FOR MOTHERS

Dear mom, we are glad you are here. We know how important your role is, how much you work and sacrifice for your family! We know how hard it can be, we know the struggles, we were there! We are here to listen. We don’t judge!  We want you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

What causes Perinatal Mood Disorders?

Unfortunately, the jury is still out on this one. The most recent research shows that PMADs do not have a single cause, but result from complex interactions between a woman's environment and her biology.  There is certainly some genetic contribution to the risk for PMADs, but the exact mechanisms are unknown.

While there is no known cause for PMADs, some women are at increased risk for developing these disorders. Common environmental risk factors include:

  • Symptoms of PMADs during or after a previous pregnancy

  • Past obstetric complications (e.g. fertility problems or miscarriages)

  • Personal history of mental illness

  • Family history of mental illness

  • Weak psychosocial support network

  • Poor relationship quality with partner

  • History of alcohol or drug misuse

  • Early history of abuse, neglect, or trauma

Stress during the perinatal period is a major contributor to risk for PMADs. 

Some factors that can increase a new mother’s stress include:

  • Major stressful life events (e.g. recent miscarriage, job loss, death of a loved one, or illness)

  • Everyday stress (e.g. interpersonal violence, financial hardship)

  • Medical complications during childbirth (e.g. premature delivery, long labor,)

  • Having an infant with medical problems 

  • Undesired or unplanned pregnancy

  • Difficulties with breastfeeding

  • Impaired mother-infant interactions 

  •  Having an infant who can’t sleep as expected

  •  Single or teen parenthood

  •  Multiple births

Not all women who have risk factors go on to develop a PMAD… what protects these women? Protective factors that buffer against PMADs include: 

  • Good physical health (regular exercise, healthful diet)

  • Strong support networks – family, friends, community, other new parents

  • Strong sense of identity and cultural belonging

  • Good coping and problem-solving skills

  • Optimism – a belief that life has meaning and hope

  • Positive attitude 

  • Access to mental health services

  • Comfort asking for help 

I think I might be struggling with a PMAD… What can I do? 

The good news is the PPSC is a great place to start. PMADs are serious mental health conditions, but they are also highly treatable with the right kind of help. Psychotherapy and medication are both viable and effective treatment options depending on your situation.  

Here at the PPSC, we are not only a resource for information, but are also committed to providing you support through Self-screening tests, Support Line, Support Groups, Mom to Mom peer support, and referrals.