The Healing Path Around & Through
Postpartum Mood & Affective Disorders
Postpartum mood and affective disorders (PMADs) affect an estimated 20% of American mothers, or 1.3 million women annually. That’s too many. Research indicates that the lack of effective supportive postpartum care rituals may be a signifiant cause. Sadly, our culture has buried many of these exquisite, intuitive postpartum care traditions passed down generation to generation, despite the current reality that mothers need these care traditions now more than ever.
becoming proactive: mothering the mother
Most parents invest endless effort and resources to nurture the best start for their wee ones. But mothers (and partners) need a sweet, strong start too. Tradition tells us that wise investments made at the beginning reap the best returns in the short and long term. If mothers begin rested and nourished, calm and centered, they can provide the patience, sensitivity, and maternal devotion that their babies and families truly need.
This is much harder to do when a mother is pushed to stress and exhaustion with too many burdens. In the early postpartum days, stress levels can escalate and continue long after returning to work outside the home or working full time for the family. The goods news is there is a healing path around and through PMADs – both prevention from and recovery through – with being proactive.
Ancient and evidenced-based postpartum customs that insist on rest, recovery, and surrendering responsibility for a few short weeks or months invite a woman to stop all her doing and simply receive. The benefits are profound and can open our eyes to asking for and receiving help so that we can give fully as mothers without giving everything away.
We should ask ourselves, can we approach postpartum with new eyes, not rushing through it in a state of fatigue or stress, but enjoying this short season of our lives? Can the postpartum season be anticipated like a new family vacation where resting, eating delicious foods, relaxing into a new rhythm and deepening our connections are the norm? Pregnancy, childbirth and mothering are the most creative acts of human experience. We can draw on that creative power to share a new way of mothering the mother – one that works for a new woman in this new time, and that gives her the nurturing she deserves and needs, but often fails to ask for in our illusionary culture of DIY.
If you or someone you love is at risk for PMADs or is currently experiencing PMADs in the Boulder County area or the surrounding communities that Sanctuary Postpartum Doulas serves, please learn more about our postpartum doula care and contact us.
Look for Part 2 of this blog with our amazing guest colleagues Kate Kripke of The Postpartum Wellness Center and Jenevieve Russell of Nurturing Strategies for more on the healing path around and through postpartum mood and affective disorders .