Mood changes during and after pregnancy. Quite often, what we see and hear about the subject is dealt with in the movies and TV as a woman crying about some mundane situation or what should be a simple task, but,since she's just had a baby she's a disaster and her hair is filled with curlers while she stands there in a robe with a house full of screaming kids, the phone ringing, the dog barking, the door bell buzzing and of course...something is boiling over on the stove....it's the classic household mayhem scene all because "postpartum depression" has set in. Well, it's a little more complicated than that and the reality is that it's a pretty serious situation and the subject is being seen in a new light and something that should be talked about.
Like any other "secret affliction" women who deal with these mood changes quite often feel like they are isolated. That no one else must have the feelings they do because after all, you just had a baby right? It's the most joyful time in life. There are new beginnings, new purpose...a renewed sense of purpose, direction and meaning. But...for the last 9 months....the body of the woman has been on the biggest roller-coaster ride it will ever be on. From the hormonal changes to the shape and size...welcoming a new critter into the world is a huge endeavor and getting back to "normal" it's not going to happen over night. One in seven women will suffer from some form of pregnancy and postpartum mood disorder and on in a thousand will suffer from postpartum psychosis. These are real mental health issues and to the woman suffering them they are a dark place filled with isolation and since we've decided that a new born is supposed to be nothing but joy...the women often feel they have nowhere to turn to look for help let alone even talk about what they are feeling inside.
Let's break the conversation open. Let's get past the game and mystery and talk point blank about what actually happens in these cases. Sounds great coming from some clueless guy right? That's why we bring in people who know what they are talking about. Laura Bronold is an RN at North Ottawa Community Hospital where she is the Coordinator of their Prenatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder Program, Postpartum Support Group facilitator and Childbirth Educator. She is also the lead facilitator of the Lakeshore Prenatal Mood Disorders Coalition which serves Ottawa and Muskegon County and is a board member of the Michigan Statewide Prenatal Mood Disorders Coalition. Missy Gallegos is a public health educator and works in a few different coalitions around town. You've seen Missy here before with the Know Smoke Zombie Walk and more. We sat down at Cinema Carousel to talk about the upcoming screening of the film "The Dark Side of the Full Moon" which chronicles the story of two women who traveled the country to tell the stories of pregnancy and mood disorders. The showing is coming up May 16th and you can reserve a seat by clicking on the image above. For now, a little more on the subject from Laura and Missy.
Like anything suffered in isolation...the beginnings of an answer come from the willingness to communicate about the problem. From the writers perspective, I never had kids or went through the pregnancy process so I like so many others don't know the first thing about it. But, I do know that finding those that do know a thing or two about it and connecting you with them...well, that's when we begin to build toward making things change and for the better. It's time to come out of the darkness when it comes to pregnancy and mood disorders. Society is now in a place where our mental health is paramount and as we talked in the video.... there is help out there. In the form of professional help or groups....we can change the way that women deal with these challenges and we can also shatter the stereotype of "postpartum depression" and address the issue head on. My thanks to Laura and Missy for joining me for the talk. For more on the services offered by Laura at North Ottawa Hospital click on the image below and you can also view the full trailer of "Dark Side of the Full Moon" below that.