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Family Looking Up

Oct 16, 2018

There is a scene in the Disney animated version of Robin Hood that often comes to mind.  (Please watch it with your kids. It’s important to their development. And yours. I promise!)  All of the characters are animated animals. Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham have just discovered that Robin Hood is at their tournament and they are trying to catch him.  At one point, Prince John’s guards (charging Rhinos, naturally) storm into a tent where Little John is hiding, carrying the tent across the tournament field. Little John’s head pushes through the top of the tent and he sees that he is at the front of a stampeding tent powered by rhinos that can’t see where they’re going.  He exclaims, “Who’s driving this flying umbrella?”

How many times have I asked myself that question? I’m at the front of the family, my head is out where I can see the trajectory of my path, but something else is choosing the speed and direction under the surface.  I should be happy---this is what I wanted! I’m taking care of everyone and it looks like we’re….fine…but I’m so angry, ashamed, TIRED, sad, anxious or enraged.

We all know that pregnancy does a number on our bodies.  But we forget that our brains are part of our bodies too, and OF COURSE they are affected as well.  At least 20% of new moms experience Postpartum depression. Even when baby and mom seem “fine”, there could be a lot going on under the surface that is confusing and a little scary.  And don’t forget perinatal depression (DURING pregnancy), which can really take the shine off that “glow” all prospective moms are supposed to have.

Remember: WE’RE HERE TO GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!  This week we talk to Erin Shepard and Kate Jones about perinatal depression, postpartum depression, and the many aspects of women’s mental health. Listen for yourself or for someone you love. Here’s what we talked about:

  1. What is perinatal depression.
  2. Mood disorders triggered by pregnancy.
  3. What does perinatal mood disorder look like.
  4. Red Flags to look for in perinatal mood disorders: intensity of your mood, do your symptoms immobilize you, what is the duration of these feelings and how often are you feeling these strong feelings.
  5. The importance of talking about the different signs of perinatal depression.
  6. Treatment for postpartum depression.
  7. Risk factors that increase the chance of postpartum depression.
  8. Taking a holistic approach to treating women’s mental health.
  9. Creating a women’s wellness plan. (See SNOWBALL visual below)
  10. Treating symptoms during pregnancy will help prevent postpartum depression.
  11. The many emotions perinatal depression can present itself as: rage, anger, guilt, anxiety, shame, and sadness.
  12. Recognizing inconsistent emotions in yourself.
  13. The importance of a preventative plan.
  14. Barriers to treatment.
  15. The lifespan of a mother’s mental health.