Supporting your Perinatal Mental Health and Wellbeing
Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting bring dramatic changes to your life - and your emotional health.
While it can be an exciting and joyful time, the changes that accompany the perinatal period can also leave you feeling anxious, sad, guilty, overwhelmed, irritable, or unable to relax and
enjoy your developing relationship with your baby and family.
• You might be feeling down.
• You may feel more tired than usual, yet unable to sleep or rest.
• You might be less interested in eating. Or eating too much of the wrong things.
• You may get angry and annoyed more easily.
• You might have trouble thinking clearly and making decisions.
• You may worry or get anxious for reasons that you don’t completely understand.
• You might be having thoughts or impulses that feel disturbing, scary, and irrational.
• You may even experience flashbacks or nightmares about past traumatic events.
All these reactions are normal, but they may also be signs and symptoms of a
temporary and treatable set of conditions called Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs).
REMEMBER: If you are having any of these feelings, it's ok. It's normal.
What you are feeling is temporary and treatable. And YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Many of us have felt the way you might be feeling now.
With help and support, you will feel better.
Things That Help:
Take a Break
Sometimes the emotions associated with Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders might feel like more than you can handle. If they do, give yourself permission to take a "time out."
Go for a walk. Take a shower. Take a nap. Ask for help with the kids.
If you need to, it's ok to put your baby down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes.
Make a Plan
Even if you haven't had any of these feelings yet, think about what you would do if you did.
Who would you tell? Where would you go? What would you need?
Then, if you ever feel overwhelmed, you will be prepared.
Stop, pay attention, and go to your plan.
Add to Your Tools
Box Breathing - a tool for calming my mind and body
My Mood - naming and communicating what I'm feeling
My Needs Today - asking for what I need
My Not-To-Do List - prioritizing what is important to me
Self-Compassion - reframing traumatic experiences
When It Feels Like Too Much - strategies for coping with overwhelming feelings
Don't Go It Alone
Pregnancy, parenting, or a NICU stay can be incredibly isolating.
Sometimes you can go days without thinking about anything other than managing the demands of being pregnant or caring for your baby.
Sometimes, it feels like you've gone days without having a real conversation with another adult.
Try to stay connected to your friends and community.
Make time to talk to a trusted provider, partner, or friend - even if it's just a quick call, email, or text. Because when you're feeling bad, it's easy to feel like no one notices or cares.
But that's not true. People care about you.
And there are providers who are ready to help.
Talk to Someone
If you are worried about telling someone you know about how you feel, there is still help.
Calling a postpartum depression or suicide hotline and talking to someone you don't know - but who understands - can be a lifeline.
Talking to a trained listener allows you to share your feelings and get helpful feedback without worrying that what you're sharing will upset or burden them.
That's what they are there for. They want to help you feel better and stay healthy.
WHAT to EXPECT:
The Warmline messages are returned every day of the week.
You are welcome to leave a confidential message any time, and one of the warmline volunteers will return your call as soon as possible.
If you are not able to talk when the volunteer calls you, you can arrange another time to connect.
The volunteer will give you information, encouragement, and names of resources near you.
IN AN EMERGENCY:
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or dial 988
Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7
CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support via a medium people already use and trust: text.