Hello Mamas! My name is Mary. We, as parents, know that our picture of what our lives would be like, once we had a baby, was nothing like our reality once our baby/ies actually arrived! Becoming a parent can be the most joyful time in our lives. We often look at our baby with wonder and awe and ask ourselves how we were able to bring such a beautiful babe into this world. And, along with the joy, comes adjustment to the role of ‘Mom,’ adjustment to the ‘new’ relationship we have with our partner and to all the day to day changes in our lives. This adjustment to parenthood can be really challenging! And, for those of us who have more than one child, we know the adjustment and the challenges continue as our family grows!
Sometimes, in pregnancy or after the birth of our baby, we may not feel as excited or joyful as we thought we would. We may feel worried a lot, have racing thoughts, scared or sad. We may or may not understand why we are feeling this way and be at a loss as to what to do about it. We then feel guilty or ashamed for feeling these things when we were so excited for our baby to come and our family to grow! Many of these feelings are normal in adjustment to parenthood or to the birth of another child. Sometimes, though, these emotions may feel overwhelming and begin to worry us or make us feel a bit out of control.
In pregnancy and birth, our bodies, hearts and minds, go through an amazing transformation. Our hormones surge in pregnancy and then plummet after the birth. Sometimes this natural, uncontrollable process can create the perfect landscape for major fluctuations in our mood. We might feel anxious, depressed, panicky or have strange physical symptoms that we don’t understand. We may not talk about what we are feeling because we feel ashamed or guilty for feeling less than overjoyed about the arrival of our baby! We may isolate ourselves and feel like we are the only woman or Mom out there who feels like we do. Did you know that you aren’t alone? Did you know this is temporary and this will NOT last forever? Did you know that with help and proper treatment, you will get better?
Mood disorders affect more women in pregnancy and in the postpartum period than we think! 15% of women suffer from Postpartum Depression and 10% of women suffer with Postpartum Anxiety. The statistics are even higher for single Moms, Moms who are struggling financially and twice as high for teen Moms! I believe these statistics don’t truly represent the number of women who are actually struggling, because of the shame and social stigma around these not-talked-about illnesses.
I am a Mom of three kids and I experienced some of these things after the birth of my babes. I didn’t understand what was happening to me and didn’t know where to turn. Since that time, I’ve learned a lot about the arena of Perinatal Mental Health and am passionate about raising awareness in our community and educating women, families, mental health and medical professionals about mood disorders in pregnancy and in the postpartum period. I am a State Coordinator for Postpartum Support International, an international organization that is committed to educating and raising awareness about mood disorders in the perinatal period. I am a Licensed Social Worker and have a private therapy practice in Littleton. I do professional trainings and presentations in the community about Perinatal Mental Health and I also created a support group in 2011 called ‘Hope 4 Moms,’ specifically for women feeling distress in pregnancy or in the postpartum period. This group still runs today in Littleton and now we are offering it at The Family Room!
If you are pregnant or have had your baby and you are struggling, please join us! Reaching out for help is the first step in feeling better. As Postpartum Support International says, “You are not alone, You are not to blame. With help you will be well.”
We hope to see you there! Hope 4 Moms is at The Family Room on Monday mornings from 11:00 – 12:30.
For questions or more information, please contact Mary Anderson Schroeter, MSW, LSW at: 303-883-7271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, more information can be found at: