May 6, 2020

PMAD Risk Factors.


May 4th – 8th is Maternal Mental Health Week. I will be posting every day regarding maternal mental health. If you missed my story on Monday regarding the darkest point of my PPD/PPA journey, I urge you to read it. If you missed my post yesterday regarding what mental illness is and is not, as well as signs and symptoms you can watch out for, I also urge you to read it. All my posts this week are being made public, so please share and help us in easing access to treatment by reducing stigma and shame. This post discusses mental illness and suicide.
Today is World Maternal Mental Health Day. Some risk factors for developing maternal mental health disorder include: a history of mental illness, depressive symptoms during pregnancy, family history of depression, chronic pain, marital difficulties, ambivalence about the pregnancy, recent stressful life events, history of physical or sexual trauma, childhood trauma, traumatic birth, separation from newborn, prenatal depression/anxiety, maternity blues, inadequate social supports, low self-esteem, childcare stress, difficult infant temperament, single marital status, unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, lower socioeconomic status, obstetric and pregnancy complications, neuroticism, financial hardship, no social support, low self-esteem, and history of PMDD.
Does having any of these risk factors mean you will develop a maternal mental illness? No.
Does not having any of these risk factors mean you won’t develop a maternal mental illness? No.
Maternal mental health disorders are the NUMBER 1 COMPLICATION OF CHILDBIRTH. Did you also know it is ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF POSTPARTUM DEATH? Let that sink in. It should shock you. There is no reason why we aren’t investing in Mother’s to ensure their complete health. We need Moms to still be here to raise their child(ren)! Studies have found that most completed suicides occur between 9 and 12 months. So please keep checking on your Mom friends with babies. And when they first start treatment, check on them more! In the early stages of psychiatric treatment with medication, the person can get just enough of a boost in energy (without depressive/SI improvement) to follow through on plans of self harm and/or suicide. I know this firsthand, and had I not been hospitalized, things would have unfortunately gone differently (I was so very fortunate to receive the Zulresso infusion, which ended my SI).
Screening has to improve, and I have LOTS of ideas regarding easy implantation strategies that won’t overburden an already impacted medical system. There has to be a real interest in the overall health of the Mom, not just her physical healing.