In the months leading up to giving birth, there are endless appointments and, at times, countless check ins from family and friends. However, in the fourth trimester (the three months after birth), women can often feel like they have been left in the dust. As a result, many are experiencing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Newborns are exhausting, and a mother's work never ends. So, when fitting in a shower or grabbing a bite to eat is challenging, often the health of moms also falls to the very bottom of her priority list.
Considering that 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression (PPD), the well being of new moms is crucial. Unlike baby blues, which is common, PPD needs to addressed professionally, as it doesn’t go away without treatment. A strong support system and having a plan in place is not always readily available to new moms. Or, if it is, many feel ashamed or fearful to admit how they feel.
In a new survey, done by Orlando Health, it was found that more than a quarter of mothers had no plan for managing their own health after birth. More than forty percent stated that they felt anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed. The survey also found that women under forty-five were more likely to experience anxiety or depression after birth, more than thirty-seven per cent of women felt embarrassed by what they were experiencing with their body, and nearly two thirds of women were just as concerned about their own health, yet twenty-six per cent didn’t have a plan in place to manage their concerns. The number is even higher among women between eighteen and thirty-six, where it jumps to thirty-seven per cent .
Megan Gray, MD, an OB/GYN at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, states that visiting an OB/GYN is imperative to women’s well being and health after giving birth. "Just talking through some of the things they're going through can help women realize that they're not alone and that what they're feeling is okay," said Gray. "Asking for help will ultimately make you a better mom."
On the upside, there are more women speaking up about the truths of motherhood. Celebrities, and moms, like Amy Schumer, Hilary Duff, and Chrissy Teigen keep it real on social media. Using their platforms to open up the dialogue about the many challenges moms face, is both refreshing and appreciated. From breastfeeding, to body changes, no topic is off limits.
Most women have experienced some kind of, “what is happening to me?” moment after birth, and the more we speak out about the challenges or motherhood, the better off we will be.
Gray hopes that she will be able to educate more women during pregnancy to better prepare them for the fourth trimester; "You may feel out of control, and you are. Not every woman is able to breastfeed; your baby may not sleep at exactly the same time every day or drink the exact same amount of milk at each feeding, and that's okay. “There is no perfect mom out there, and taking some of that pressure off yourself will help you be the best mom you can be and help you better experience the many joys of motherhood."
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THIS ONE’S FOR THE LADIES Just a few thoughts that I wanted to share on Breast-feeding. Last week was my last week nursing Banks (my six month old) I am a working mom of two. My goal was to get my little girl to six months and then decide if I (and her of course) wanted to keep going. Let me tell you. Pumping at work sucks. I had zero down time and am usually pumping in a hair and make up trailer while four hands work to get me ready for the next scene with lots of other people around. Even if I had the luxury to be in my own room, it’s not even considered a “break” because you have to sit upright for the milk to flow into the bottles! Plus you are having your damn nipples tugged at by an aggressive machine that makes an annoying sound, that echoes through your head day and night (I swear that machine and I had many conversations at midnight and 3 am)! Ttttthen having to find someplace to sterilize bottles and keep your milk cold (ok I’m done with that rant lol)! Anyway, I didn’t know this because with Luca I didn’t work until he was about nine months old, so I didn’t pump very often. Your milk supply drastically drops when you stop feeding as often and lose the actual contact and connection with your baby (😞). So I was eating all the feunugreek goats butt blessed thistle fennel cookies/drops/shakes/pills I could get my hands on! It was maddening. (Does fenugreek make anyone else smell like maple syrup and rubber gloves?...not chill) With all of this complaining, I want to say I enjoyed (almost) every moment of feeding my daughter. Felt so lucky to be so close to her and give her that start. I know many women are not able to and for that I am sympathetic and very grateful that I could. For six wonderful months. But I needed a break. I was going to break. With the stress of a dropping milk supply and a baby that was getting bored or not caring about nursing when I was available to. I was sad and frustrated and feeling like a failure all of the time. When really I’m a bad ass rock star. Moms get high on feeling like superwoman...because we are! Doing too much, because we can! KEEP READING in the comments below 👇🏼♥️
Remember to check in with your new mama friends. Ask if they need anything, even if it’s something as simple as a warm shower, or a fresh cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference.
If you, or someone you know, are experiencing PPD, visit Postpartum Support International.