Perinatal Mental Health & the Importance of Support Networks

Updated: Apr 27, 2020

Education, outreach, and early recognition on a wide scale are needed for the public and for professionals and staff working with new mothers. Essential education and strong social support networks for the mother can be a key component in prevention and recovery. That is why I have created the Healthy Mama Intensive, an online support group and weekly discussion of the deep topics of postpartum wellness and adjustment. Read more about the Healthy Mama Intensive and register here. We start on May 4th. May the fourth be with you to be a healthy and empowered Mama!



Educate yourself and others on the symptoms of perinatal mental health issues.


Normal Symptoms include:

-2 days to 2 weeks of tearfulness and sadness following the birth

-mild sleep disturbances

-intrusive anxious thoughts that come and go. You identify them as strange but move on without issue

-brief periods of anger and irritability

-desire to have a break from the baby (the healthy craving of self-care)

-fleeing fantasies of escaping or running away

-desiring privacy as you settle into a new life stage

-slow loss of baby weight, increased appetite particularly if nursing

-able to take care of yourself and baby despite exhaustion

-able to interpret difficult moments as a "season" and dream about the future


Get help symptoms to include:

-tearfulness and feelings of sadness after 2 weeks of birth

-unable to sleep, even when baby is sleeping

-intrusive, anxious thoughts that become the object of obsession, so much that daily functioning is impacted

-overpowering agitation and feelings of rage

-thoughts about harming yourself or the baby

-desire to go to sleep and not wake up

-desire to avoid the baby

-craving isolation from the community

-rapid weight loss or lack of appetite

-unable to take care of yourself or the baby due to exhaustion and/or anxiety

-feelings of dread or doom of the future

-difficulty viewing postpartum challenges as temporary


Whether you have any of the normal or get help symptoms: You are not alone. You are not to blame. You do not have to be afraid, with proper help, you will be well.




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Natalie

 "I cannot encapsulate a better experience than having Suzanna as our doula...She was not only incredible support during postpartum but we also consider her a friend. She provided us incredible support with such a calm, empowering demeanor. She is also such an incredible resource and wealth of knowledge. We couldn't have made it the last three months without her, and every time she was away, we missed her (and still do)! If you are looking for postpartum support or a night nurse, Suzanna truly is a great person to have and we are so grateful to have experienced sharing post birth with her." -NW 2020

Emily

"Suzanna helped me through the beginning of a new phase of motherhood as a stay-at-home mommy of two. She coached me, helped me create and track goals to keep my brain focused, and provided an outlet for much-needed adult interaction in those first few months while everything was overwhelming and new. She was patient and kind, she listened to my opinions and concerns, and made sure that my mental health was a priority when I didn’t have the brain space to spend on it.

Suzanna is incredibly knowledgeable about pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, postpartum, and childcare; which was so helpful when I was exhausted, struggling with the changes my body had just gone through and had two little ones to look after on top of it all. It was life-giving having someone to care specifically for me and my mental health in this transitional time. It helped me become the best mom I could be." -2018

Lora

“We cannot even begin to express our sincere gratitude for Suzanna and her expertise. As first time parents (and first time mom of a now almost 7 month old!), my husband and I were unfamiliar with the role of postpartum doulas. She introduced us to incredible care centered on the recovering mom and needs of the brand new infant. Our daughter arrived a bit early, and was less than 5 lbs when we brought her home; she required a “triple feeding schedule” that resulted in almost 90 minutes of various forms of feeding followed by 30 minutes of rest...and repeat!  Needless to say, and despite so much love and support from our families, we were exhausted. Suzanna was truly a light in the haze of sleeplessness and new-parent uncertainty. Her unassuming and warm presence, calming words, as well as evidence-based, postpartum/breastfeeding knowledge were unparalleled. She skillfully guided us all through the early weeks of parenthood (and with COVID looming). We recommend her services to all!” -2020