We have all seen the movies with the exemplary pregnant woman who looks like a model, glowing from ear to ear, sleeping through the night, full of energy and happiness. In reality, pregnancy for many women is a hormonal roller coaster, filled with bouts of morning sickness, uncomfortable weight gain, sleep deprivation, exhaustion and worry to name a few. It may be surprising to some that new mother mental health goes beyond postpartum and can occur at any time before, during, or after pregnancy (perinatal).

Here are six symptoms of possible perinatal depression and/or anxiety that you might not have known:

  1. Lowered self-esteem. You may be struggling with guilt or other negative thoughts about yourself as a person, mother or wife.
  2. Decreased social engagement and interest in doing things you used to enjoy doing. You may have turned from an extrovert to an introvert; not returning calls or meeting with people after you agreed to do so.
  3. Sad, depressed mood with little to no highs. You may be feeling lethargic and fatigued even after resting.
  4. Absence of joy in the present and/or for the future as a mother. Little to no excitement about shopping for the baby, being pregnant or having a baby.
  5. Anxiety, racing thoughts and stress about motherhood and being pregnant. May have perfectionistic desires for self and others.
  6. Intrusive, usually scary, thoughts about harming yourself, the baby, or something catastrophic happening outside your control, with no intent to act on the thought. You have fears or visions of the event occurring.

If you or a loved one can relate to any of these symptoms and their impact on your day-to-day life, help is available. Recovery from prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety is possible once discovered and proper help is received. No one has to go through it alone. Educate yourself and others by going to Postpartum Support International www.postpartum.net or call their Warmline at 1.800.944.4PPD. As always, in case of an emergency please call 911 and take yourself to the nearest emergency room.

JFS Orlando offers individual, couples, and family counseling on Perinatal, Prenatal, and Postpartum Mood Disorders including depression, anxiety, and OCD, as well as grief and loss. Please call (407) 644-7593 ext. 247 or email Ashlyn.Douglass-Barnes@JFSorlando.org to learn more about our services.



Author: Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes

Ashlyn Douglass-Barnes, LCSW is the Clinical Therapist Supervisor and a licensed clinical social worker at JFS Orlando. Ashlyn has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient community based mental health, inpatient/admission psychiatric hospital, substance abuse/DUI, dialysis/medical, and in home/office outpatient therapy.