Sleepless nights, pelvic floor pain, plugged milk ducts. We talk frequently about these and other effects of having a baby, but you don’t hear a lot about relationships. More specifically, many of my clients come to me in distress about the state of their marriage after having children. They feel irritated with their partners, are fighting more frequently, and are disconnected.
What A Psychiatrist Wants You to Know about Depression and Anxiety in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period: A Guest Post by Dr. Pooja Lakshmin
This week I'm so excited to feature a guest post by Dr. Pooja Lakshmin. Dr. Lakshmin is a perinatal psychiatrist which means she has specialized training and expertise in working with pregnant and postpartum women. She is also an incredibly thoughtful and compassionate physician which is so evident in her post below. Please read on for some helpful thoughts from Dr. Lakshmin about perinatal depression and anxiety.
In my last post, I laid out several of the problems with the current structure of maternity leave and flexible work policies in the United States, including the gender gap in earnings and the expectation that women will still be responsible for childcare and domestic tasks implicit in many leave policies. As I outlined, these policies don’t fix the problem and may actually make it worse.
A few weeks ago, Senator Tammy Duckworth announced that she is pregnant with her second child. When she gives birth later this year she will be the first Senator to ever give birth while in office. Predictably, her announcement has sparked questions about her capacity to serve in office with a new baby, and has generated conversations about the grossly insufficient family leave policies and lack of accommodations for new parents in the United States.
Last week’s episode of the CW’s Jane the Virgin featured a subplot that addressed postnatal depression in men. In brief, after choosing to stay home with his newborn daughter, Rogelio (Jane’s father) claims to have developed male postpartum depression (paternal postnatal depression or PPND). He proceeds to get in a Twitter war and talk show feud with newfound arch nemesis River Fields (notably played by real life postpartum depression survivor and advocate Brooke Shields).
In planning my first blog post of 2018, I’ve been thinking a lot about intentions, and specifically about why I started Maternity Matters. My goal in penning this blog was to give voice to the many nuanced aspects of perinatal mental health that are often difficult, painful, or uncomfortable to discuss. To that end, I wanted to start the year in line with that intention by highlighting an issue that should make us all deeply uncomfortable and deserves attention. Specifically, I want to address the enormous racial disparities in perinatal health outcomes, and share some thoughts on how to tackle this problem.
Last week, I spoke about guilt in the context of sibling transitions. But, of course, guilt is everywhere in the perinatal context, and the notion of “mommy guilt” is pervasive and pernicious. From pregnancy to parenting, and everywhere in between, our culture is rife with judgmental messages and unrealistic expectations. We are supposed to love being pregnant, have the perfect birth experience, exclusively breastfeed, make our own organic baby food, attend every soccer game, and lean in at work. What a set up for endless guilt!
Last week, my colleague Dr. Julie Bindeman and I had the privilege of speaking to a group of preschool parents about the experience of adding a new sibling to a family. In addition to providing information and suggestions about managing behavioral regressions, navigating complicated schedules, and finding time for self-care, we spoke a lot about guilt.
This week, I am deeply grateful to feature the profound insights of Lindsey Uhrig, who writes on her experience as an abortion doula as part of her work offering full spectrum doula support. From her vantage point, Lindsey has a deeply meaningful perspective and understanding and the process and experience of abortion, what happens when we don't speak openly about it, and how to best support those exercising their right to choose. Lindsey's words are below.
In three days families all around the country will gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving, marking the start of the holiday season. While this can be a joyous time of year for so many, it can be painful one. In my clinical practice, I work with many women who have experienced pregnancy loss or who are coping with infertility. For them, this is often a time of year marked by unacknowledged grief, insensitive comments, and various emotional landmines.