Research tells us that about 80% of women will experience normal feelings of sadness and anxiety within the first few weeks of delivery. Some women may experience more clinically significant symptoms of anxiety, depression, obsessions and compulsions, and psychosis. One in seven women may suffer from more serious symptoms of depression or anxiety. Dads and other partners are also susceptible; one in ten men may experience postpartum depression. Postpartum mood and anxiety disorders can begin at any time during or after pregnancy; including in the case of a loss of pregnancy.
These symptoms may look unexpected:
Drug and/or alcohol dependence
If you think you may be suffering from a perinatal mood disorder, please know that you are not alone, that you are not to blame, and that you can be well again.
Many of the mothers that I have encountered since becoming a clinical therapist have echoed the relief I experienced when we agree on the challenge of parenthood and the realistic toll that a newborn can take on one’s psyche.
When I was two weeks postpartum with my first child, I walked into a “Mommy & Me Support Group” hoping to see a handful of other mothers that looked just like me: sleep deprived, spit up on my shoulder, hair in a messy bun and yoga pants. I hoped that I would be validated in my struggle; to learn that I was not alone in feeling like I had just entered into the hardest time period of my life. Luckily, I was met with the warm smile of a social worker who informed me that although I had mistaken the time of the class, that she’d be happy to sit down and talk one-on-one with me. An hour later, I walked away feeling lighter and relieved to know that the range of feelings I was experiencing were all normal and to be expected.
After several weeks of attending my local hospital’s “Mommy & Me” support group as a new mother, I felt emboldened by learning from the collective knowledge of the group, validated by seeing others with bags under their eyes, and hopeful in seeing mothers with older babies who were getting more sleep. If you or a loved one has recently given birth or received a child by adoption, my hope for you is that you’ve found a place to be validated and encouraged. If you are struggling with more severe symptoms and think you may be suffering from a perinatal mood disorder, please consider making an appointment to begin healing today.
“She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes”, was Kate Spade’s desire for those who invested in her brand and was the je ne sais quoi she hoped to inspire. Kate, herself, exemplified this in her many contributions.
On Tuesday, June 5th, media outlets inundated the public with the breaking news: Kate Spade had taken her own life. As a designer, an entrepreneur, and a philanthropist, Kate Spade was a quintessential icon of classic style, vision, and grace.
The investigation into Kate Spade’s suicide is ongoing. Details are being revealed indicating that she suffered for years with mental health issues. It remains unclear as to the finite details of her mental health struggles, but the fact remains: the signs had been missed.
To many, she was a woman who had it all – money, fame, success, family – but it only goes to show that mental illness can impact anyone. In a world where it’s easy to become immersed in the fast-paced routine of life, mental health often takes a backseat. Over the years, attempts have been made to diminish the stigma surrounding mental health, but the stigma still exists. In recent years, we see more public figures and celebrities openly addressing their personal struggles with mental illness. Their openness reminds those who may be in a similar situation that they are not alone and encourages them to seek support.
Kate Spade’s death brings us back to a crucial discussion of mental health being as important as taking care of our physical health. Suicide ranks amongst the top ten leading causes of death in this country. Suicidal thoughts are not signs of weakness. With the proper support and treatment, suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced. With National Mental Health Awareness Month being observed in May; the work to break the stigma should not end there. Simply raising awareness is not enough; we need to center our efforts on what we can do to support and connect those in need to the proper services.
In her life, Kate Spade created a legacy for individuals of all ages and backgrounds with exuberating passion, confidence, and optimism. In her death, her legacy sparks a call for action towards emphasizing the importance of mental health and working towards prevention. Let’s honor and celebrate her life in this way.
A Special Tribute to Kate Spade from the Writer:
Simron Sahoo – FVI Guest Blogger
I purchased my first Kate Spade handbag this past year during my senior year of college. Had given me a gift card for my birthday, my friends knew how much I adored the elegance of both the bags and the brand. When I made my first Kate Spade purchase, I relished in the excitement of the years I spent admiring her sophisticated and classy bags – where simplicity met style. This purchase represented more than buying an accessory. A Kate Spade purse was not simply just a purse – it was a symbol of venturing out into adulthood. When I heard the news of Kate Spade’s passing, I couldn’t believe it. Not only was she my favorite designer, but she also embodied a feministic vision, becoming a pioneer for women in the professional world.
Her presence impacted my life. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on.
For many survivors of suicide loss, the journey of healing can be lonely, painful, and confusing. At Fox Valley Institute, we understand this struggle and we are here for you. We offer a Bereavement Support Group for adults who have lost a loved one through suicide that meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 8:00 am – 9:00 am. Please call 630.718.0717, ext. 240 to be added to the bereavement email list and click here for additional resources.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the warning signs of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Visit afsp.org for more information on warning signs and suicide prevention.
Simron Sahoo, FVI Guest Blogger
B.S. Psychology 2018, Minors in Neuroscience, Math, and Biology
Loyola University Chicago
Are you familiar with Gary Chapman’s couple’s resource, “The Five Love Languages?” This book is a simple, yet powerful tool for learning how to better communicate with your partner through each other’s love languages. You can find more information on Chapman’s website:
Chapman will educate you on the five main love languages he has uncovered; words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. First, you and your partner will be directed to take an assessment to determine your primary love language. From there, you will want to read more on your partner’s love language, gain a better understanding of it, and learn helpful tips on how to fulfill their love language. Don’t be surprised if you and your partner do not share the same love language.
Words of Affirmation are validating words said to your partner to help them feel good and validated within the relationship. For example: “I appreciate you.” “You look great in that new dress!” “You always make such a great dinner.”
Acts of Service are meaningful things done for your partner. For example, emptying the dishwasher because it is their least favorite chore, hanging up your coat when you come home, or making the bed every morning. These may not be your most favorite things to do, but you are doing them for your partner so they feel loved.
Receiving Gifts, even small ones can go a long way to make your partner feel loved. For example, a handwritten card saying I love you tucked in her purse or flowers you picked up on your way home ‘just because’ are great gifts that will help your partner feel loved.
Physical Touch, reaching out and grabbing your partner’s hand or sneaking them an unexpected kiss. Physical touch may be important to your partner and being neglectful of this can lead to feelings of rejection or resentment.
Quality Time, is all about giving the other person your undivided attention. For some people, quality time is their primary love language and if you don’t give them quality time, they will not feel loved. For example, your partner values when you put aside 30 minutes after a long day to spend time with them or simply putting your cell phone down while you are together.