With #BellLetsTalk day last week, there was a lot of buzz over mental health. But, with that day, I saw many social media comments pointing out that Postpartum Depression (PPD), postpartum anxiety and postpartum psychosis were stunningly mostly left out of the conversation. While it is amazing the conversations and revelations that I have seen just from my friends’ list sharing their struggles with mental health, I would have to agree that the mental health surrounding pregnancy, postpartum as well as infant and pregnancy loss is not spoken about nearly enough.
In the office we are so lucky to serve a pre- and post-natal population. With this population, we make sure to check in with new mamas within the first two weeks of giving birth to help with the physical healing after birth, but also to check on our patients’ well-being, regardless if they are first time moms or seasoned pros. Although it is certainly not a bad thing, the first few weeks or months after giving birth is very infant focused- with infant checkups and people wanting to visit or make plans to meet the new baby. In this excitement of new baby and the usual jokes about not getting any sleep, so often people forget to seriously consider and ask about mom, and even new moms are very infant focused as well. So often in the day-to-day we ask people how they are doing with the expectation that the answer will “good” or “fine thanks”- the polite way to answer that question. With the new moms that answer this way, we take another second to ask again- no really, how are you? It is so important to us that moms know that we are there to talk if they need to unload- and often for moms they can have a good cry and go home feeling so much better that we checked on them and offered help. But sometimes there are moms that we just sense need something more- this is where we have contacts in the community for different services that can help them with self-care (such a buzz word lately but SO SO SO important), including family counsellors, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, reiki practitioners, nutrition support, or post-partum doula services.
When it comes to infertility and pregnancy loss, the current culture is to keep it quiet and couples often suffer in relative silence. This can have a huge effect on one’s mental health. Dr. Andrea Hilborn, one of the Naturopathic Doctors that practices in the clinic, has started a project where she films interviews with those suffering or those who have previously suffered from infertility or pregnancy loss to start the conversation and let people know that they are not alone. Check out her first video in a series of interviews with people sharing their stories on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/drandreahilbornND/.
The big take home message from today’s thoughts is that you do not have to suffer, especially not alone. There are plenty of resources to help in the postpartum period, and we’re looking at you too, Dad! Fathers are dealing with a multitude of changes in their routines, relationships and sleep as well. If you are feeling anxious, depressed, or more serious symptoms such as suicidal thoughts PLEASE know that we want you to reach out, we are here to listen as needed and find the proper resources to help.