Reason #3: No proper treatment will lead to sickness among moms
If the mental illnesses among moms are left untreated and undiagnosed, this will soon become chronic. This clearly means that even after the kids grow up to become adults, moms will still continue to struggle with anxiety, depression, insomnia, obsessive compulsive disorders, rage, guilt feelings and unknown sadness. Not treating maternal illnesses will keep moms sick and this will have an impact on communities and families in the long run.
Reason #4: Moms have all right to stay healthy
Moms sacrifice a lot in order to raise their children and there’s nothing that a child can do to balance the amount of sacrifice that a mom does. As long as health is concerned, moms usually ignore their own body’s needs and put them at the bottom of the list. Even if they’ve been suffering from poor physical and mental health for several years, they will never visit a doctor. This leads to a huge inequity which can be made worse by factors like education, income, race, employment and several other environmental and social factors.
Reason #5: Mom’s good health can lead to healthy kids
Policymakers and researchers are giving more and more focus on the vitality and necessity of early development of brain. Neuroscience reveals that there should be a loving and healthy relationship between the caregivers and the infants during the early stage. In case the moms are not healthy due to lack of support, they won’t be present with their babies. Hence it can be easily said that healthy moms are only able to raise healthy kids.
Reason #6: Poor mental health often leads to suicide
Although this might not be a comfortable topic to speak about, suicide is most often the foremost reason behind the death of women at their childbearing age. Every year, there are heartbreaking stories of moms losing their lives not being able to cope up with their mental issues. Don’t you think moms have the right to take resort to proper treatment?
Parenting with mental health issues – How does it affect you?
There are many moms who are constantly worried about how tough it can get to balance her parenting skills when she herself suffers from mental health issues. It is pretty natural to be worried about the impact of your mental health on your kids. However, with the proper support from the right resources, it is totally possible to become a responsible parent while tackling your own mental health problem. While parenting is never an easy task, everyone face challenges but when you’re suffering from a mental health issue, you’ll face additional issues. Here are few issues to take into account:
- Handling the everyday challenges of motherhood
When you are suffering from a mental disorder, the day-to-day challenges of parenting also become tougher. For instance, normal anxiety can make you doubly worried and if you have depression, this will lead to low energy.
- Your mental health impacts your kids
When you’re mentally stressed, this will also have an impact on the mental health of your kids. If you go through stress, you will remain tired and you may get irritated with your kids for no big reason. If you rebuke them for no reason, this can cause mental damage to them as well.
- You have to deal with other’s negative ideas on mental issues
Both you and your kid might even face difficulties due to the assumptions of other people and their judgements regarding mental health. There are lots who will judge your parenting capabilities just because you’re suffering from a mental health disorder. Your kids might even be teased or bullied in schools for having parents with mental health disorders.
Where there is a will, there is a way!
- Ask your kids for some extra help
If you wish to find a way out, you can. Ask your child to take few responsibilities in the home so that he can help you while preparing food or getting the siblings ready for school. This can also have an effect on the school work and on the free time that the children have.
- Handle a crisis
You may come across times when you’re not feeling well and when you won’t be able to perform your parenting duties or you may have to reach out to a hospital. This can often lead to stress and worry among the family members.
- Don’t hesitate to seek help
You might find it tough to get help of a professional as you’ll be worried that people will judge you as an incapable parent. This will make you exert unnecessary pressure on yourself so that you’re able to cope for longer time than what you’re actually able to.
Are your feelings normal?
Feelings of compulsion, depression and anxiety never mean that you’re an incapable mom, they even don’t mean that you don’t love your baby. There are too many expecting moms who imagine motherhood to be uplifting and fulfilling. However, once the baby is born, they might feel just the opposite. Mothers may go through OCD, anxiety, depression and even PTSD.
She might go through PTSD due to either some real or perceived trauma during her delivery. Moms can feel like this due to lack of support and powerlessness during delivery or a sudden decision to go for a C-section or a newborn being shifted to intensive care unit for some illness. So such may be the reasons behind moms feeling mentally ill even after experiencing the most fulfilling feeling of giving birth to her own baby.
There are no two ways when we say that moms have the right to remain healthy. Even if she is going through a mental disorder, you should make sure that you get her treated by some therapist so that she can control her feelings and concentrate on her parenting skills. It is only a healthy mother who can raise a healthy child.