(This article was originally published here as part of a 2015 awareness campaign. Thank you to Portage Babywearing for initiating this project! Check out the No Flaws, Only Human tab on their site for more information and personal stories.)
Many people are familiar with Postpartum Depression, but there are other perinatal mood disorders that can impact new mothers. Postpartum Anxiety (PPA) and Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (PPOCD) are two of these. These are often misunderstood, and misdiagnosed, or missed altogether by health professionals. Postpartum Support International (PSI) reports that about 10% of new mothers will experience PPA, and 3-5% will experience PPOCD.
You might have PPA or PPOCD if you have had a baby in the past 12 months and you are experiencing some or all of the following:
Luckily, there is help and support. The process for managing PPA and PPOCD involves: Self-Care, Flexible Thinking, and Facing Fears.
Self-Care can mean many things and is an individual taste. It is allowing yourself to put on your oxygen mask first so that you can care for others. Self-Care activities may include:
(If you feel you identify with Postpartum Anxiety or Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, please speak with a healthcare professional and where possible, a mental healthcare professional.)
Your mental health
New parenthood means lots of changes! Changes can mean stress, which can affect your mental health, sometimes in surprising ways. You are not alone!