Are you worried about how you are feeling in your journey to parenthood?
Deciding to raise a child is a major life decision. Sometimes, things do not go as planned. Whether considering adoption, a gestational host, surrogacy, or pregnancy, many people struggle in the months leading up to bringing a child home. From a mental health perspective, there are counselors who are skilled in supporting soon-to-be and current new parents in the navigation of their emotional needs.
The road to parenthood isn't racially equitable.
The reality is that Black, Indenginous, and Latinx women are more likely to experience conception, pregnancy, and birth complications than people from other racial and ethnic groups. This problem is directly related to social inequitices and racist ideas. Specifically, Black women are 3-4 times more likely to experience these complications regardless of their income or education. This information has been available for decades and now poeple are starting to become more aware of this issue. That can mean that if you are a Black woman, you may naturally have concerns about your pregnancy that are futher compounded by the worry that your medical team will not listen to you. Working with a mental health therapist can help your practice self-advocacy, build your trust in your intuition, and help you learn to listen to what your body tells you about what doesn't feel right.
PMADs are mental health challenges that people can develop in the periods surrounding adding a child to the family. They affect people of all genders regardless of how the family is formed. You do not need to go at this alone. Psychotherapy has been found highly effective with and without a combination of medication.
What do PMADs look like day-to-day?
In the perinatal period (months surrounding conception or adding a child to your family, pregnancy, and postpartum), distress symptoms can include fogginess, sadness, depression, racing thoughts, panicky, concerning thoughts that seem stuck on your mind, worries that you might harm your child or that you will not be a good parent and your child deserves better than you.
It can be hard because the symptoms can occur up to two years after your child arrives and that is a time when you are already sleep deprived. Unforntunately, the stigma that surrounding mental health often made PMADs undertreated in racialized communities. Thankfully, you don't have to go at this alone. There are numerous supportive providers that can help you on your journey. You can find one that is a good fit for you. At PlayfulLeigh Psyched, we offer personalized therapeutic services for your perinatal journey.
Postpartum depression isn't alone.
Too often, people only know about postpartum depression. However, there are other perinatal mental health complications that sometimes need to be supported. It's important to remember that sometimes symptoms start before the child arrives; therefore, postpartum doesn't fit and doesn't allow the caregiver to get the help when the symptoms first start. It may be surprising for you to know that adoptive parents experience perinatal mental concerns at similar rates as biological caregivers. This knowledge and understanding is why we use the language of "adding a child to your family" to be inclusive of adoptive and kinship families.
Below are common mental health complications of the time surrounding adding a child to your family.
Perinatal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Posttraumatic Stress (can be related to trauamtic birth, have a child in the neonatal intensive care unit [NICU] related, past fetal or neonatal losses)
Bipolar Mood Disorders (click here to find specialized resources for concerns related to Perinatal Bipolar Mood Disorders)
Postpartum Psychosis (click here to learn more and get connected with specialist)
Free screening for postpartum depression is available.
The EDPS is 10-question self-rating scale has been shown to be a tool used to screen for depression specific to perinatal individuals. This tool was originally designed for women, but has been found effective for all genders. Additionally, some of the wording was specific to the UK; therefore, we have made an effort to explain in general US terms for number 6, "Things have been getting on top of me" - In the US, we might say I" have been feeling overlwhelmed or stressed out."
Completing this form is only for your knowledge. A form cannot diagnose or determine that you have a mental health condition. This form does not mean that you are entering into a therapeutic relationship with anyone at PlayfulLeigh Psyched.
Here is a link to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EDPS)
Perinatal Mental Health - Telehealth Style
Before the pandemic, many people felt that telehtherapy allowed them the freedom to have sessions from the comforts of their own home. Meeting with your therapist from a secure platform reduces communication concerns, sitting in traffic, and even barriers related to parking.