Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Maternal Mental Health Month

Posted by Dee Clarke, Fit 4 Two Vancouver Westside

About a week ago, I learned that May 4th has been declared World Maternal Mental Health day and the month of May has been declared Maternal Mental Health Month. Given this new information, I thought it was an interesting coincidence that I recently received this note from one of my clients:

"I just wanted to say thank you so much for your classes, they were very important to me. After <baby> was born my "baby blues" never went away. Around the time I started stroller fitness, I was having panic attacks all night and started medication for postpartum anxiety/depression.
Your classes gave me something to be accountable to, and something healthy to commit to to help make myself heal.

The fitness and social aspect were both instrumental to the fact I feel great now. I just wanted to say thank you and tell you how important you and your class were to me. I will truly miss it."

According to the Pacific Postpartum Support Society, 1 in 6 mothers experiences postpartum depression and for some women, depression begins during pregnancy. At a time when so much of our attention is placed on caring for the baby, it’s important to put some of our focus back on the needs of the mom.

You are not alone.

If YOU are a new mom:

Many mothers get the baby blues in the first few days and weeks after childbirth. However, if you are struggling with anxiety, worry, stress, anger, guilt, or sadness that does not seem to be letting up, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Talk to your doctor, midwife or community health nurse or get in touch with your local Postpartum Support Society.  In BC we have www.postpartum.org and in Manitoba we have www.ppdmanitoba.ca  If you live elsewhere in North America you can find a full listing of support groups at  www.postpartumprogress.com Maternal mental health complications are common and treatable with the right help. 

Depression doesn't always look the way you’d expect it to.
Until I read her note, I had no idea, not even a clue, my client was dealing with depression. She was often one of the first to arrive to class, attended consistently, looked put together and always cheerful, with a "Bring it on!" attitude we fitness trainers love. I’m thankful she got the help she needed and that my classes were part of her recovery, although I was completely unaware of what she was going through at the time.

If a woman in your life is a new mom:
Ask her how's she doing even if everything appears to be going well. If she tells you she is having difficulty, acknowledge her feelings. Let her know it can be better and that help is available. Encourage her to speak with her doctor or midwife or put her in touch with your local postpartum support group  Maternal Mental Health Care saves moms.

Moms deserve all the support we can give them. Start the discussion. #AskHer #TellHer #MomsMatter

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