New Support for Postpartum Mamas
New Support for Postpartum Moms
Chances are you know a mother who has struggled with a more serious postpartum mood disorder: a friend or colleague, or even your own mother. Immediately after birth, it’s very common for new mothers to experience what is called the “baby blues”: intermittent crying spells, irritability, and mood changes. These symptoms are largely due to a drop in hormone levels right after birth and up to 80% of women experience them, often beginning when the baby is 1 to 2 days old and dissipating after 1 to 2 weeks.
In the United States, it is estimated that 1 in 7 mothers will develop more serious mental health concerns, including anxiety, a sense of worthlessness, depression, and even thoughts of suicide. Despite how common mental health issues are after the birth of a baby, it can be difficult for new mothers to talk about problems with their mental health, both because of the stigma attached to mental health issues and a lack of awareness of how these conditions can impact them.
To help the estimated 20% of new mothers experiencing more serious mental health issues postpartum, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) launched a new way to help struggling mamas: the Maternal Mental Health Hotline. The toll-free hotline offers a safe space for expecting and new moms who are experiencing maternal depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns to have confidential conversations and get the support they need.
Moms can call or text 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS and connect with a qualified counselor about immediate mental health concerns, get fact-based information, and receive referrals to community and health care services in their area at no charge.
We encourage all new moms to bolster their support networks during the fourth trimester and to prioritize their own wellbeing. It may seem counterintuitive and even impossible with a newborn, but we promise self-care isn't selfish. We hope these suggestions from our friends and experienced mamas will convince you to put your needs at the top of the list.