Brooke Shields wrote about her personal experience with postpartum depression in her book Down Came the Rain. The book was first published in 2005, and helped focus attention on something that was more on the back burner in maternity care.
As I read Brooke's book, I could see all the red flags that indicated she was at increased risk of postpartum depression. It was her intimate description of her feelings and thoughts during this time of her life that really touched my heart. Her emotional journey into depression was raw and heartrending to read. It brought the abstract learning I have to life.
Mental health issues can come up at anytime during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It is now recognized that postpartum mental health issues can occur up to a year after birth. In my practice, I do my best to support Moms in all aspects of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I watch for red flags such as overtiredness bordering on exhaustion, concerning mood fluctuations , lack of appetite and other possible signs that may indicate Mom is heading towards having issues. If I have concerns, I will discuss them and may suggest my client have an evaluation with a mental health professional who specializes in postpartum mental health issues. There are so many tools and ways to manage postpartum depression that just don't let mothers cope, but help them thrive that there is no reason to suffer. In an ideal world, no mother would experience postpartum mental health issues, but if I notice something concerning, I will support my client and ensure she gets the help she needs.