Baby's First Year · Emotional Health · Parenting · Pregnancy

Maternal mental health matters!

Parent holding baby with text "one cries for help. The other doesn't"What if I were to tell you there is a medical complication that affects 1 in 5 parents postpartum? That it affects fathers, too? And the biggest risk factor, is if you have already experienced it!

The complication I’m referring to is perinatal mood disorders, more commonly known as depression and anxiety that can occur anytime during pregnancy or after birth.

Some symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety include:

  • Depressed mood or feeling irritable
  • Anxious thoughts, hard to control worrying, feelings of panic
  • Losing interest in activities previously enjoyed
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Changes in appetite and sleep
  • Lower energy or poor concentration
  • Having unwanted/scary thoughts of suicide or harming self or baby

Are you or a loved one feeling down, depressed, or hopeless? Is a loved one? There is help, and things will get better.

If perinatal mood disorders are so common, why are more people not talking about them? Having a baby brings lots of new responsibilities and changes to basic things like sleeping, eating, and spending time with loved ones. On social media, it might seem that others’ lives are perfect due to how people choose to present themselves. This can lead to parents not feeling good enough, and can contribute to negative mental health. With social media only growing, it is more important that understanding and awareness of maternal mental health is spread.

Since 2016, the first Wednesday in May is recognized as World Maternal Mental Health Day in Canada. This day is meant to raise awareness and educate people on matters of maternal mental health, both on social media and at events throughout the country. Mothers and their loved ones need to know that they are not alone, and that supports are available.

This year, World Maternal Mental Health Day (#WMMHD) is May 1st.

You can get involved and make a difference! Help raise awareness and spread the word by using the hashtag #maternalMHmatters when posting on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

Our public health nurses are here to support mothers and families’ mental health, and can be reached by calling Toronto Public Health at (416) 338-7600 or through e-chat.

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