The Perinatal Period is the time of conception (fertility), pregnancy, birth and postpartum (the first year).
Life isn't always what people expect. Sometimes the story we tell ourselves about how things will be, turn out to be different than we had thought. Families face many challenges, from infertility to pregnancy complications, loss, changes in relationships, and trying to finding their new balance.
Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD) refer to mental health issues that includes depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, bi-polar and psychosis, that occur during pregnancy or the postpartum period.
We often hear about postpartum depression, however, postpartum anxiety is more common among women.
Pregnancy is not always what people expect.
1 in 5 women & 1 in 10 men will experience anxiety or depression during pregnancy or postpartum.
PMAD have been identified in every culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, income level and ethnicity. PMAD are the leading pregnancy and postpartum complication. PMAD are treatable with the right support.
You may experience some of the following:
· Feeling sad, down, or hopeless
· Mood swings
· Feeling overwhelmed
· Feeling guilty or worthless
· Little interest or pleasure in things
· Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
· Feeling tired or low energy
· Difficulty concentrating
· Feeling bad about yourself
· Irritability or anger
· Felling numb or empty
· Avoiding people or the baby
· Crying for no apparent reason
· Negative thoughts
· Feeling a need to constantly check on the baby
· Hallucinations ***
· Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby ****
*** If you or someone you love is having symptoms of postpartum Psychosis it is a medical emergency. Please contact your local emergency services for support.
*** If you are having suicidal thoughts and want to die by suicide please contact COAST NIAGARA 1-866-550-5205, and press 1 or connect with your local emergency services.
Maternal mental health is impacted by the ongoing parenting wars. Peopple feel judged by their choices, especially when it comes to delivery plans, sleep, feeding, and how to nurture their baby.
The issue is compounded by an unrealistic view of pregnancy/life with a baby. On social media, people share family photos that show an idealistic family, rather than the daily struggles of parenting. This also contributes to the stigma and shame mothers feel as they experience any struggling.
A common question people ask new parents is whether their baby is sleeping through the night. Of course newborns are not sleeping through the night. They are waking every 1-2 hours, as they are physiologically supposed to. When people ask questions like this, it leaves new parents to wonder if their baby is "normal," or start to feel like something may be wrong with their baby. Part of counselling will be to ensure that new parents have accurate information about what to expect.
Infertility is defined as not being able to become pregnant after having regular intercourse (sex) without birth control after one year (or after six months if a woman is 35 years or older)
Infertility impacts 1 in 6 couples.
Start by talking with your family doctor about your concerns. Your doctor will gather information from you. If you would like to consult with a fertility clinic you will need a referral from your family doctor.