Dr. Hannah Singer
Having a baby is supposed to be the “happiest time of your life”, right? At least that’s what Instagram photos and Hallmark cards will have us believe. But what happens when the “happiest time of your life” doesn’t feel so happy? The unfiltered truth is that pregnancy and childbirth often brings a wide range of emotions, which sometimes can include depression, anxiety, and panic.
In fact, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are the most common complication of pregnancy and childbirth, affecting 1 in every 7 pregnancies. Yes, you read that right - 1 in 7! Chances are that you, or someone close to you (sister, wife, best friend,,,) will develop depression or anxiety during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. Thankfully, there are effective treatment options available.
How do you know if you’re suffering from postpartum depression? The checklist below is a good place to start - it's taken from a book I HIGHLY recommend titled, This Isn’t What I Expected: Overcoming Postpartum Depression by Karen R. Kleiman, MSW, LCSW and Valerie Davis, MD.
Count how many statements below describe how you’ve been feeling lately.
Most new parents will relate to one or two of these statements. However, if you agreed with four or more of the above statements, you are likely experiencing postpartum depression. Believe me when I say that you are not alone and you are NOT to blame.
Please don’t suffer in silence - postpartum depression is treatable and you will get better with the right help. It’s best to be further evaluated by a doctor or mental health professional who specializes in treating perinatal depression and anxiety. To find a qualified professional near you, visit Postpartum Support International www.postpartum.net or if you live in the Los Angeles area, you can visit http://directory.maternalmentalhealthnow.org.
**If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, seek help immediately. Do not wait. Call 911 or go to your nearest hospital emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You are not alone. You are not to blame. And with the right help, you will get better**
About Dr. Hannah Singer
I'm a clinical psychologist and adult psychotherapist based in Los Angeles.