4 Common Mental Health Troubles in New Moms

Being a new mom is no easy feat. Through the pregnancy, birth, and raising the baby, many mothers struggle coming to terms with all the changes. A study by the group Children of the 90s showed that anxiety and depression rates are up 50% in new and young mothers. Many of the moms in the study were unaware of their clinical depression and anxiety.

 

Motherhood is difficult. It’s no wonder that new moms struggle with mental health. They often neglect to take care of themselves when caring for a new life.

If you are a new mom, or you know someone about to become a mother, here are a few common and urgent mental health issues and ways to get help.

  1. Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression develops immediately after the birth of the child. It’s very common, affecting nearly 20% of women in developed countries. It occurs mostly in underdeveloped countries. New mothers can struggle with the hormone changes and the sudden lifestyle that comes with motherhood. Depression of any kind is related to neurotransmitters and hormone levels: both are affected by pregnancy and birth.

The best treatment for postpartum is a combination of biological and psychosocial treatments. Professional help from therapists is recommended. Many licensed therapists even specialize in postpartum treatment.

The most important thing for a mother struggling with postpartum is a support system that encourages professional intervention as soon as possible.

  1. Bipolar Depression

This disorder is genetic, so mothers who have other family members with bipolar disorder are more likely to develop it. Like postpartum, it is directly related to hormone levels and neurotransmitter issues. Common indicators of bipolar depression are:

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Memory loss

There are many different treatments available. Bipolar depression cannot usually be treated solely with behavioral therapy. Seeing a psychiatrist is recommended, but treatments include medication, and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation), which offers many benefits in bipolar depression treatment.

Seek a professional diagnosis before pursuing any treatment for bipolar disorder. 

  1. Anxiety

All mothers are anxious in some way. However, some new moms feel anxiety about their new responsibility so much so that they develop an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is also related to hormone changes and neurotransmitter levels. Some anxiety is normal, but if you are constantly on edge or feeling guilty about everything, that could be a sign of something more.

If you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, see a therapist. They may be able to give you a better idea of whether or not you are at risk for an anxiety disorder. This illness also tends to run in families. Treatments include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and naturalistic treatments like meditation.

  1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Wanting order is normal. Demanding order or being unable to operate in a condition that isn’t your perfect ideal is not. Performing certain behavior patterns can also be a sign of OCD. OCD interferes with your normal life, and often the behaviors extend over long periods of time. It’s often associated with preventing harm or mistakes, which is why it’s common in new moms.

OCD is usually treated with psychotherapy and occasionally medication. Your brain may be suffering from a lack of serotonin which could contribute to your OCD. Visit a therapist if you suspect any of your behaviors could indicate OCD.

Conclusion

Mothers have a hard job. It’s no wonder so many women suffer from mental disorders during pregnancy or post-birth. In fact, studies have shown that mothers don’t receive enough mental health support in general.

It’s important for moms to be healthy, for themselves and for the baby. If you are a new mom, make sure you have a good support system, and know that you have resources you can

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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