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 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.
• You might be less interested in eating.
• 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 you don’t completely understand.
• You may even experience flashbacks or nightmares about past traumatic events.
All these reactions are normal, but they might also be 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. With help and support, you will feel better. Many of us have felt the way you might be feeling now.
Here are some 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.
Don't Go It Alone
Pregnancy, parenting, or a NICU stay can be incredibly isolating.
Sometimes you can go days without thinking about anything else.
Sometimes, it feels like you've gone weeks without having a conversation another adult.
Try to stay connected to the outside world.
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.
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 your 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:
CRISIS TEXT LINE: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) and Website www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Call for yourself or someone you care about; free and confidential; network of more than 140 crisis centers nationwide; available 24/7