Postpartum Mental Health

Pregnancy and a new baby can bring with them a range of emotions – some are happy, but you may also experience unhappy feelings. Many women feel anxious, overwhelmed, sad, or exhausted at times during or after their pregnancy. 

Experiencing one or more of these feelings for a brief period is normal. However, if the feelings do not go away on their own after two weeks, you may be experiencing a postpartum mood disorder. Such disorders are often due to a combination of hormone and thyroid changes caused by pregnancy and childbirth, as well as the stressful circumstances facing new mothers. 

A postpartum mood disorder is a serious illness that involves the brain and affects your physical health and behavior. Some women report feeling sad or empty, or feeling unconnected to their baby. Such disorders can make it difficult to take care of yourself or your baby. 

If you are experiencing these feelings, it is important to know:

  • You are not failing. 
  • You are a good mother.
  • You are not alone.
  • You can get better.
  • Help is available. 

New Mom Mental Health Checklist

When you are experiencing intense emotions, it can be difficult to understand them and explain how you are feeling to others. The checklist from Postpartum Progress linked below can be a useful tool to empower you to have a conversation with your loved ones and your healthcare provider. 

It is also useful because postpartum mood disorders do not present in the same way for everyone. Having a clear understanding of what you are experiencing will help your healthcare provider give you the best assistance and treatment possible. 

Download the Checklist:

Getting Help

If you are struggling with your mental wellness during pregnancy or after your baby is born, the best thing you can do for your health and theirs is to get help. Getting help is not a sign of weakness, it means you want to be the best parent you can be. 

The Mid-Shore has several mental health providers who can help you. Here are some ways to access their services:

  • Ask us for a referral. Our WIC staff can connect you with a mental health provider in your area.
  • Ask for help during your postpartum medical appointments or your baby’s appointments with their pediatrician. All healthcare providers in our area can make referrals, and some may be able to get you seen right away if their organization also offers mental health services.
  • Call your local Health Department. They can provide referrals for treatment providers who will meet your needs. 

If you can’t get seen right away or need help immediately, contact the National Maternal Mental Health Hotline (see next section).

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline (24/7, Free, English & Spanish)

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline provides 24/7, free, confidential support before, during, and after pregnancy. 

The Hotline offers callers:

  • Phone or text access to professional counselors
  • Real-time support and information
  • Response within a few minutes, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Resources
  • Referrals to local and telehealth providers and support groups
  • Culturally sensitive support
  • Counselors who speak English and Spanish
  • Interpreter services in 60 languages

The National Maternal Mental Health Hotline can help. Call or text 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746). TTY users can use a preferred relay service or dial 711 and then 1-833-943-5746.

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