Understanding postpartum mental illnesses, when to ask for help

Posted at 5:51 PM, May 28, 2021

Postpartum Support International states that while many women experience mild mood changes from childbirth, 15 to 20 percent of moms experience more significant symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Buffalo social worker and mother of three, Julie Rosinski, said the focus has been on a woman’s physical health in the past.

“What people don’t realize is that postpartum mental health is the most common complication of childbirth,” Rosinski said. “Of course, we are concerned about mom’s physical health and the baby’s physical health, but we want to ask her how she is doing as well.”

It’s important to understand what postpartum mental illnesses look like. Rosinski said this is more than just so-called baby blues that roughly 80 percent of new moms experience.

“If a woman starts to experience severely depressed moods, a lack of interest in things she used to enjoy, maybe a lack of interest in the baby, isolation. In some extreme circumstances, perhaps suicidal thoughts,” Rosinski said.

In 2017, Rosinski teamed up with Jennifer Urban and Lori Badda to create WNY Postpartum Connection, a Buffalo nonprofit that helps connect pregnant and postpartum moms with support and services.

“All three of us to some degree suffered from some kind of postpartum depression, anxiety, or loss including what we went through personally and what we saw our friends and families going through in their own postpartum journey.”

The nonprofit is hosting a “Climb Out of the Darkness” virtual walk on June 26.

“Our primary goal is to raise awareness,” Rosinski said. “Our primary goal is to let women know they are not alone, and that help is available.”

Another resource for mothers is the “Save Your Life” program that Oishei Children’s Hospital recently launched to educate new moms on warning signs and when to ask for help.