For some, mental health is an uncomfortable topic. There are many stigmas surrounding motherhood and mental health illnesses. Women often go undiagnosed or are afraid to seek out mental health treatment. They may be afraid of the consequences for them and their children. But it is important that as mothers we watch for any signs of mental illness, especially after childbirth, and reach out to our doctors or a mental health professional for screening even if we are afraid.
Many mental illnesses such as postpartum depression, anxiety, and depression can happen after giving birth. Birthing takes a toll not only on our physical health, but our mental health as well. Our bodies go through many physiological changes. Women suffer from memory loss, weight gain, and other changes to our minds and bodies. These changes, coupled with the stresses of caring for a newborn often have a lasting impact on our mental health.
Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is more common than many people think. Many symptoms of mental illness include, hopelessness, trouble concentrating, trouble controlling your emotions, erratic behavior and poor decision-making skills, loss of appetite, weight loss or weight gain, restlessness, etc. (Refer to Doctoral Mom’s Motherhood and Lifestyle curriculum for more information on mental health.)
If left untreated, mental illness can negatively affect you and those around you. You may harm yourself or others. Please don’t be afraid to speak up about your mental health issues. Millions of people suffer from mental illness. If you suffer, know that you are not alone, and that help is not far away. If you believe you are suffering from mental illness, be sure to talk to your doctor or a certified mental health professional. They will be able to provide you with the help you need and get you back on track to living a happier, healthier life.